Peak(s):  Red Mtn C  -  13,229 feet
Red Pk A  -  13,215 feet
Hoosier Ridge  -  13,352 feet
Date Posted:  06/16/2020
Date Climbed:   06/13/2020
Author:  Kitten
Additional Members:   Mountain Mike
 Red Ptarmigan on Red Peak A, Plus Red Mountain C + Hoosier Ridge (via Pennsylvania Creek)  

  • Trailhead: Pennsylvania Creek (10,300 feet)
  • Roundtrip distance: 11.2 miles (gps recording)
  • Elevation at camp: 11,300 feet
  • Total elevation gain: 3,800 feet

Reason for writing this trip report: this particular route (hitting all 3 peaks from this TH) has not been described before.

After being at home (mainly riding our bikes around the area) for 3 months it was time to venture out into new territory. We chose this area and this particular route knowing it would be quiet and challenging (route finding) at the same time. We were not wrong.

So, we headed out to Breckenridge (sorry BM!). But don’t worry Breckenridgers, we never set foot in town, not even for gas, my car made it there and back in only half tank! Although I have to say we were horrified of the crowds near main street, so close together and not even caring about distancing…

We started at the Pennsylvania Creek TH, the road is passable for 4WD vehicles. We could have driven it with another vehicle, but wanted to backpack and have a leisure weekend, so we set foot on this mellow road.

Pennsylvania Creek TH

View looking back on road 611

After about 2 miles the road takes a sharp left, but there is an old road (now closed to traffic) following the Pennsylvania Creek. There is a faint trail and also some areas where they are trying to do restoration, so we were careful not to step on those areas.

Old Road following Pennsylvania Creek

After about less than half a mile, a small creek comes in from the West to join Pennsylvania Creek, this is the place we chose to cross and head West through the trees.

Where we crossed over

Time to camp for the evening, around 11,300 feet. Lots of moose and elk activity!


Next morning, 5am alarm and we were up hiking at 6am. We made our way through the trees to the upper North ridge of Red Mountain. From here there were several false summits till the true one finally came into view.

Gully where we went up

Quandary in the distance

False summit

True summit

Hoosier Ridge was the next objective of the day. There was a small section of snow on the way down from Red Mountain.

Coming down from Red Mountain

Looking back at Red Mountain

After less than one hour we made it to the top. We had lunch, the weather was still holding. We observed through our binoculars the hordes of people making it up Quandary Peak, there were at least more than 200 people there today. And we had all these summits to ourselves, not a bad choice!

View from the summit

So, next objective, Red Peak A. A small section of snow again, but very smooth going again. Love hiking at high altitude.

On route to Red Peak

And at the top of the Red Peak, we were greeted by a chatty red ptarmigan (no kidding, he or she was pink!), see picture below (pic does not make justice though).

He/She looks reddish...

We chose to descent the North/East ridge since we wanted to loop back to our campsite. First we thought we would just descent the ridge to the 4WD road described in the standard route (which can be seen in the picture below), but we decided to head a bit North instead (bypassing all the cliffs on the North side) into the Horseshoe Basin (lots of elk there!), what a nice place to be.

Descent from Red Peak, road can be seen below

Looking back at Red Peak

The route we chose was steep, but it took us right where we wanted to be.

Descent to Horseshoe basin

Once in the basin we made our way through the trees, back to camp. Total time 7 hours (including multiple rest stops and leisure time). The rain finally came around 7pm, although it didn’t last long.

Double rainbow (for you Kitty!)

Gpx tracks below

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

 Comments or Questions

Great report!
06/16/2020 18:17
I may consider this route now over the standard from Hooiser Pass. Miss seeing you and Mike, hope you have been well. -Troy


06/17/2020 10:08
I've been eyeing this route after seeing some TRs about ski descents into Horshoe basin, but looks like an excelllent summer option too! Especially with a 4WD, good to know the gate's open...

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