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Decent trail IF you have high clearance off road vehicle. The hike from the lower trailhead is a washed out jeep trail with gigantic, feet killing rocks. Consider adamantium shanks for you boots. I went to the high trail in my Jeep. The rest of the trail has tons of dead ends and washouts. We spent 1/2 the hike bushwacking or bouldering. The approach to Harvard is less than great. Tons of false ridges, and we found too late you have to cross over for a north face summit. We were cliffed out around 14,220. Only plus side is we didn't see a single person on the trail over 2 days. There's probably a reason for that!

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike!! A lot of the negative comments below can be overcome by good alpine practices. The peak is very obviously exposed, you can see this easily from 285. An early alpine start helps with sun too. We started at 5:30 and summited 2.5 hours later. The trail is wonderfully marked, just look for the next 2-3 cairns, not only the one ahead. The trail moves through a scree field, not sure what the references to “huge boulders” are. There are some but it is more scree than scramble. All in all, be ready for a beautiful and engaging hike. Definitely worth driving the Jeep road if you have the car.

This was my husband and my first 14er. Granted we have nothing to compare it to and the views were awesome at the top, but I don’t think we will ever do this one again. It is 95% straight rock scramble with a very poorly marked trail. It took us 9 hours to do 7 miles, and we are not slow hikers. It just takes that much concentration that by the end you are not only physically exhausted, but mentally exhausted. Good time, but beware it’s all rocks.

Beautiful half day trail. The end is worth the effort.

off road driving
8 days ago

Took this trip yesterday and enjoyed every minute.
My review is not for hiking but for 4x4 off-roading.
You will definitely want a high clearance vehicle (no RAV4 or similar vehicles) if you want to take the road to the end. The last leg is semi brutal so take it slow.
To get to upper Pomeroy Lake, you have to park and walk about 3/4 mile.
If you have time, take the side trip up the mountain to the Mary Mine. Very rocky, very loose gravel and excellent views.

This was a fantastic hike! We did this as a day hike and had lunch at the lake. Magnificent views. From the time you cross the stream and enter the Horn Fork basin until slightly before the turn off for the lake, the rate of climb is very manageable. The last bit before the turn off was steeper, but not all that long. I’m not sure that I would agree with the review below about most low clearance cars being able to make it to the trailhead, at least based on the condition of the road when we were there in July this year. We did make it using a garden variety small SUV, but I would have felt a lot better in something with more clearance and a stick, particularly coming down. That being said, there were a couple of low clearance passenger cars at the trailhead and one apparently disabled SUV being hauled off on a flatbed tow truck...

hiking
29 days ago

I took my mother who is visiting from the east coast on this hike as an intro/easier hike at altitude so she could acclimate. We started around 8:30am on a Sunday morning and there was no one around. For the duration of the hike, we only saw 4 people total, which is rare for this time of year and type of hike.

Specific directions and tips:
— If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle, I would park at the base of the road and walk up the 0.9 miles to the sign reading “3 Elk Trail.” I have a Honda Accord and didn’t want to risk it.
— Nowhere on the hike will you find any signage saying “Harvard Lakes trail.”
— At the sign reading 3 Elk Trail, turn left and continue along the logging trail.
— You’ll cross the creek a few times and meander through the woods, before the trail intersects the Colorado Trail. This is about 1.7 miles from the 3 Elk Trail sign.
— Turn left (West) onto the Colorado Trail, and you’ll hit the first, smaller lake on your right. Continue along the trail and you’ll soon see the second, larger lake on your left.
— There’s an unofficial trail that loops the lake, with a few remnants of campsites.

There weren’t many wildflowers along the trail since the climate has been so dry. Still a wonderful, beautiful hike. I recommend getting an early start since it gets hot quite quickly.

We did this on July 5th. It was 2 of our friend’s first 14ers (one her first week living in CO). All 6 of us did fine. Minimal long breaks and a decent amount of short stop, go stop go breaks. All avid hikers, but the last mile is brutal. There is no trail lots of rock climbing. A helicopter landed down the trail above treelike while we were approaching the top...be cautious and leave early! A storm came in fast around noon, it stayed away but still! Beautiful hike and a great 14er to make 11 down!

Excellent hike! Plan on good boots and poles as most of the trail is rocky.

We went up the 4wd road 3.2 to the towers and the road is very narrow and you need a truck or Jeep, it it pretty deep rollers and dips. We parked there and walked up the road close to 2 miles before you even get on the trail. It was not our favorite it’s very exposed no trees to start and it’s basically boulders the whole way. It raps around the valley and then you get up to summit and it’s all loose rocks and dirt. Not well maintained at all.
Not our most memorable and no wild flowers just stinky weeds.

