Colorado Hikes: Needle Rock Natural Area
Sometimes it's just the simple things in life that can be really special.
Western Colorado's Needle Rock trail is less than a mile in length, but you get some photo-worthy scenic views and a fantastic glimpse back in time.
According to the Bureau of Land Management, the Needle Rock originated as the throat of a large volcano some 28 million years ago. It's believed that molten rock spread through existing sedimentary rock, creating the volcanic plug that has pushed up through the earth's crust.
The hike around the rock is described as 'moderate' and the best time to do it is March-October. For the more adventurous and skilled, there are climbing opportunities at Needle Rock. Past climbers on summitpost.com have described it as "scary" and "views from the summit amazing."
The Needle Rock Trail is located about 3.5 miles east-northeast of Crawford. You take Dogwood Avenue east out of town and Dogwood turns into Needle Rock Road. It's worth noting there is private property all around Needle Rock, but the hike is a BLM trail. Camping is available in nearby Crawford State Park and Paonia State Park.