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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Mt. Columbia Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,400 Feet (2618.5 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 5,673 Feet (1768.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 14,073 Feet (4386.8 Meters) summit of Mt. Columbia
Length, One-way: 7.5 Miles (12.5 Kilometers) route #2
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 129 Buena Vista, Collegiate Peaks
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 1494
Usage: Moderate
USGS Map: Mt. Harvard quad

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

#1: Where the trail begins parking is available at the beginning of forest access road between Three Elk and Four Elk developments. Those traveling in four-wheel drive vehicles may continue one mile to the road closure. Continue up the old road one mile to the Colorado trail. Hike one mile south on the Colorado trail to Three Elk trail. Hike west on Three Elk to Columbia Basin 2.5 miles. Climb northwest .5 miles up the gully to the ridge and continue .5 miles southwest to Mt. Columbia summit.

No well-defined or marked trail exists above tree line on this route.

Directions from Leadville: #1: From Leadville travel south on U.S. highway 24 for 26.5 miles, drive west into the Four Elk development and follow the sign to the forest access road. Please respect private property.

Directions from Leadville: #2: From Leadville, travel south 24 miles on U.S. highway 24 to wilderness boundary, travel southwest 3.3 miles to forest road 386.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations during the Spring, Summer and Fall months.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I went up the Cottonwood Creek Route (same as for Harvard). It is a little difficult finding the trail to turn east on and I had to ask some other hikers who had done it before. Very steep but challenging. Great day (7/16). Missed the rain as I started at 7:40 am and was finished by 2:15 pm. No one on top when I was there so if you like solitude it is not crowded like Harvard.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Mt. Columbia Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Mt. Columbia Trail

More Information

Visitor Information:

Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928


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