Crosier Mountain is in the Roosevelt National Forest and has three trailheads that can all be used to reach the summit: Drake, Rainbow Pit, and one near the village of Glen Haven. We hiked from the Drake trailhead which is 2.2 miles west of Drake, Colorado and on the south side of CR-43. Parking is free but limited to only five to six cars. Hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, leashed dogs, and mountain biking are allowed on the trail but motorized vehicles are not. Nordic walking is not recommended because the trail is very narrow. The trailhead does not provide water or a restroom. Also, we did not have cell phone service anywhere on the hike. The following Google Map shows sections of the trail that I was able to highlight using satellite mode.
Crosier Mountain trail is a 4.5 miles long with an elevation gain of 2,830 feet, from 6,420 to 9,250 feet. We only hiked the first ~2 miles with an estimated elevation gain of ~1,000 feet. The trail begins with an open landscape, a modest incline, and a set of switchbacks that lead into the forest. There was a significant amount of scat near the trail which indicates that wildlife may pass near the trailhead at dawn and dusk.
Upon entering the forest, the trail continues to switchback but also mixes in some short bursts of steeper inclines.
The trail breaks away from the forest long enough to provide stunning views to the northeast, before returning to a short climb that leads up to the edge of the meadow.
The subsequent picture shows where the trail transitions from an incline back to a modest slope, which occurs about ~1.25 miles into the hike.
This trail features Ponderosa Pine and Doulgas Firs. They are usually seen together on north-facing slopes like the one in the background of the following picture because they thrive in cool, moist habitats along moderate to steep rocky slopes.
The highlight of the first 2 miles is the big meadow seen below because the landscape opens up to provide views in all directions. This meadow is reached after ~1.5 miles of hiking. As seen in the following picture and throughout the hike, the trail path is very narrow so it is important to resist the temptation to step off the trail and to remember the importance of leave no trace principles. Although it is narrow, it seems to be popular with dog owners.
The final picture shows the spot where we turned around. The mountain in the background is not Crosier Mountain. The first two miles of this trail can be a fun challenge for kids but please remember to bring lots of water for them since there is none available anywhere on or near the trail.
In sum, this is a fantastic hike because it experiences low human traffic and contains varied landscape and terrain. Other hiking areas nearby that are good for dogs include Ramsay-Shockey Open Space and Devil’s Backbone Open Space.