The Crosier Mountain Garden Gate Trail is one of three approaches to Crosier Mountain, along with Rainbow Trail and Glen Haven Trail. Located in the Roosevelt National Forest, this dog-friendly trail can be found on the south side of Devil's Gulch Road, also known as CR 43, about 2.2 miles from the town of Drake.
The trailhead is behind a small gate near the parking area. You won't find water or restrooms here, and there's no natural source of water on the trail, so be sure to bring plenty for you and your fur-pup. The narrow trail crosses a meadow that is lush and green in the summer and replete with colorful wildflowers. You may spy a moose or bear here, but they will undoubtedly mind their own business unless they have a cub or calf with them. Do not approach them, but do not run, either.
The Garden Gate Trail is open to mountain bikers, so keep an ear out for their approach, especially while descending the return trail. During the hike across the meadows and through the pines, you may come upon snow and ice fields, especially after October 1st. Treed sections of log pole pine alternate with the meadows, and the trail meanders in and out of the trees. It's here you may see mountain mahogany, rabbitbrush, locoweed and Barrel Cactus with their beautiful pink flowers. As the Garden Gate Trail intersects with the Rainbow and Glen Haven, the final approach to the summit of Crosier Mountain is shared by all three. A stone cairn marks the trails' junction. The trail becomes quite steep, and covered with rocks and loose pebbles that require attention to your footing. The .5-mile, almost vertical hike to the rocky peak will test your lungs and your legs.
From the 9000-ft summit of Mount Crosier, you and Fido will be treated to magnificent views of the Rocky Mountain National Park mountains, as well as a few communities far below. A rest and some food and water here will restore you and your pup for the trip back to the trailhead, which luckily is downhill, though steep.
Please remember that this is a Leave No Trace area, and this includes the fur-baby's waste as well. Be sure to bring clean up bags, and your own water to share. Y
A strenuous but truly beautiful hike awaits you at the Crosier Mountain Garden Gate trailhead!