Needle Rock

Featured Route
on Smith Fork in Needle Rock Wilderness Study Area, CO
  • Total Length
  • Ascent
  • Difficulty

Needle Rock lies within the western edge of the West Elk Mountains in western central Colorado. It is the remnant of a volcanic plug that pushed up through the crust, and due to the relative hardness of the basalt of which it is made, has eroded significantly slower than the surrounding mancos shale and sandstone that makes up many of the rocks in the area. Needle Rock Trail is a 0.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Crawford, Colorado that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.  Activities include hiking, rock climbing, and photography.

Vegetation consists mainly of oak, serviceberry, juniper, native grasses, and shrubs. Fauna includes falcon and various other raptors, and various small mammals. 

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Out & Back
  • Geology
  • Scenic
  • Kid-Friendly
Elevation Profile

There are no facilities at this trailhead other than a small shelter and table. 

Start Hiking
For 0.4mi
Volcanic Plug

The Needle Rock WSA is dominated by its namesake and main feature: Needle Rock. This is a highly unique geologic feature believed to be a neck of intrusive igneous rock, or a laccolith. Needle Rock originated in the late Miocene as molten rock which remained below the earth’s surface and intruded into sedimentary formations. Gradually, with the passing of several million years, the overlying sedimentary beds eroded away, leaving this core of igneous rock that abruptly rises nearly 1,000 feet above the Smith Fork River valley. 

Continue Hiking
For 0.4mi
Trip Reports
No trip reports yet