Drove my lifted wrangler up the four wheel drive round as far as you could go (to the gate and giant cairn where the trail starts) nothing technical about the road but you definitely want a high clearance 4wd vehicle. Not my favorite 14er. The whole trail is just huge boulders the whole way up. The views are nice at the top. Wasn’t very hard compared to other ones I’ve done.

off road driving
1 month ago

This trail was awesome! I am a novice in the off roading realm and this trail was a great place to start. We went up here to camp and were not disappointed. There are plenty of areas to set up a tent and they’re far enough away from the other spots you’re not disturbed. 4x4 is definitely recommended along with proper clearance. My stock Xterra did great! When you come to the water crossing you can cross the water for Mt. Antero or go straight to Baldwin Lake. I tried to go up to Baldwin lake but either my vehicle or my nerves couldn’t handle it and I had to stick to Mt. Antero. Everyone on the trail whether in a Jeep, ATV, motorcycle or other SUV was very polite. Hit this trail!

off road driving
1 month ago

We took our Jeep on this trail 4 years ago. There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the road. For the most part we felt alone on the trail. It took us all afternoon to get to Lake Pomeroy. We passed some abandoned mines and buildings and near the end of this trail we passed an old grave next to the road from the 1800s. There were a few places that you definitely needed a 4x4. We didn’t see any hikers on this trip. When we eventually got to Lake Pomeroy it was a amazing site to see. A hidden lake atop a mountain. There were a couple of different groups of people that were fishing. Love this trip!!

Very nice but a bit busy, the hike itself it’s not a piece of cake but it’s not crazy hard either, you have to consider that it’s a steep hike up, just take your time.
We saw solo hikers, families, definitively dog friendly.
Took us about 1 hour and 40 min to go up, gorgeous views, we stop by the waterfall to have some lunch and then continue our way down the loop. About one hour down for us.
Totally worth it !

I started at the bottom parking lot as there is no way I would drive up that road. Lots of others do with the right vehicles and I still wouldn’t do it, then there are those that attempt with a low clearance vehicle, nuts! Because of the road it is fairly easy to hike, steep but okay. This is my first Fourteener so it will take me more than once to reach the top, especially from the lower parking lot. I sort of feel those that drive up are just cheating. I could do it in a heartbeat if I did that. I made it up about 5.5 miles today at 11500’ still had two more miles to go but was tired and hot. I started at 830am but will start at sunrise the next time to stay cool and more shaded. I did a total of a little over 11 miles so the total for this round trip would probably be just over 15.

There is a lot of contradictory information about this trail in reviews. Here is the truth. Number one, the road to the trailhead is less than a mile and drivable if you have a high-clearance vehicle. Just go slow. If you do not it's a pretty short walk. The distance is 5.4 out and back with the road walk. Number two, the trail name is 3 Elk, not Harvard Lakes, and you do need to go left at the Colorado Trail sign. The vast majority of the trail is a fairly steep incline and not at all scenic. There are tons of dead trees and juniper bushes and no wildflowers or wildlife. There are a couple of short stretches where you are along a stream that is very pretty. The lakes at the top are pretty with a nice view of Mount Columbia but I would say not worth a subpar hike to get to them. If you want a good workout that's pretty short this is ok. If you're not in good shape, this will not be fun. If you are doing this as a substitute for Ptarmigan Trail because the road is closed you may want to reconsider. I am from Colorado and this is a very meh trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike along creek to the lakes with some Colorado ladies! At times it was steep and rocky. Definitely make sure you turn right up the road to the 3 Elk Trailhead so you don’t have to hike the extra mile in and out.

6/30/18. Great moderate hike for weekend hikers. Uphill all the way and rocky in places. Follows a stream in the beginning for just a brief time then again during the last 3rd of the trip. It’s hot and dry currently so get an early start; carry plenty of water. The road up is pretty rocky but any higher clearance vehicle should be fine.

