Mount Harvard Trail is a 13 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until September.
Directions from Route #1: From the Buena Vista traffic light at the junction of U.S. Highway 24 and the Cottonwood Pass Road, travel north along Highway 24 for .4 mile. Turn left (west) onto Chaffee County 350 and follow it for about 2 miles. At the T-intersection stay right and head north then northwest. Turn left (south) onto Chaffee County Road 365 and follow as it turns toward the west for just over 5 miles to the end of the road and the trailhead. This road can be pretty rough and difficult for 2 wheel drive vehicles (especially when wet). Don't be too bold, park your car and walk the last section. There are not may towing companies that will tow from this area. Once you've reached the trailhead follow the trail west for two miles to the fork in the trail. Stay right (north) toward Horn Fork Basin and Bear Lake. The route follows the tundra slopes on Harvard's south shoulder.
Great hike, long and steep near the top with a fair amount of bouldering. Man who started at the trailhead with a devoted GPS device logged 7.7 miles to the top with over 5000 ft of elevation change. Took me 6.5 hours on the head (4 out and 2.5 back bout county 20 minutes up top). I passed nearly everyone who beat me to the top on the way back down, apparently I was flying to do it in this time. A sponsored Clif Bar runner named Dakota passed me running to the top, but he's clearly an elite athlete. Some of the bushes were 6+ feet tall overwhelming the trail, which was a little freaky as it limits your view and speed.
Saw a lot of marmots at the top and one BIG goat. Great hike, not super easy at the top. Lots of places to roll you ankles on the way down so be careful
Incredible hike. The views were some of the best that I have seen on a fourteener. The hike is a little longer than the easier fourteeners, and the elevation gain is tough, but it is totally worth it! We even had some mountain goats join us at the top. The trail wasn't too busy, but there were definitely other hikers along the way. If you've got a few fourteeners already under your belt, I highly recommend this one. If you can, leave early so you can hit Mt Columbia on your way back. Storms role in early and the trail is long, so you'll want to start extra early to get both done
Great trail and beautiful views. There were a fair amount of people on the trail but didnt feel crowded at all. Hiked into the treeline the first night and set up camp around a fire ring off the trail. Started early in the morning up to Mt Harvard peak. First stop on the way up was Bear lake which was awesome. Quick note you need to backtrack to the trail. DO NOT head up the to the first peak and traverse over to Harvard. Killed my leags and didnt get to complete the traverse to Mt Colombia