“This is a gorgeous run primarily up a 4x4 road that leads to the peak with 360-degree views of the Ten Mile Range.”
— Chelsea Taylor
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers
Come experience a great out-and-back with phenomenal views of the Tenmile Range.
Need to Know
High-clearance 4x4 vehicles can make it up to Lower Crystal Lake.
The standard route begins at the Spruce Creek Trailhead parking area. Roughly 1000 feet past the parking lot, keep to the right where the road forks. The 4x4 road follows Crystal Creek and offers many views of the "waterfalls" along the way.
The area around the lower portion of the route is densely wooded with firs and has an abundant bird population. Near 1.2 miles in, there is a turnoff for Francie's Cabin (reservations required). Wheeler Trail
cuts across the 4x4 trail just after the cabin road. At this point, Father Dyer and Crystal Peak will come into view.
Another mile on the road, you'll soon reach Lower Crystal Lake. At the old mine building, you'll take a right and follow the old road that turns into a singletrack to the end of the basin. This trail reaches the south slopes of Peak 10 and begins climbing the slope.
At 12,800 feet, there will be a steep cutoff that gets you on the trail to the saddle. Cairns dust the mountainside to keep you on track to the saddle, since the trail is faint. If you reach Upper Crystal Lake, you have gone too far.
Once you reach the saddle there is no distinct trail, and you'll have to choose your route up to the peak. Keeping just east of the ridge gives a decent wind barrier and is the safest route. There is a false summit that you see the entire way, but Crystal Peak is just 50 ft. beyond it. There are gorgeous views of the Ten Mile Range once you reach the top.
Flora & Fauna
Wildflowers galore and multiple birds, insects, and small critters can be found here.