ApproachFrom Mile Marker 44 on Highway 40, west of Maybell or east of Dinosaur, turn north on the road marked for Deerlodge Park. Drive this paved road north for about two miles to County Road 123 to the east (right). Go through the gate and follow the gravel road for another about half-a-mile to a junction on the left (north). This road is marked for the South Cross Mountain Trailhead. The road beyond here is for 4WD’s and speaking from experience is not to be driven when wet! Follow the sign along the main track marked “Yampa Valley Trail”. Follow the road to the end and park at the sign at the trailhead.
Route DescriptionThis is the only marked trail on the mountain. This trail has some of the best rewards-to-ratio of effort of any trail in Colorado that I have done, and it is an easy hike with incredible views, so bring the kids, and don't forget the camera. From the gate at the trailhead, follow the trail north. The trail is fairly well marked and must be fairly well use and is gentle It passes through a pinion and juniper "pygmy forest", and after about a mile, you will find yourself on the rim of the canyon and looking straight into the Cross Mountain Gorge. The views are incredible. The south summit of the mountain is located a short distance to the east and is reached by following the rim. Consider walking the rim in either direction while enjoying the spectacular views of the gorge below. The beginning of the trail from the rim can be slightly difficult to find on the return trip, but is marked with a cairn. Make sure to remember this spot so it is eay to find the trail on the way back. The route is only 2.5 miles round trip to the summit, and is easy, but much time can be spent walking the rim of the gorge.
Essential GearA good pair of boots is needed. Don't even think of doing the hike without a camera.