Challenger Point is a 11.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crestone, Colorado that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length11.7 miElevation gain5298 ftRoute typeOut & back
dog friendlyHikingNature tripsBird watchingViews
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

A long beautiful hike up to the summit named after the space shuttle Challenger. Follow the signs from the trailhead directing you to Willow Lake. After many switchbacks you will come to Willow Lake, stay on the left (North) side of the lake and follow the trail up above the cliffs.The trail will now lead you directly up to the ridge to the South. It is a bit hard to follow for a while, but the key is to stay just to the right (West) of a couloir that also leads directly up to the ridge. When you reach the ridge follow it east to the summit of Challenger Point. A plaque on the summit will let you know you have arrived.

Saguache Ranger Station 970-655-2553

At the south end of the town of Moffat head East on road T into the town of Crestone. Stay on the main road until see a sign on the right directing you toward the Willow Creek trailhead. Turn right on the road following the sign. This road begins paved, however it soon turns to dirt. Follow this road to the end. The road becomes a little rough, however most vehicles could make it to the parking lot. If your vehicle cannot make it, simply pull to the side of the road and walk, it will not add much to your hike.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (69)
Photos (319)
Recordings (66)
Completed (209)
View user's profile page
Jordan Gilstrap
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking
View Jordan's Recording
View user's profile page
Geoff Phillips
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2020
Hiking
View Geoff's Recording
View user's profile page
Jeff and Becca Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking
View Jeff and Becca's Recording
View user's profile page
Tony Pizzamiglio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
OHV/Off-road driving
View Tony 's Recording
View user's profile page
Judah Williamson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 26, 2020

Fantastic trail maintenance up to willow lake and half way up "the ramp" all the way up to the notch of challenger point. you gain a lot of altitude up to willow lake, but it is fairly gradual. The trail maintenance crew is friendly the hike is quite busy during the summer, prepare to search for a camp spot if you overnight.

View user's profile page
Elliot Schmick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking
View Elliot's Recording
View user's profile page
Simon Guérard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
Hiking

Great 14er! Someone here claimed it's a 2+/3? Well, I guess it depends on what you compare with. Clearly harder than anything in the Sawatch (which are all "class 2" but probably should be 1), but clearly easier than most class 3 (e.g. Wilson peak, El Diente, etc.). Kit Carson - class 3 - is obviously harder. I think it's comparable to Ellingwood or Blanca - lose rock is the challenge so bring poles. Read about the route on 14ers.com - it's reaching the ridge from the lake that is the "annoying" part, but nothing sketchy if you have experience. Also, sure bring a helmet if you want, but I think people just don't understand the risk here. The rock is SUPER UNLIKELY to hit your head given that it's not that steep - rocks from others are more likely to hit your ankles - which you can't protect. But even then, I'd say you are mostly NOT above others as it goes a lot sideway. Stay a little further from others if they are above/below, wait just a little and that's fine. Also, adding Kit Carson is really nice, but read about the route. The last pitch isn't that hard but fair amount of pathfinding. It was however a fun addition. Road to the trailhead can be reached with 2WD.

View user's profile page
Omar Khalek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

Real

View Omar's Recording
View user's profile page
Jacob Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Hiked 8/3-8/5. Weather was fantastic. Challenger is a 2+/3, the loos terrain up and down is the most difficult part. Due to loose rock, I recommend starting very early to be the first up the mountain, and hike with a helmet. Biggest risk here is other falling rock from other hikers. Practice caution and be sure to call out loudly any time you knock something loose. I also reached Kit Carson. That mountain has a easy class 3 piece to it with excellent rock. Honesty easier than challenger. My recording shows well the route I took up.

View Jacob's Recording
View user's profile page
Erik Romero
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking
View Erik's Recording
View user's profile page
Nick Martin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Fun hike!! Stick to the solid rock and a helmet wouldn’t hurt

View Nick's Recording
View user's profile page
Dave Woodward
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
Hiking

Did Willow Lake from the trailhead on a Thursday. Saw the sign for Challenger Point at the lake, but it was too late in the day to attempt. Left, and came back the next day to not only hike up to Willow Lake again, but also to summit Challenger Point. Let's be clear - some reviews say the hike from the trailhead to the Lake is tough. That's a cake walk compared to the stretch from the lake to Challenger summit. If you plan on trailhead to summit, you can do it in one day, but it will be tough - even if you are in great shape. The views from the summit are the reward that's worth it all.

