North Crestone Creek Trail

HARD 34 reviews

North Crestone Creek Trail is a 11.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Crestone, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.1 miles Elevation Gain: 3,313 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

hiking
1 month ago

No mosquitoes the mosquitoes are gone. Beautiful but super long hike. It’s more like 13.2 miles to the lake and back and we didn’t even go all the way down to the lake.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

The trail itself is one of the better I’ve been on this year. Forestry service had their hands full with all the avalanches this year. The bugs. Oh my goodness the bugs. You better have a good reason to be going up the trail! The view is amazing. The fishing is awesome. But I had on long sleeves. Pants. A head net. And covered myself in 100% deet. And my body is still covered in hundreds of mosquito bites. It also rained on us every afternoon around 3:00 all 4 days we were there. Still a great weekend in my books!!

backpacking
bugs
4 months ago

Remember to pack bug spray for the mosquitoes, I cannot stress that enough! The mosquitoes are absolutely swarming and are hungry! The trail itself is gorgeous, quiet, and amazing. There were more than enough dispersed camping sites for those looking to backpack, with about three of them being near the start of the trail, three more near the fork, and then plenty dotting the path as you head up to the lake in some beautiful areas. The trail is clear all the way to the top, but those mosquitoes are really swarming along it, so bring that bug spray!

backpacking
bugs
over grown
rocky
snow
4 months ago

Stayed the night up at the lake last night which was nice. There are really bad mosquitoes 90% of the trail which is why I’m rating 3 stars. Very beautiful in the higher elevations of the trail.

backpacking
4 months ago

Spent the past couple days hiking this trail. It’s all clear up to the top and a beautiful hike, but the mosquitoes are out in force! Bring lots of bug spray. Also there is a fantastic spot to camp out at just past the fork about a quarter mile in on the left. There’s a big boulder to hide out under which makes it a good spot to take shelter for any unpredicted storms too.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

The trail was clear to the top and absolutely beautiful. Make sure you wear bug spray though. The mosquitos are out and they’re hungry.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful trail along the creek. We had to turn back before reaching the lake due to weather but made it pretty far to a nice waterfall. Brought snowshoes and did not need them. Passed a few snow fields with no problem. There were 2 water crossings that we were able to pass over fine using the natural log bridges (water was low enough thankfully). The avalanche debris threw us off for a minute but then we found the trail to the left easily- just had to navigate through some fallen aspens!

hiking
bridge out
4 months ago

This is a fantastic hike if you ever get a chance to explore the Sangres. I made it up to the wilderness area about half way up to the lake but the second bridge was flooded from the snow melt. Although I wasn't able to safely get up to the top, there were still plenty of opportunities to snag some awesome photos and take in the surrounding peaks. I will be back to camp and get to the top...when the bridges aren't flooded.

hiking
5 months ago

6/8/19. Very difficult stream crossing at mile 2.5 due to high amount of snow melt. We first attempted the main timbers/bridge crossing which was partially under water and not stable to hold weight. Then we attempted to wade across the creek, which was frigid and brisk. Finally, we found a fallen log 10-15 yards downstream and were able to straddle and shimmy across it with our packs on. Avalanche fall shortly thereafter, which was frozen on the way down and would generally require snowshoes (which we had). Terrain above about 11,000’ to lake at 11,600’ also requires snow shoes.

hiking
snow
6 months ago

We attempted to hike to the lake yesterday, but only got half way due to large amounts of snow on the trail. It’s still a worthy hike, with the sounds of the creek rushing by and beautiful views. The gate is closed to the campground, so you have to park at the end of the paved road and walk to the trailhead, about a mile. We’re pretty fit hikers and it took us about 90 minutes from the beginning of the campground to the fork in the trail, a little less than half way according to the AllTrails map. About a quarter mile after the fork is when we ran into increasing amounts of snow and ended up turning around.

hiking
snow
9 months ago

Words can not express this awesome trail. I will definitely be back since it's technically my backyard now. Only downside is I was with a beginner and didn't take them all the way to the lake. Next time that is a must. Meet an awesome boonedocker on the way out had a great conversation.Keep living your life buddy as I will do the same. It was a near perfect hike from the views...people..to the weather. Still in Awe... Nov 19 , 2018

