Rank: 34 of 53
Range: Sangre de Cristo
Lat/Long: 37º 58' 49" N, 105º 36' 22" W
Variant Names: Named as a memorial to the men and women, Francis (Dick) Scobee, Michael Smith, Gregory Jarvis, Ronald McNair, Elllison Onizuka, Judith Resnick, and Christa McAuliffe, who died in the NASA Challenger space shuttle accident on January 28, 1986 at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Location: Kit Carson and Challenger are in the Sangre de Cristo range 5 miles east of the town of Crestone and 12 miles north of the Great Sand Dunes. Crestone Peak (14,294') and Crestone Needle (14,197') are less than 2 miles to the southeast. Blanca Peak, Little Bear and Ellingwood Point are 30 miles to the southeast.
Nearby Towns: Crestone, Moffat, Hooper, and Alamosa
Nearby 14ers: Kit Carson Peak, Crestone Peak
Road Access: 2WD access to 8,700' from the east via Colorado 69, Colfax Lane, and South Colony Lakes Road.
Very Rough 4WD access from 11,050' via the South Colony Lakes Road that continues past the 2WD location (above). The South Colony Lakes trailhead is at the end of the road.
2WD access from the northwest (quite a distance from The Crestones) by taking South Crestone Road 949 to the South Crestone Trailhead (also called the Willow Creek Trailhead).
2WD access from the west by taking a dirt road that leads into Spanish Creek.
(Detailed trailhead directions and status)
Northwest Slope from Willow Creek
Difficulty: Difficult Class 2
Trailhead: Willow Creek
Trailhead Elev.: 8,850 feet
Elevation Gain: 5,400 feet
Trip Length: 12 miles
Trail to summit: No
Stability: Plenty of unstable rock above 13,000'
Camping: Some dispersed camping near Willow Lake.