show the route above tree line. Locate the trail, walk down to a bridge crossing and follow the excellent trail for 1.4 miles to another bridge. Shortly after that crossing, you'll reach a trail junction. Stay right for Horn Fork Basin and Bear Lake. Hike another 1.25 miles to a small clearing (on the trail) at 11,050' where you can see Columbia's southwest shoulder up to your right - 3
. Continue on the main trail for another .25 mile to the Columbia trail junction
. Turn right, leaving the main trail, and follow a different trail toward Columbia.
Take this small trail northeast up through the trees. After hiking over a hill in the forest, the trail enters a linear clearing where there is a trail junction. Turn right and cross to the east side of the clearing before re-entering the trees. Reach another small, linear clearing and turn right at yet another trail junction - 5
. Continue southeast through trees ( 6
) and bushes to the base of a wide gully
on the southwest side of Columbia - 7
. There is one good landmark in this area: Point 11,853' shown on the topo map. There are cliffs above (left) the trail before you hit tree line at the base of the gully. Exit the trees and continue onto the base of the gully. NOTICE: In 2020, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) opened the new, upper Columbia trail that has been under construction for a few years. Swing right (southeast) and follow the new trail up onto the shoulder - 8
. This route description will have photos of the new trail in July, 2020.
Once on the shoulder
), follow the trail as it switchbacks up to the ridge
just above 13,600' - 9
. Turn left and hike along the ridge over rock bumps and several small saddles. From where you hit the ridge, it is over 1/2 mile to the summit - 10
. After a few ups and downs, cross a grassy area and climb the final rock pile to the true summit