The Cross Mountain trail is a lesser-known but popular trail in Union Park. It climbs from the grassy rangeland of Union Park to a secondary summit of Cross Mountain at 11,800 feet, so named because of a longstanding local tradition of erecting crosses there to memorialize deceased loved ones.
The trail starts as a graded dirt road crossing wide open pasture land before passing through a series of cattle gates and intersecting the Union Canyon trail. From there, it gets slightly rougher as it winds around the base of Cross Mountain before turning uphill at the beginning of FR 752.3A. From there, the trail is significantly more rocky and challenging, though still moderate difficulty overall. It follows Cross Creek for ways past the ruins of old mining cabins before turning north for the final ascent to the ridge, then back south for the last leg to the summit. A side spur follows the ridgetop to another overlook a short distance north, where the trail gains the ridge.
The views from the summit are spectacular, overlooking the dramatic peaks in the adjacent Fossil Ridge Wilderness Area to the west and Union and Taylor Parks to the east. Several crosses, flags, and memorial plaques can be found at the summit, and a giant cross made of rocks on the ground.
Camping is allowed along most of the route, but there are no established campsites, and most of the terrain is too steep. Note that because of an apparent mapping error in the 2010 Gunnison National Forest travel plan, the last 1.25 miles of the route to the summit (past the track shown here) do not appear on the MVUM. The ranger district agrees this was probably an error, and the full route to the summit appears to be managed as an open route regardless of what is shown on the MVUM and is regularly driven by vehicles. Because of this uncertainty and the fact that it passes through a corner of the Union Roadless Area, that segment could be closed anytime.
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