Nokhu Crags

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Nokhu Crags
DSCN1823 nokhucrags e 600.jpg
Nokhu Crags, seen from State Highway 14 on the west side of Cameron Pass
Elevation 12,485 ft (3,805 m)
Nokhu Crags is located in Colorado
Nokhu Crags
Nokhu Crags
Jackson County, Colorado, U.S.
Range Never Summer Mountains
Coordinates 40°29′05″N 105°53′37″W / 40.4847051°N 105.8936243°W / 40.4847051; -105.8936243Coordinates: 40°29′05″N 105°53′37″W / 40.4847051°N 105.8936243°W / 40.4847051; -105.8936243[1]
Topo map USGS Mount Richthofen
Type Hornfels

Nokhu Crags is a mountain peak and rock formation in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern Jackson County, Colorado, reaching an elevation of 12,485 feet (3,805 m). The name is derived from Arapahoe, Neaha-no-xhu, meaning "Eagles Nest." It is located within State Forest State Park just northwest of Rocky Mountain National Park. The peak is a part of the Never Summer Mountains on the northwest side of the continental divide, near the headwaters of the Michigan River. The peak is prominently visible from the west side of Cameron Pass, and from State Highway 14. It can also be seen throughout the southern North Park basin where it is known also known as "the Crags" or "Sleeping Indian" for its resemblance to the form of a supine chief.[2] To the east lie the shallow basins of Snow Lake and the Michigan or American Lakes; to the north lies a snow filled couloir; to the west the mountain descends directly into the deep waters of Lake Agnes; and to the south lie Static Peak, Mount Richthofen, and the remainder of the Never Summer Mountain Range.


The rocks of the peak were formed as a sedimentary deposit millions of years ago in an ancient ocean basin. The entire region was subsequently thrust up with the formation of the Medicine Bow Range at the close of the Mesozoic Era. Around 24–29 million years ago, rising magma began to create volcanoes that were the predecessors of the Never Summer Mountains. The magma cooled into granitic formations and nearby, now vertical, shale metamorphosed into the hornfels that forms the present day Nokhu Crags.[3] After millions of years of erosion and glaciation, the vertical fin-like form of the Nohku Crags was exposed. Erosion continues to reshape the Crags, as evidenced by the extensive talus field at its base.

Today the mountain is a barren, almost treeless form, virtually devoid of vegetation. During the day pika and mountain goats may be seen and heard on the steep slopes. In the afternoon light green and orange hues of lichen covering the face of the rocks becomes apparent. In the evening thousands of bats stream from nooks and crannies of the western face. In the winter the Nokhu Crags are covered with deep snow and the flanks are the scene of frequent avalanches. An avalanche in 2013 killed a skier and buried another skier for hours.[4]


  1. ^ "Nokhu Crags". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  2. ^ ""Indian Heads" and other humanoid rocks". Guy Worthey. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  3. ^ "Geology at State Forest". Colorado State Parks. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  4. ^ "2013 avalanche kills 1, injures 1". Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 

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