Horn Peak - North Ridge

Difficulty:  Class 2 
Upper Elevation: 13,450 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 9,100 feet
Elevation Gain:4,500 feet
Round-trip Length: 10 miles
Trailhead: Horn Creek
Author: BillMiddlebrook
Route Added: 01/17/2014
Last Updated: 01/17/2014
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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 and Photo #2 show Horn Peak’s northeast ridge. Your first goal is to hike up to the Rainbow trail and there are two ways to get there: 1) Next to the trailhead restrooms (Photo #3), hike southwest up an excellent trail to reach the Rainbow trail after 0.6 mile, or 2) From the trailhead, walk back down the road a short distance, turn left on a dirt trail used by 4-wheelers (Photo #4) and hike 0.3 mile to reach the Rainbow trail.

At the Rainbow trail (Photo #5), turn right and hike 0.7 or 0.2 mile (depending on which approach you used) to reach the junction for the Dry Lakes trail - Photo #6. Pass this junction and continue on the Rainbow trail another 0.7 mile to reach another trail junction - Photo #7. Turn left and start southwest up the rocky Horn Peak trail - Photo #8. After climbing for approx. 0.5 mile, crest a ridge at 10,000’. Enjoy an easy section before the trail climbs another 400’ to reach a small creek - Photo #9. Cross the creek, continue southwest along the creek for a short distance and make a sharp right before climbing 0.3 mile to reach the crest of Horn Peak’s northeast ridge, above 10,700’ - Photo #10.

Hike southwest along the ridge and you’ll soon get a view of the remaining route - Photo #11. After a long hike to tree line, exit the trees near 11,600’ and continue on or near the ridge crest (Photo #12 and Photo #13) to a 12,665-foot point, with a good view of the remaining route - Photo #14. You’re getting closer. Near 12,900’, you’ll reach the rocky, crux of the route - Photo #15 and Photo #16. Stay just left of the ridge crest and zigzag up through rock slabs to reach 13,000’. Ascend the remaining 450’ of steep, rocky terrain (Photo #17) to reach the summit - Photo #18 and Photo #19.




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 Photo #18 Photo #19