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A steep trail up grassy slopes to 14er Mt. Columbia.


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Map Key

1.7

Miles

2.7

KM

Point to Point

14,013' 4,271 m

High

11,482' 3,500 m

Low

2,531' 771 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

28%

Avg Grade (16°)

67%

Max Grade (34°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The Cottonwood Creek Trailhead is generally closed for winter several miles below the start of the Horn Fork Basin Trail.

Though the land manager requests all dogs be leashed, you'll likely see few dogs, none of whom will be leashed.

Description

As the west slopes of Mt. Columbia come into view, head right towards a boulder field, leaving the Horn Fork Basin Trail.

Hike up a small hill out of the forest, continuing up a short gully to the left of the boulder field at about 11,800 ft. Cross the small boulder field, angling uphill and to the right. Avoid a set of cliffs, creating your own switchbacks through the rocks. Continue to the left up steep, grassy slopes toward the shoulder of Mt. Columbia.

The trail here is vague, but if you continue up the ridge toward Columbia's visible summit you can't get lost. Angle to the left, reaching a rockier summit ridge at about 13,600 ft. From here, the trail is more obvious and the grade less steep (as seen on the elevation profile). Continue about a half mile along the ridge to reach the summit of Mt. Columbia.

Flora & Fauna

Starting near treeline, there are plenty of wildflowers throughout this ascent, with marmots and pika scurrying along the rocks.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tyler Prince

Trail Ratings

  3.2 from 9 votes

#24550

Overall
  3.2 from 9 votes
5 Star
22%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
44%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1,974

in Colorado

#24,550

Overall
2 Views Last Month
973 Since Mar 6, 2015
Difficult Difficult

0%
0%
0%
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88%
13%

Photos

Near Columbia summit views.
Mar 26, 2024 near Buena V…, CO
Approaching the summit of Mt. Columbia.
Mar 12, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
The grassy slopes up Columbia.
Mar 12, 2015 near Buena V…, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Sep 12, 2021
Sara Pearson
The trail has been updated significantly, with beautiful switchbacks up to 13,300. This makes the mileage a bit longer but makes the hike much easier. 2.2mi — 2h 15m
Oct 16, 2020
Andrew Patterson
Got a good start from the trailhead with O and Ace. The basin was great, the quick ascent to Columbia a bit difficult. Wind was crazy. GREAT day! 12.1mi — 8h 05m
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