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parked at upper lot. have a Toyota highlander (lower clearance) and had a few sketchy spots driving. georgous views on the ridge around 13,000. last 1,000+ was steep, but so worth it. Beautiful, beautiful 360 views at the top. lots of boulders and rocks, steep in places. took me just under 3 hrs to the top. the soak in mt. Princeton hot springs after helped soothe the bones!

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful hike. The hike is pretty steep from the very beginning and doesn't let up much. There is some snow from about 12,000 ft onward, but you can still find the trail as of this posting. The saddle between Belford and Oxford was crazy windy today! We spent a lot of energy leaning into in hopes of staying on the mountain (not that we really would have been blown off).

The views made it all worth it! A steady climb from the beginning to a rocky last 45 minutes of the hike.

A nice start in the woods. Trail was clearly marked. Beautiful vistas!

beautiful late Sept hike

23 days ago

This is a steep hike, but definitely worth it. Stunning at the top, but really gorgeous the entire way up to the top.

Haley P nailed that synopsis below, incredible! Hiked under the full moon and started right outside of Winfield (the lower trailhead; Winfield is super cool, old little mining town you can explore) - tons of dispersed camping along the road to the upper trailhead. Great little dispersed spot right outside of Winfield as well. Definitely a great beginner 14'er! The trail is wonderfully defined the entire route and tough to get off track. #27 & definitely one of my favorites! Views at the summit were all-time. Enjoy!

Incredible! This was my first 14er and I’m hooked - a great first one to try if you haven’t hiked one yet. Some tips for folks to help you gauge time, distance, etc.

Everyone says to “start early” but that doesn’t really explain much. I found that you should be off the peak and below the tree line before noon on account of afternoon lightning storms. We started at 5:30 am (1.5 hours before sunrise) to give us ample time. The trail was super easy to follow, even in the dark. We made it almost half way up (to the plateau) in 1.5 hours. The last half took us another 1.5 hours, so 3 hours total to make it to the peak. We are regular hikers, but were not rushing it. We’re not a fan of blitzing a hike. We spent an hour at the top before descending in about 3 hours. Down by around 1 pm. Tons of people were ascending at that time - not sure if they planned to do the whole thing or not.

We drove in the Friday night before and car camped at the 4x4 trailhead. There were still plenty of places to park and camp, although we got there at 10 pm. You do need a 4x4 car or truck with at least 8-10 inches of clearance. A Toyota suv was hitting bottom in front of us on the way up.

Bring water, snacks, and layers! We saw some people hiking in a long-sleeved shirts and shorts and carrying one water bottle. I can’t advise against that enough. Maybe I’m just paranoid being a WFR, but honestly, I’m the one who will have to help when you get hurt, so please bring some supplies! Better to be prepared at 14,000 ft than to skimp on a little bit of extra weight.

Do it, you’ll love it!! 

hiking
26 days ago

I hit the summit of Columbia first thing this morning. Annihilated me, absolutely annihilated me. Be weary before stepping into this one as the Class II can be a tad misleading. No crazy bouldering but the sheer steepness of the slope after the treeline is insanely intense. There's a solid trail leading up the first saddle but slowly disappears, leaving one lost and bewildered, only option to continue straight up. Number 26 of 2018 and probably the most difficult. I'll take that 17 mile 6600 gain Blanca hike over this one any day. Schooled by Columbia.

This was my third 14er and by far the best 360 degree views. You NEED a 4WD vehicle to get to the upper trailhead; if you have to park at the lower trailhead plan to add about 4 miles round trip to your hike.

I’m in good shape and it took me about 5 active hours round trip to complete.

Beautiful hike today! We parked at the lower trail head which made the hike about 11 miles round trip. The aspen trees are at peak right now, great views and not too crowded for a weekend!

09/14/2018 Winfield TH - Beautiful views! Trail follows a stream at the beginning. Caught the Aspens changing. My hiking partner and I both tracked 9 miles round trip (here and 14ers.com state 7 miles though).

Took a Crosstrek and parked near the last junction. Not worth driving up that last bit.

Lots of elevation gain / very steep in certain spots. Felt like we were going straight up right before the trail goes right about half way. Lots of scree in this spot so when we were coming down we couldn't help but slide on our butts.

There are 3-4 false summits (very deceiving!).

Near the top the trail is hard to follow - look out for cairns. Lots of boulder scrambling. Got off trail on our way back down and it was rough. I had my large black lab with me and he was struggling through the boulders.

