At 14,073 feet, Mount Columbia is the 35th highest peak in Colorado. It is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. There is currently no standard route delineated for climbing Mount Columbia and climbers should avoid the loose scree slopes directly west of the peak. This area has seen many visitors and is severely eroded. THE COLORADO 14ERS PARTNERSHIP IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON CONSTRUCTING A TRAIL, BUT THAT TRAIL PIECE CURRENTLY LEADS TO NOWHERE. PLEASE STAY ON THE USER CREATED ROUTE UNTIL A PORTION OF THE TRAIL CAN BE OPENED (LIKELY SUMMER 2018 OR SPRING 2019).
If you go, take the Horn Fork Basin Route – 11 miles roundtrip. This strenuous user created trail gains 5,800 feet in elevation. From the North Cottonwood Trailhead, follow the North Cottonwood Trail west. At the Kroenke Lake / Hornfork Basin junction, veer right towards Hornfork Basin and Bear Lake. Follow the trail to AN OBVIOUS TRAIL JUNCTION NEAR treeline at the mouth of the basin, TAKE THE RIGHT FORK travelling east, staying to the south of the prominent rock outcrop. Continue up the south ridge to the summit. Please stay on the trail as the vegetation is extremely sensitive. The Colorado Fourteeners Program partners are currently working on constructing a sustainable trail on the mountain. DO NOT follow the small portion of completed trail, it will lead you astray!!
For more information, please see the Mount Columbia Information sheet.
At a Glance
||DIFFICULT On the descent, follow this same route back. The scree slopes to the west should be avoided, they have been severely eroded by hikers. Know the symptoms of altitude sickness. Severe headaches, dizziness, and nausea are warning SIGNS.
Mount Columbia is a companion Peak to Mount Harvard.
Horn Fork Basin Route - From Leadville, travel south on U.S. Hwy 24 to Buena Vista. Then take Chaffee County Roads 350 and 365 west for 10 miles to the North Cottonwood Trailhead.