Crestone Needle Trail

HARD 12 reviews
#27 of 117 trails in

Crestone Needle Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Westcliffe, Colorado that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

11.2 miles
4,320 feet




nature trips

rock climbing



trail running





wild flowers






no dogs

Climbing experience and gear is required on this trail.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beautiful hike! I started at 4:30 from the 2WD trailhead off County Rd. 120. Beautiful walk up from pasture around 8000' to the summit. I had heard that you need to be careful in the upper section not to miss the route through the east and west gullies and cliff out. was helpful and the cairns too. Take your time coming down! I would recommend bringing a 4WD with high clearance so you can start from upper trailhead. The extra 2 miles at the end of the day back to 8000' is rough. Colony Lakes Basin, the cliffs, the flowers, the beautifully forboding and aptly named Broken Hand Pass, the Teton-esque horn that is Crestone Needle, the metamorphic rock that is frighteningly steep and unforgiving yet filled with hand and foot holds. A perfect experience!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Crestone Needle, Sangre de Cresto Mtns., is one of the most difficult of the Colorado 14ers. It is very Challenging and not one of those 14ers you take lightly. Route finding can be a bit challenging, especially on the descent. You have to make sure to return down the right gully or you can cliff out. Over-all I will certainly climb this again in the near future. The South Colony Lakes area is enjoyable.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Crestone Peak is rated as difficult by ; and I would certainly concur with that assessment. The South Colony Lakes trial to the Crestone's is great. The views of Crestone Needle and Peak are grand from the . Climbing up over Broken Hand pass is your first hurdle. In late spring, Broken Hand pass holds snow and actually makes this a fun gully to climb over if prepared with ice-ax and crampons. I found Crestone Peak route finding more challenging than Crestone Needle by far. Once you start up the Red Gully on the Peak and get over that obstacle, which is a lot of work, the solid rock continues to the summit. - Completed August 2011

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This is the most difficult hike I have ever completed. I hiked this with my wife along with another group of people. This was my very first 14er and I was not prepared for the level of difficulty. Now that I have had fifteen years to think about it, I would like to give it another try. I will update this once I get back on the trail.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crestone Needle is one of my favorite 14ers. Excellent scrambling and beautiful views.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hand holes and foot holes help to get you to the top of this rocky 14er. Incredible views of the Sangre de Cristos awaits. Passed a large snow bank on the way and the flora was outstanding. Truly one of my most memorable hikes and the friends I was with made it even more special. The only unfortunate things were that I had to go to the bathroom really bad near the top and we got caught in a sleet storm on the way down.

11 months ago

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Monday, September 28, 2015