A scenic hike to a pretty lake nestled beneath North Twilight Peak (13,158). The hike can be extended to the saddle beyond the lake and/or a scramble to the top of North Twilight.
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- Distance: 11.0 miles (round trip) to Crater Lake
11.8 miles (round trip) to Saddle above Crater Lake
- Elevation: 10,770-ft. at Trailhead
11,640-ft. at Crater Lake
11,770-ft. at Saddle above Crater Lake
- Elevation Gain: 870-ft. to Crater Lake
1,000-ft. to Saddle above Crater Lake
- Difficulty: moderate
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Silverton / Ouray / Southwest Colorado
Why Hike Crater Lake
The hike to Crater Lake does not require a big expenditure of energy for its scenic rewards. Starting at 10,770-ft. the trail traverses a rolling terrain of meadows and forests with great views of the surrounding peaks, gaining a net 1,300-ft. in 5.5 miles.
The lake, cradled in a pretty timber-lined bowl, is a photographer’s delight with North Twilight Peak (13,075), rising to the south, reflected in its still waters.
Any easy side trip takes hikers to a panoramic saddle above the lake. From the saddle, a class 3 scramble up the east ridge of North Twilight Peak provides bird’s eye views of the Needle Mountains and the Grenadier Range to the east.
Crater Lake is located in the rugged West Needle Mountains, an area added to the Weminuche Wilderness Area in 1993. This is the only trail penetrating this segment of the wilderness.
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