hiking
1 month ago

This was my 19th 14er and by far my least favorite. The trail was well marked to the ridge but non-existent after that. The first 1.5 miles or so was nice, up the road then switchbacks and a traverse through alpine meadow. After that it was a long traverse through boulders on a well marked trail, not difficult. Then two huge cairns marked the beginning of switch backs through alpine meadow to obtain the ridge. Up to this point I enjoyed the trail and my dog was doing great. From this point to the summit it was around 1 mile with still about 1500 feet gain to go. There were scattered cairns along the ridge but very far apart. We'd walk towards one to see another one directly below us by 50ft. It seems they were randomly placed, perhaps by other hikers who were trying to mark their own route. We just tried to stay close to the ridge. After 2 hours of hiking through this having to pay attention to every step and stop to plan the direction of travel with some scrambling we were mentally tired. Not the best first 14er for my 11 month old dog! We finally got to the base of the summit and again, no trail. The train was loose talus and scree. At several points we were on all fours trying to get traction scrambling up with anything we could hold on to. It felt like trying to climb up a rock pile at a quarry. On the way down skid so much we finally just sat down and slid on our butts. The whole trail of 6.8 miles took us 9 hours! Compare that to Mt Elbert where we hiked 10 miles in 5 hours. This was too technical for my taste. I enjoy scrambling, I liked Mt Yale and Pikes Peak, but this was not fun for me. Part of it was I was just unprepared for so much of it to be so rocky and I would not have brought my dog. I will not be doing this 14er again!

hiking
1 month ago

I camped up here for 1 night. Getting up to the TH in my Honda Civic was definitely a little stressful, but doable. I went in about 4 miles, found myself about halfway up the trail to Mt Columbia with my 30 lbs pack and decided to tough it out. Didn't realize that the trail I was on was still in the process of being built, haha, and ended up having to cut across a slope to reach the old trail up Mt Columbia, which was terrible (I see why they're building a new one--should be done next year!). Gave up at about 13800' still with my giant pack and came back down to treeline (the descent on the old Mt Columbia trail was really rough, lots of skidding down a rocky slope) to camp for the night; lots of beautiful spots in the basin at treeline, close enough to walk for water. Plenty of people, but everyone was quiet and respectful and overall just so relaxing and gorgeous to watch the sunset over the mountains. Headed up to Bear Lake the next morning, ate some snacks, and came all the way back down. I'll have to try Mt Harvard next, but I was so pooped from Mt Columbia I didn't want to try!

off road driving
1 month ago

lakes are small and disappointing. take trail 279 instead. much better views.

We rode ATV on this trail. We loved it! Rocky towards the top, but beautiful!!

hiking
1 month ago

Driving up to the radio towers (or even further) is definitely worth doing if your vehicle can handle it. It seemed like most of the hike was through the boulder fields (which is really all of it once you get above tree line). It’s rated as difficult, and I’m guessing that’s because of the lack of actual trail. You’re mostly scrambling through rocks. However, it was still one of the easier 14ers I’ve done because you can drive so high up and the trail is a road up until tree line.

hiking
1 month ago

4wd trail clear but you need high clearance to make it to the Princeton trail. Trail is easy to follow until 13,000 feet then it becomes a scramble to the top with defined trail!!! Made it in 2 1/2 hours to the top

GREAT hike. Trail marked well. What makes hiking worth it: getting to top, all to feel so small in this HUGE world.

hiking
2 months ago

A group of five vacationing from Iowa enjoyed this hike! Parked on the County Road suggested in earlier comments. Took our crew about an hour and 10 to get to the first lake, and it was worth the incline up to view it! Overall, all enjoyed this hike. Bring water and prepare to do some heavy breathing as you work your way up.

Did this trail on 6/13/18 tool my wife and I around 1 hr and 50 minutes to get to the top and another hour to get back down. I would say the difficulty is accurate. This has been one of our favorite hikes, the scenery is beautiful with a good payoff. We met a few groups of people along the way and a little bit of snow towards the top but nothing extreme. I recommend having some lunch and coffee overlooking the lakes.

This was my second visit to this trailhead. The first time I hiked to Columbia’s summit, and it was brutal. Most low clearance vehicles should be capable of getting to the trailhead. It starts off fairly easy-going and increases in intensity over the duration of the hike. There was quite a bit of post-holing going on over Memorial Day, but I would assume no issues going up now. The vegetation below tree line looks great, and there are several great campsites along the way. Next time I visit I’ll be hiking in a couple miles and stay overnight to get a head start on Mount Harvard.

hiking
2 months ago

The road leading up to the trail is terrible so be prepared to add about a mile both ways (2 miles total). The trail is very well managed and easy to follow. In terms of difficulty it leans more towards easy. There are a lot of bugs so bring repellent of some sort if you don’t want to be annoyed by them the whole time. Butterflies are very easy to spot by the lake. Extremely low traffic on the trail as I only saw one other person the whole time. Overall it’s a good forest trail but because of the irritating bugs and lack of a distinct feature or view I would go to other trails during the summer.

Does anyone have a pin of where the lower lot is? Just want to make sure I start in the right spot. Thx!

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