Little Horn Peak - Northeast Ridge

Difficulty:  Class 3 
Upper Elevation: 13,143 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 9,100 feet
Elevation Gain:4,200 feet
Round-trip Length: 8.50 miles
Trailhead: Horn Creek
Author: BillMiddlebrook
Route Added: 05/07/2012
Last Updated: 05/07/2012
GPX File: Download Login required


From the intersection of CO Highways 69 and 96 in Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 for 3.4 miles and turn right (west) on Schoolfield Road. After 1.7 miles, turn left (south) on CR 129. Continue nearly 2.0 miles and turn right (west) on Horn Creek Road (CR 130). Drive 2.4 miles to reach the Horn Creek Ranch. Turn right and drive 0.5 mile to the marked trailhead and large parking area, at 9,100’.


Taken from the northeast, Photo #1 shows Little Horn Peak’s northeast ridge. Next to the trailhead restrooms, start southwest up the excellent trail and hike 0.5 mile to reach a junction. Turn right onto the Rainbow trail and continue north just 0.1 mile to reach another trail junction. Turn left onto the non-motorized trail which heads southwest toward Horn Creek and hike another 0.5 mile to reach a clearing - Photo #2.

This is a great area to start your hike up to the northeast ridge. Leave the trail and hike northwest up into the forest. Stay just south of a small drainage seen on the topo map and curve west as you follow a subtle shoulder to reach the ridge near 10,900’. In summer, this hike up through the forest is little more than minor zig-zagging up through the trees. When you are able to see over the northeast ridge, continue southwest and the ridge becomes more defined. Near 11,200’ you get a look at the summit - Photo #3 and Photo #4. Continue along the ridge (Photo #5) to reach tree line, near 11,700’ - Photo #6.

Continue on or just left of the ridge crest and the terrain gets steeper near 12,300’ - Photo #7. Stay left and start up the first steep pitch - Photo #8. Photo #9 looks back on the lower ridge and Photo #10 shows the remaining ridge, seen from Horn Peak. At 13,000’, scramble along the ridge (Photo #11 and Photo #12) to reach a notch - Photo #13. Scramble (easy Class 3) 20 feet down into the notch and turn left to continue along the south side of the ridge - Photo #14. Bypass some difficulties and regain the ridge just before reaching the top of the final false summit - Photo #15. Continue less than 0.2 mile to reach the summit - Photo #16. From the top, Photo #17 looks north to Horn Peak.




Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15 Photo #16 Photo #17