South Ridge Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
7.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
424 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The South Ridge Hike is a more technical adventure in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Ascend the rocky terrain up the south side of Horsetooth Mountain and revel in the expansive scenery along the way. If you are seeking a more challenging excursion in the Open Space, then consider the South Ridge Trail.

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Route Description for South Ridge Hike

The South Ridge Trail is an awesome introductory hike for adventurers seeking to make their way up to summit hikes. Hike the short, but steep path up to the summit of Horsetooth Mountain. Though not the most technical terrain, it is rocky. A good pair of sneakers or hiking shoes are highly recommended. It is also worth noting that there is little tree shade on this trail, so ensure to prepare accordingly based on the forecast. There have also been plenty of Rattlesnakes spotted on this path, keep your eyes and ears peeling for these creatures and give them plenty of space if you confront one. Located within the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, visitors are required to purchase a permit which costs typically around $9USD.

Begin your journey up the South Ridge Trail from the Horsetooth Mountain Trailhead. Take the route signposted as the South Ridge Trail. Hike along the path as it intersects with a set of small creeks. Ignore intersecting and merging routes and continue hiking along the South Ridge Trail. Ascend the rocky ridge and be mindful of loose rocks, especially if there is a hiker behind you. Enjoy the sights of Fort Collins and the Horsetooth Reservoir in the east and a river canyon in the west as you scramble up the exposed ridge. Trek up the rocky terrain along the South Ridge Trail until you summit Horsetooth Mountain.

From atop the mountain, enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding wilderness and peaks. Explore Horsetooth Rock which necessitates plenty of photo opportunities. Take a rest and enjoy the scenery before retracing your steps down the path all the way back to the trailhead.

Getting to the South Ridge Hike Trailhead

The South Ridge Hike is located within the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space off W County Road 38E.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Yes, only at designated backcountry campsites. See rules and regulations.

  • When to do

    May-September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

South Ridge Hike Elevation Graph

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