Crestone Needle (14,197')
Crestone Needle rises 14,197' in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. Access most directly by South Colony Lakes Basin and neighbored by Crestone Peak and Mt. Humboldt, "The Needle" is one of the more popular, difficult 14ers in Colorado. The standard route accesses the summit via South Colony Lakes Basin and Broken Hand Pass (13,100'). RMFI began trail reconstruction and restoration in the basin and its surrounding peaks in the 1990s. Over the next decade and a half, RMFI completed construction of the summit trails on Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Mt. Humboldt, and within the basin. In additional, extensive restoration was completed including the closure of redundant social and unsustainable social trails and damaged areas in the area.
Creating a sustainable approach up Broken Hand Pass included the construction of extensive, terraced rock retaining walls as well as rock risers and steps. Work often included the use of a tram system to transport rocks suspended in the air to avoid damage to sensitive alpine vegetation over steep terrain. Complete trail construction took years to complete with the majority of work completed by RMFI's Earth Corps program. RMFI continues to perform maintenance on the Crestone Needle/Boken Hand Pass Trail.