Hike Mt. Harvard

Rate this Adventure Colorado North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead

Added by Kyle Frost

  • Distance: 14 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 4,600 ft
  • Hike the 3rd highest peak in Colorado
  • One of the longer approaches to a 14er, but the payoff is definitely worth it!

Start your hike at the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead. The trail begins at the end of the parking lot. You'll cross a bridge and meander along the creek, eventually reaching another bridge crossing at about 1.5 miles.

After this bridge, you'll reach a trail junction. Be sure to go right (towards Horn Fork Basin and Bear Lake). Continue to gain altitude through the basin, eventually coming out above treeline with views of Harvard directly ahead.

At the next junction (for Bear Lake), bear right. Continue climbing out of the basin. You'll reach a small shoulder before heading up steeper slopes to the South Ridge. There are several 'trails' in this area, but just follow cairns and keep headed up to the ridge and you'll be fine. Once on the ridge, follow it up and to to the right to the summit. You'll have a couple of options scrambling over the rock to the summit, but nothing more than Class II if you pick your route well.

Enjoy views of the whole Sawatch Range from the top (14,420 feet)!

Pack List

  • Good hiking boots
  • Food
  • Water
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More




Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



14 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4600 Feet



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Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

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