Touring Moffat County: Cross Mountain Canyon Overlook
Cross Mountain Canyon Overlook provides a great summertime excursion for a day trip or overnight camping.
To get there: Take U.S. Highway 40 approximately 45 miles from the intersection of Colorado Highways 13 and 40 in Craig to mile marker 44. Turn north on the Deerlodge Park Road. Travel north 2 miles to Moffat CR 123. The road is paved to this point. Turn right (east) onto County Road 123 and follow it a half mile to an unmarked intersection near the top of the ridge. Turn left onto a BLM road and follow about three miles to the trailhead.
A rough unmarked hiking trail leaves to the canyon overlook. Follow the trail downhill through the gate for 50 yards, and then ascend the ridge north, left to the canyon overlook. The hike is about 1/4 mile each way. There are no barriers at the overlook, so watch your step. After you leave the pavement, the road is rocky in spots. A pickup or SUV with good tires is recommended.
A spectacular view awaits you. Bakers Peak, Black Mountain and Mount Zirkel loom in the distance while far below the Yampa River tunnels through Cross Mountain Canyon. Observe the world famous cataracts with names such as Mammoth Falls, The Snake Pit and Pour Over City enticing thrill seekers to challenge the rapids.
Eagles and Peregrine Falcons may be seen soaring below in the canyon. Pinyon pine and juniper trees provide habitat for deer, elk, black bear and mountain lions.
Primitive overnight camping is allowed on adjacent BLM lands. There is no water or other amenities available here, so come prepared.
A developed campground at Deerlodge Park is a short distance away. To get there, return to the paved road and follow to the campground, about 10 miles. Many outstanding hiking opportunities abound on this section of Cross Mountain. Hike to the ridges to the west for rock hounding sites and spectacular vistas of Douglas Mountain and Lily Park, where the Little Snake River empties into the Yampa River.
Plan ahead, be prepared and enjoy Moffat County’s hidden treasures.
For more information contact the Moffat County Tourism Association at http://www.visitmoffatcounty.com or 970-824-2335 or 866-332-8436.
Last week Audrey Danner of Craig brought me two boxes of recipe books. She was “downsizing” her recipe book collection and wanted to know if I’d like to have the books. Of course I did, so since then I’ve had fun reading through them. In fact, I made a pie from a recipe in one of the books.