View Dave's Recording
View user's profile page
Steve C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
Hiking

Challenger peak was tough. Lot of loose uphill

View Steve's Recording
View user's profile page
Steve C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 19, 2020
Hiking

This hike is a tough one. The first half of the trail to the lake is tough, but beautiful. The second half from the lake to challenger peak is steep and loose. Not sure if going up was worse or coming downhill. Views were awesome!!After hiking to challenger, body was pretty well spent...opted out of Kit. That said several people said the avenue was in good shape with no extras...micros, ax). Beats up knees and quads coming down. I saw several people hike up and do both peaks in the day. I was a big fan of hiking to the lake on Friday, hiking 14er Saturday, and them come out the next day. That said, be prepared for lots of people at the lake campsite. Again, beautiful views, but damn it’s a lot of rough up

View Steve's Recording
View user's profile page
Zachary Mokrycki
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
HikingIcySnow
View Zachary's Recording
View user's profile page
Alec Landingham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 1, 2020
Hiking

Very tough with heavy pack wow

View Alec's Recording
View user's profile page
Kevin Hayes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 17, 2019
Hiking

Amazing trail. We clocked 10.6 miles to get to the lake and back

View Kevin's Recording
View user's profile page
Jacob Green
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2019
HikingScramble

TOUGH CLIMB. This was a class 2+ climb for the last 800'. The decent is quite tricky with very loose footing at times. The view offered by the ridge over the high valley is worth every bit of the climb. I began recording the assent where the trail became very steep.

View Jacob's Recording
View user's profile page
Nicki Dunnavant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2019
Hiking

7/4/19: hiked this trail on July 4th and was not able to summit. Snow was covering the trail for the last 1000-1500 feet, turning the Difficult Class 2 into a Class 4. The last bit is so steep that with snow it was way to slippery to do without significant gear and climbing experience. It made for an extremely long and exhausting day. That said, the rest of the trail is stunning! Willow Lake is one of the more beautiful alpine lakes I’ve ever visited. The trial runs through all the best parts of Colorado trails - single tracks through trees, meadows, rocky bits, lakes. 10/10 would do it again. BUT, the mosquitos this year were absolutely insane. We couldn’t even stop for water or breaks during the early parts of the trail without being swarmed.

View user's profile page
Austin Buhnerkemper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
HikingBugsRockyScrambleSnow

Made it to the top.. barely. Almost involuntarily glissaded into a rock meat-grinder. Fun Day. Amazing views. Real Calf Burner

View user's profile page
Michael Davidson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 1, 2018
Hiking

great fall hike there was a little snow and ice towards the top be careful on the way down i slipped and fell a few times

View user's profile page
JP Hibler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2018
Hiking

Trail is a bit of a grind...head toward the notch on the left...beware rockfall. Once thru the notch its an easy ridge walk to Kit Carson over Challenger Point. We used our hands a lot on the way down to keep from sliding on the loose rock. Scenery is absolutely stunning!

View user's profile page
James Oliver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 19, 2018
Hiking

I did a one-day ascent and descent from trailhead to Kit Carson's summit, going over Challenger in between. It was a tough but rewarding hike! The slopes of Challenger are a little slippery in places and somewhat grueling. Be careful. Trekking poles help. When I was there late summer 2017, Rocky Mountain Field Institute was building a better trail up Challenger, so it might be better now. If you continue to Kit Carson, make sure when descending to come down the same way you went up, as it is very easy to miss the avenue and go too far down. There are cairns marking a trail that apparently goes over to Columbia Point. The upper part of this trail is tempting and will lead you astray. I and many other parties have made this mistake.

View user's profile page
Thomas Yoder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 14, 2015
First to Review

Great views and awesome climb to lake, but pitch to peak was horribly marked over very loose footing and spent an hour using hands and feet!

View user's profile page
Scott Richards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 23, 2020
Hiking
View Scott's Recording
View user's profile page
Ally Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
Hiking
View Ally's Recording
Showing results 1 - 26 of 69