Last weekend, I took a break from all the writing and video-making and painting to squeeze in a hike. A group of my friends and I decided to hike The Crags, which is in Pike National Forest.
Now, this is a hike that can be done in all kinds of weather, but you want a clear day because the views at the top are 360-degrees of gorgeous. On this Saturday, we started out and the trail was covered in left over snow.
There were a lot of icy places, and we should probably have brought crampons, but we did fine with our boots. The trail head and parking area are new according to my companions. There were toilets at the parking lot – always a welcome touch.
We started out along the road as the new parking area is before the Crags Campground. We then turned into the campground and wound our way through the abandoned campsites and headed up the trail at the end of the campsites (where there is also parking when the campgrounds are open in the warmer season).
The trail is fairly well marked, and at almost a mile, there is an alternative trail heading off to the left. We took the right-handed path. As the trail nears the crags, you see a lot of large chunky rock formations.
The trail winds through flat areas and then begins a rather steep ascent. The climb takes a bit of effort and it’s a lung-buster at times, but when you arrive at the top the views are incredible.
If you get to what you think is the top but you can’t see all around you in all directions, you’re not quite at the top. That’s not a bad thing because the views are great all around and if you are satisfied and want to turn around, that’s fine too. We continued on to the top and because our day was sunny and clear, we could see all the way out to the Collegiate peaks.
After a snack and some water, we headed down the south end of the crags. We had to stop and admire this bristlecone pine, which are some of the oldest living organisms in existence.
The trunk of this particular one was fabulously twisted in spirals. It was a beautiful and proud tree.
You can get directions to the Crags trail head here, but note that the new parking lot is before the campground and the campgrounds are closed in the colder months.