Little Horn Peak
Northeast Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 3 
Risk Factors:
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:Horn Creek
Start:9,100 feet
Summit:13,143 feet
Total Gain:4,200 feet
RT Length:8.50 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Last Updated:5/2012

Trailhead

From the intersection of CO Highways 69 and 96 in Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 for 3.4 miles and turn right (west) on Schoolfield Road. After 1.7 miles, turn left (south) on CR 129. Continue nearly 2.0 miles and turn right (west) on Horn Creek Road (CR 130). Drive 2.4 miles to reach the Horn Creek Ranch. Turn right and drive 0.5 mile to the marked trailhead and large parking area, at 9,100'.

Route

Taken from the northeast, #1 shows Little Horn Peak's northeast ridge. Next to the trailhead restrooms, start southwest up the excellent trail and hike 0.5 mile to reach a junction. Turn right onto the Rainbow trail and continue north just 0.1 mile to reach another trail junction. Turn left onto the non-motorized trail which heads southwest toward Horn Creek and hike another 0.5 mile to reach a clearing - #2.

This is a great area to start your hike up to the northeast ridge. Leave the trail and hike northwest up into the forest. Stay just south of a small drainage seen on the topo map and curve west as you follow a subtle shoulder to reach the ridge near 10,900'. In summer, this hike up through the forest is little more than minor zig-zagging up through the trees. When you are able to see over the northeast ridge, continue southwest and the ridge becomes more defined. Near 11,200' you get a look at the summit - #3 and #4. Continue along the ridge (#5) to reach tree line, near 11,700' - #6.

Continue on or just left of the ridge crest and the terrain gets steeper near 12,300' - #7. Stay left and start up the first steep pitch - #8. #9 looks back on the lower ridge and #10 shows the remaining ridge, seen from Horn Peak. At 13,000', scramble along the ridge (#11 and #12) to reach a notch - #13. Scramble (easy Class 3) 20 feet down into the notch and turn left to continue along the south side of the ridge - #14. Bypass some difficulties and regain the ridge just before reaching the top of the final false summit - #15. Continue less than 0.2 mile to reach the summit - #16. From the top, #17 looks north to Horn Peak.

Notes

None

Topo map  Not Displayed, click here to change your settings


Route Photos  Print Options

Photo #1
#1: An overview, from the northeast.
Photo #2
#2: Reach this clearing approx. 1.3 miles from the trailhead.
Photo #3
#3: Near 11,200’, on the ridge with a first look at the summit.
Photo #4
#4: A closer look.
Photo #5
#5: Near 11,750’.
Photo #6
#6: Once above tree line, the route stays near the ridge crest.
Photo #7
#7: At 12,300’, where ridge steepens.
Photo #8
#8: At 12,800’.
Photo #9
#9: Looking back down the northeast ridge.
Photo #10
#10: Taken from Horn Peak, this shot shows the upper difficulties of Little Horn.
Photo #11
#11: At 13,000’ - much of the remaining route consists of Difficult Class 2 with some Easy Class 3 moves.
Photo #12
#12: Approaching a false summit. 13er Mt. Adams is off to the left.
Photo #13
#13: Scramble down to a notch and turn left to bypass some Class 5 rock.
Photo #14
#14: Looking back at the notch after crossing to the south side of the ridge.
Photo #15
#15: Regaining the ridge before the false summit.
Photo #16
#16: Finally, the true summit is not far off.
Photo #17
#17: On the summit, looking north to Horn Peak.

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