Crater Peak Overview
At 11,327 feet Crater Peak is the highest point on Grand Mesa. Despite it's modest elevation (Colorado Rank 1636) Crater Peak ranks number 58 in the state in prominence (2307 feet).
The Leroux Creek area of the Grand Mesa.
Crater Peak is in an area known as Leroux Creek. Access is from the south side of Grand Mesa and is seasonal. Cattle, ATV's and Cowboys are common. In the fall this is a popular hunting area.
Crater peak itself is not especially striking, it does however have an excellent vantage point for photographing aspens in the fall. From the summit to the east, you have a clear view of Capital, Hunstmans Ridge, and the Raggeds.
From Hothckiss Colorado go three miles west on HWY 92 to 3100 road. Turn north on 3100 Road. This will be a paved road for about five miles. The road will then turn to gravel, from this point the national forest boundary is eight miles. Once you reach the national forest boundary it is close to another five miles before you will cross over a creek, into a clearing and see a sign for Goodenough Reservoir to the right. The road to Goodenough Reservoir requires 4WD , at about a half mile it will pass a cowboy summer cabin and an ATV trail. Stay right. The road will end at the reservoir.
This part of the forest service does not have access until memorial day. The forest service keeps the road closed (locked gate) in the spring due to maintenance issues. You will need an alternative mode of transportation to bypass the gate prior to memorial day (it may open earlier in a dry spring).
During June and July the Mosquitoes can be relentless. Avoid Dawn and Dusk, cover your body well, use repellent, consider a head net, avoid sweating to much.
There is plenty of undeveloped camping within the national forest from the forest service boundary. No developed sites exist in this area of Grand Mesa.
No formal or maintained trails exist to the summit. Every way, involves a mixture of game trails and bushwhacking.
From Goodenough Reservoir this should be less than 4 miles RT and less than 1000 feet of elevation gain. I started from the road to Goodenough reservoir and it was 9.6 miles RT and 1900 feet elevation gain. The road is 3 miles from the reservoir.
Crater Peak from it's base. From here it is about 600 vertical feet to the summit
Once at the reservoir parking area, Crater Peak is the peak in a general east direction. Walk around the reservoir to the east side. There is a lot of marshy areas so pick what ever keeps you dry. On the east side there are two willow areas separated by a few evergreens, I'm sure either will work but I entered via the willow area to the south. From here you will find a mixture of game trails that you will use to head in a general south east direction. Once in the game trails you can either follow them to the base of the mountain and climb directly the 600 feet up to the top or you can get on the ridge and follow it to the summit. The ridge requires real bushwhacking, and occasionally loosing a few feet of elevation but it works. Eventually the ridge route starts to clear, once it does clear, stay to the west and head up the final slope to the summit. Both of these require mostly off trail hiking, bushwhacking and a little bolder hopping. The base is probably the quickest.
External Links NWS Forecast for the area at 11,000 feet.