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    Mount Columbia Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    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.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    19.3 km
    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.
    1,270 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Mount Columbia Hike is an amazing adventure up a dramatic Colorado 14er. Located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, this trail will guide explorers through aspen groves, pine forests, and alpine tundras, before summiting the snow-capped peak. If you are seeking a challenge, then this hike is the perfect option!

    View Mount Columbia Hike on Map

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    Route Description for Mount Columbia Hike

    The Mount Columbia Hike is a high-effort, high reward experience. Reserved for intrepid spirits and experienced hikers, this trek demands stamina and preparation. The route will see you gain over 1,200 m in elevation, so it is important that you are properly acclimated to the area’s altitude prior to your climb. Additionally, the terrain at the summit will likely be cloaked in snow and ice, so we recommend trekking poles and microspikes to safely navigate the vertiginous terrain. Finally, you will want to reach the peak before noon to mitigate the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm, so best leave before dawn!

    Departing from the North Cottonwood Trailhead, the Mount Columbia Hike follows the Horn Fork Basin Trail northwest through the woodlands. This section of the trail will likely be the busiest, as it connects to several other treks in the area. Shortly after your departure from the trailhead you will encounter an intersection, keep right here. Following the path northwest, you will eventually be guided into an aspen forest, before confronting another junction. Veer right here onto the Mount Columbia West Slopes Trail, which is a technical and more primitive path.

    Carefully navigate the steep switchbacks up to the ridge, then hike the vertiginous terrain up to the summit of the Colorado 14er. At the peak, be sure to appreciate what you just accomplished and admire the sweeping alpine vistas. Revel in the sights of the dramatic snow-capped peaks that stretch for miles and when you are ready to descend, simply retrace your footing along the paths back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Mount Columbia Hike Trailhead

    The Mount Columbia Hike is accessed via the North Cottonwood Trailhead off the North Cottonwood Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Dispersed Backcountry Camping

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Mount Columbia Hike Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Mount Columbia Hike Reviews

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