Cross Mountain is an oblong, flat topped land mass rising over 2200 feet above the flood plain of the Yampa and Little Snake rivers. The mountain is approximately 9 miles long by 4 miles wide and reaches 7804 feet in elevation. The Yampa River has cut a spectacular 800 to 1200 feet deep gorge through the mountain. Erosion has worked on the mountains east and west flanks, exposing colorful rocky rims, side canyons, and rock outcrops. Pinyon-juniper woodlands dominate the area with sagebrush communities scattered throughout. Pockets of aspen and mountain brush are found along the east flank of the mountain and a relic stand of ponderosa pine set in red sandstone slick rock adds interest.
Access: The area is easily accessible from U.S. Highway 40 west of Maybell, Colorado. Turn on to the Deerlodge Park Road (provides access to the east end of Dinosaur National Monument) to the parking area at the mouth of Cross Mountain Canyon on the Yampa River. Additional access routes include Moffat County Road #25 along the west side of Cross Mountain and Moffat County Road 10 along the north and east sides of Cross Mountain.
Recreation Activities: The area offers opportunities for moderate to difficult hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, high risk rafting and kayaking.
Rafting: Commercial raft trips through the canyon are available.
Hiking: Although there are no developed trails, day hikes to the south rim of Cross Canyon or 2 day backpacking trips on the north end of the mountain are worth the effort. The many steep side canyons on the east and west provide rugged routes to the top. The broad top of Cross Mountain is relatively flat allowing easy hikes north or south to the canyon rim. Hiking along the Yampa River in the canyon is difficult requiring rock scrambling and is best during low water periods in late summer or fall. Access to the canyon is available on the north side of the river at the mouth of the canyon.
Vehicle Use: Cross Mountain is a Wilderness Study Area and all forms of motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
Wildlife: Bighorn sheep may be encountered in and north of the canyon. Other mammals include elk, mule deer, antelope, coyote, occasional black bear, mountain lion, and fox among others. Golden eagle, turkey vulture, and American peregrin falcons nest in Cross Mountain Canyon along with many other species. Rattlesnakes are common.
Maps: BLM Canyon of Lodore and Rangely Color Quads (scale=1:100,000) are available from BLM offices. USGS Topographic Maps (scale=1:24,000) Cross Mountain Canyon, Peck Mesa, Lone Mountain and Twelvemile Mesa. Topographic maps are available from USGS , Information Services, P.O. Box 25286, Denver, Colorado 80225, phone 1-800-HELP-MAP.