This is a wonderful, though moderately strenuous day hike. The trail starts in a forest and climbs above timberline to the Continental Divide. Spectacular views abound here. The trail makes a descent down the west side of the Continental Divide to Crater Lake, a beautiful green lake surrounded by mountains. The lake offers fishing for cutthroat trout in addition to its scenic beauty.
Aspen Trees in the fall
The trail leaves the Elwood Pass Road 380, passing through scattered subalpine forest. The visitor quickly reaches timberline. Once the Continental Divide is reached, the trail begins to descend the west side. This section may be in poor condition; it was scheduled for reconstruction.
This trail serves as access to the Continental Divide Trail 813, which offers the user unlimited possibilities for recreation. Visitors are requested to contact a Forest Service Office for the regulations governing use of the Continental Divide Trail which passes through the South San Juan Wilderness Area.
Suitable campsites are available at Crater Lake, but otherwise are quite limited.
Directions from Monte Vista, Colorado: Proceed south on the Gunbarrel Road, State Road 15, for 12 miles. Turn west onto Forest Road 250 for 32 miles, to Forest Road 380. Continue west on Forest Road 380 for 7 miles to the trailhead.
Late June-Early July through September .