The Crater Lake Trail is open all year but it is difficult to get to from winter to mid summer.
It is open to hiking, and mountain biking. Dogs are welcome.
There are no parking or day use fees.
The trail to the overlook is easy and 1.3 miles long.
The trail that continues down to and past the lake is difficult and 0.7 miles long.
Trail PhotosGo to Flickr for more photos.
Crater Lake Trail can be done as a short easy hike or a medium difficult hike to this very unique spring fed lake tucked away in the mountains.
The trail begins with an easy 1.7 mile hike through the forest going gradually uphill towards lookout mountain. This portion of the trail ends at a very scenic point overlooking Crater Lake and Rock Creek Valley.
To see the lake up close requires descending the very steep switchbacks for about another half mile. Your knees will complain all the way down and your lungs will complain all the way back out. There are some good places to camp near the lake though and we saw plenty of fish jumping.
If you continue on the trail you will get to the Rock Creek Trail in less than half a mile.
If you are looking for a guide to take with you on the Crater Lake Trail:
- You can view, download, and print a PDF version of our free trail guide.
- You can find these trails in our Snowy Range and Pole Mountain Trail Deck sold through our partner, Laramie’s Basecamp.
- The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest provides a status and description. They also publishes the Medicine Bow National Forest Map – Waterproof.
- These trails are also part of the Hiking Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest – Third Edition book by Marc Smith.
The trail ranges in elevation from 9,340 feet where Crater Lake Trail intersects Rock Creek Trail to 10,220 feet near Lookout Mountain.
Drive west from Centennial on Wyoming Highway 130 into the mountains for about 3.5 miles to Sand Lake Road. Turn on Sand Lake road and follow it for a little over 17 miles. Next, turn right on Forest Road 113 (there will also be signs for Crater Lake Trail) and drive for about 1.7 miles to the trailhead.
Select the Google Map tab next to the Just Trails Map tab at the top of the page to see a directions map.
You can help other people explore by leaving some comments about the Crater Lake Trail below.