OverviewCrater Lake has one of the best views in the state, in that of Lone Eagle Peak. The view from this lake is truly amazing. The hike to this lake starts at Monarch Lake and follows the Cascade Creek Trail past Cascade Falls to the Crater Lake Trail. The hike is around 16 miles long, and there is around 2300 feet of elevation gain. The hike to this lake is truly amazing and it is well worth it to hike here. There are also 10 campsites around the lake that you can backpack to. You need a permit, but because there are so many sites, there should be no problem getting access to these sites.
Getting ThereDrive north out of the city of Granby for five miles to County Road 6. Turn east onto the road, pay the $5 entrance fee into the area, and follow the road for around 9 miles and follow the signs to the Monarch Lake Trailhead. Walk to and sign in at the Ranger Cabin. Stay left at the first trail intersection and walk around the east side of the lake. Follow the trail around the lake for over 1.5 miles to the intersection with the trail around the lake. Stay left on the trail and follow the Cascade Creek trail. After several miles, pass the intersection with the Buchanan Pass trail. Stay right on the Cascade Creek Trail, and reach Cascade Falls at 4 miles.
From here the trail gets harder, as it climbs up along the falls. The views of the Lone Eagle Cirque and Apache Peak start to open up now. Climb up along the creek, and reach the intersection with the Pawnee Pass Trail at 6.9 miles. Stay right on the Crater Lake Trail, and follow it as it climbs steeply up and nears Crater Lake. After 0.9 miles, reach Mirror Lake, and the view of Lone Eagle Peak from here is breathtaking. Extract yourself from the amazing view of the peak, and hike the final quarter of a mile to Crater Lake. From here, there are amazing views of Lone Eagle Peak, Iroquois Peak, the amazing looking ridge between Lone Eagle and Iroquois, Mount Hopi, and Mount Achonee. The hardest part of this hike, is turning back down to the trailhead.
This lake is the main starting place for hiking many of the great hikes in Lone Eagle Cirque, like Fair Glacier and Lone Eagle Peak. This lake is also very important because it has 10 backcountry sites for backpacking. The hike to this lake is entirely worth it, and you can't beat it anywhere in the state.