Sun Oct 07 2018

Comfortable slope up to wilderness boundary where two other trails branch off to access canyons to the north and east. Huge wide valley filled with the yellow and orange fall brilliance of aspens.

backpacking
Sat Sep 15 2018

Great trail. The last half mile before the lake is quite steep and difficult. The lake is beautiful and well worth the effort.

hiking
Wed Sep 05 2018

We hiked about 3.5 miles up-for a round trip of 7 miles-on August 29. Gorgeous trail. Some aspen groves up on the mountain and on the trail starting to go golden. Saw one person starting ahead of us and one person on our way down. Puppy dog loved all the smells. Creek crossings easy.

backpacking
Mon Aug 27 2018

Awesome dispersed camping spot in an aspen grove about ~4 miles into the trail on the left marked by a post if you’re headed to the lake.

backpacking
Sun Aug 26 2018

Beautiful trip for my first time backpacking, only passed a few people and largely had the whole trail to myself! Some really nice camping spots set up for disperse camping, there were some raspberry bushes along the trail close the lake and the lake itself was gorgeous!

hiking
Mon Aug 20 2018

Beautiful spot with very little traffic. A few camping spots along the path.

backpacking
Mon Aug 13 2018

This review is for backpacking the trail. It was an absolutely beautiful but challenging hike. With 3,000 vertical ft gain over 5.6 miles, expect to be going uphill most of the time. There's some strenuous uphill stretches that start about 2/3rds of the way in but you are rewarded with amazing scenery throughout. We set up camp about a half mile from the lake. The trail was pretty lightly trafficked which was nice. This was a challenging hike with a pack on, but I can see how day hikers find this more of a moderately difficult hike without the extra 25+ pounds of weight. The trailhead sign states 12 miles roundtrip which was accurate, but the time estimate of 11 hours seemed exaggerated unless you are a beginner hiker, not acclimated to Colorado altitudes, or not in great shape. The hike up took us a little over 5 hours with frequent breaks, the return around 3 hours. I would estimate hiking with just day packs should shave off around an hour each way.

hiking
Sun Aug 05 2018

The trail is beautiful. It runs along N Crestone Creek and the water is in sight much of the way, making the surroundings lush and green, with plenty of mature aspen. We also encountered some interesting rock formations, and possibly the remains of an old mine. I would say the difficulty is more like moderate+, not quite as difficult as the Willow Lake trail, but not categorically different either. Caveat: we did not make the whole trip, since we wanted a shorter hike this time. So we went in just a couple of miles before turning around. A word about mosquitos from someone who lives here: this year has been unusually devoid of them due to the severe drought we had winter/spring. Normally, they are out in force from about the end of May to late July or early August, with the worst of it being in June. Just thought it was worth mentioning since someone said there were no mosquitos.

hiking
Mon Jul 02 2018

This lake is gorgeous and the vista from above is incredible. The hike isn't too hard--I'd say easy-moderate for most of it with the last half mile or so being more difficult and more rocky, but for this part you're above treeline and the views open up so I thought it was the best part of the trail. You start in a forest of mostly pines and aspens (would be phenomenal in the fall), eventually cross a meadow, break treeline, and switchback up the slope to the final stretch of rocky trail along the mountainside until you reach the overlook of the lake. You can then climb down to the shore if you want. The trail follows a brook until you reach the meadow. Bring bugspray and wear long pants--definitely some bushwhacking involved in places. We were the first people at the lake at 10:30 AM and only saw a handful of people on our descent. Definitely recommend if you're in the Crestone area! Note that the campground fills up very early on Fridays, probably by about 9:00 AM. The sign at the trailhead says 12 miles RT (accurate) and 11 hours of time (very inaccurate). It took us only 3 hours to reach the lake, 2 hours to descend.

hiking
Sat Dec 30 2017

This trail was awesome. The views were incredible a little cold but we hiked it in December no big deal. The top of the trail was definitely the hardest! If you are trying to come in the winter make sure you prepare for some cold weather and high winds up top! Loved it overall.

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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