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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Columbine Ranger District

Quick Facts

Crater Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,800 Feet (3366.6 Meters)
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 800 Feet (249.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,600 Feet (3616.0 Meters)
Length, One-way: 5.5 Miles (9.17 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 623
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Snowdon Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Crater Lake
Copyright: F.A. Kingwell
Crater Lake
The Crater Lake Trail is an excellent long day hike or overnight that begins at Andrews Lake. Crater Lake is nestled in a basin at the foot of Twilight Peak. This peak and Snowdon Peak are both accessible from the Crater Lake Trail. Both peaks afford excellent panoramic views, including the Needles, the Grenadiers and the distant town of Silverton. The first section of the trail switchbacks up a 500 foot rise, but the rest of the trail proceeds gently through alternating heavy timber and open meadows. Toward the end of the trail there are several marshy ponds and the trail becomes somewhat indistinct, but discernible with a good eye. Fly and spin-casting fishing can be enjoyed here.

Directions from Durango, Colorado: Approximately 45 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, take the Andrews lake turnoff. This dirt road is located approximately 1/4 of a mile north of the Lime Creek rest stop which is on the eastern side of U.S. 550. The road is about one mile long and terminates at Andrews Lake where there is fishing and plenty of parking. Restroom facilities are also available here. The trail begins from the southern end of the lake.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Excellent for overnight trips. Can be busy. Please camp 200 feet from the lake. Updated: 2003-09-03 12:16:00.0

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Time of Day: overnight
Length of Time: 3-4 hours each way carrying 30 pounds
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Went backpacking and was sorely disappointed to encounter more people than I usually do at forest service campgrounds. Had difficulty finding a place to pitch the tent that didn't infringe on someone else's space and was not located in a swamp. Nice view and all, but would rather have more solitude. The hike is relatively level for that high in the mountains.
Conditions: It might have been the only weekend all summer that it didn't rain up there. All the mud was pretty much dry. I was there once or twice in June and the mud was horrible.
Water Availability: Plenty of water, but you need to filter it.
Recommended Clothing: Take everything (rain gear, warm clothing, extra socks) if you plan to be there for more than an hour or two.
Suggested Accessories: Sunscreen. I used a hiking pole, but only because I was carrying 1/5 of my body weight. Many people were fishing at the lake.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Crater Lake
ICON Cold Water Fishing Fly and spin-casting
ICON Hiking & Walking Crater Lake Trail

More Information

Visitor Information:

Durango Area Chamber Resort Association, 111 South Camino Del Rio , Durango, CO, 81301, Phone: 800-463-8726, Fax: 970-385-7884, durango@frontier.net


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