Crosier Mountain (9,233′) | Rainbow Trailhead | Roosevelt National Forest
Glen Haven, CO | 04/07/19 | 7.86 miles | 2,420′ gain | Easy Class 3
Earlier this year, Kyle and I attempted to climb Crosier Mountain but turned around at Table Rock when we noticed that our dog Bob’s leg was bleeding. So I was eager to get back and finish what we started!
We rounded up (part of) the gang (me & Kyle, dogs Bob & Otis) and set out for another late morning start. I couldn’t believe the trailhead was empty at 10am on a Sunday but here we are, another trail all to ourselves!
We started up the familiar trail, noticing that it was steeper than we remembered. We huffed and puffed through the first mile of incline, and then the trail became more gradual for a mile or two.
We stopped at Table Rock for a water & snack break. Bob chewed on a bone he found. Everyone was doing good so we happily continued on the now unfamiliar trail.
Shortly after we left Table Rock, the forest changed from a healthy Ponderosa Pine forest to an open forest with a large amount of dead trees. Maybe a storm? Maybe the pine bark beetle? We weren’t sure.
As we climbed higher, we traveled through grassy meadows and groves of aspen. About two miles in, we reached an intersection with another trail heading up Crosier Mountain and took a left towards the summit. All junctions were well marked.
We slowly climbed higher and watched the summit as we hiked right by it. Did we miss a turn? I knew that there was one more intersection for a third trail heading up Crosier. Maybe we passed the turn off for the summit and are on the wrong trail?
We stopped to check the map. The trail passes by the summit and climbs up the far side. Okay, so we’re still on the right track. Phew!
Shortly after this, we saw the first people we’d seen all morning! They’d come up from one of the other trailheads and were already descending.
Eventually we reached the final intersection and took a right towards the summit.
The trail steepened almost immediately and we struggled to maintain a steady pace. I had to stop at almost every single switchback to catch my breath. My lungs were on fire. My calves ached. It was SO steep.
Is this the summit? Nope, just a false summit. We continued on. Just a little bit farther, we’re almost there! The dogs had no trouble at all and would have ran to the top and back four times by now if they weren’t leashed.
Finally, the summit at last! And the views were incredible!
We paused to soak up the gorgeous views and then scrambled up the summit block to sit and eat our lunch. It was windy and we both put on coats and hats. T-shirts were fine on the forested trail, but at the summit, the extra layers came in handy.
We lunched, we photographed, we enjoyed, and then we packed up for the return hike. We had the summit to ourselves for the entire half hour or so. What a magical day!
By the time we started heading back, gobs of people were heading up the mountain. We seriously lucked out today, thankful for the final moments of solitude before summer comes upon us and everyone comes out of hibernation and starts hiking again.