Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle are picturesque, intimidating 14,000-foot peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. They’re widely popular with advanced climbers.

In Custer County, you can access Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle from the South Colony Lakes Trailhead northeast of the peaks.

Climbers will find “The Peak” one of the most challenging and technically difficult of Colorado’s fourteeners. At 14,300 feet, it’s also the highest summit of the Crestones and the second-highest summit in the Sangre de Cristos after Blanca Peak.

The route to Crestone Peak’s summit via South Colony Lakes involves nearly 6,000 feet of elevation gain from the valley floor and ascends to a large, relatively flat area called “Bears’ Playground.”

While not quite as high as Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle is regarded as a worthy climb too. To get to it from Crestone Peak, climbers take the Peak to Needle Traverse before descending onto the Needle’s south face.

If you choose to climb Crestone Peak or Crestone Needle, you should be a very experienced climber with proper equipment and be sure to follow designated climbing routes. Visit for more information.

South Colony Lakes Trailhead