We were the ONLY people on this trail that day. Saw maybe 6 people at the summit that had taken different routes.

Drank more water than usual (not sure why) but a good Samaritan left a gallon of water on the trail. Thank you!!!

If you have a vehicle that will make it up the 4WD road, I’d 100% recommend this route! The trail is beautiful, with amazing views over Twin Lakes, and of course the summit views were also great. We even saw a wedding ceremony being performed at the top! There were some other hikers on the trail, but it didn’t look nearly as busy as the north route, which you could see at parts from this east ridge trail. Long but not technical at all, I would absolutely recommend hiking poles for the descent for people with bad knees like me, they were lifesavers. Took us about 6.5 hours RT. Hiked 7/21/18

This was my first 14er. It took me 5.5 hours of active time, not including the half hour I spent at the top. The peak had a nice little pile of rocks that creates some coverage from the wind. AMAZING 360 degree views. Every angle was breathtaking. Would definitely do again. And the cute little pikas everywhere were probably my favorite. I have no idea how but I saw some insane person mountain biking too.

Hiked from the bottom lot, roughly 5200' vertical & 14 miles RT. I agree w/ Kurt below, the road isn't that bad, definitely doable in 4WD higher clearance. The last two miles of the hike are intense - around 2250' vertical.. of boulders & scree. The trail is well marked despite some of the negative comments below.. and certainly not dreadful. I second what Annie M says below.

Did this yesterday from the paved road at the bottom, 5200' vertical. Didn't drive the road because of the scary descriptions, but the road is not bad. AWD (subaru) would be fine. Don't need a jeep. There is just one spot at 10,500 that won't allow a 2WD to make it to the parking at 10800. A gorgeous day with lots of hikers. Hope you like lots of bouldering! More of that here than any other 14er I have done so far. What a workout!

When reading 14er reviews, I always find it helpful to know a persons skill level. That being said, I’m a regular hiker and this was my second 14er. I can easily say this was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Don’t let the “lower” summit height fool you. This thing is steep! You climb roughly 1000 ft per mile for the full 3.5 mile ascend. Once you’re past the tree line (and the wonderful, but short, flat reprieve), this is where the true challenge begins. But what a view! I can see why a lot of the reviews say this is the most beautiful 14er. It was stunning!

Not hard but pretty steep! Parking lot at the top (that requires 4wd) fills up quick. There were 6 or 8 cars parked there Friday night for the next morning.

Dreadful in all respects. If you don't have a Jeep to get you three miles up the dirt "road" to the radio towers, forget about it. Four fifths of the route is slabs and boulders, with a very ill defined route. After the first mile through the meadow it is not even a "trail". Last two hours from the ridge is all loose, and would be totally impossible in rain. Unless you are attempting to bag them all, give this one a miss.

Road wasn’t too bad to the trailhead. A fair amount of options for dispersed camping along the way. The first ~3.5 miles are very gentle and easy to cruise through. Great views from the top, and the last 40 feet of scrambling is a lot of fun!

Despite the rough road to the trailhead, this peak was still mighty busy on a Saturday morning in August. Parked my stock wrangler at ~11,200’ and camped the night so I could start early and avoid the crowds. Very few parking spots available above the power lines, so keep that in mind if you get there late. Had no trouble navigating the trail in the dark/early morning. The trail itself isn’t overly interesting, but the views improve once at ridge line.

hiking
1 month ago

This could be one of the worst 14ers in different ways. Trail poorly marked. The hardest part is the last 2 miles when the rocks and boulders kick in. You are constantly looking down, some rocks slip and cause others to move quickly. I almost had a rock hit me from another hiker above. No meadows, creeks, or water of any kind. The view at the top was great but so are most of them. One and done and wouldn’t recommend it.

Great trail hike, beautiful views. Trail is perfect and well maintained. Good easy hike straight up. I drove up the 4wd upper trail head road in my Subaru outback with no issues. Starting at the upper trail head I still recorded 10.5 miles up and back so prepare for a long hike, but it is worth it!

Great hike but very challenging for someone in moderate shape. Not my first 14er, but arguably the hardest one I've done to date. difficult switch backs at the beginning, moderate uphill in the middle, followed by more difficult switchbacks at the top. opted for the longer but more forgiving Missouri Gulch route on the way down. Started at 7 a.m. and summited at 11:30. wanted to continue on to Oxford what was completely gassed at the top of Belford.

Standard Class 2 14er. Though, the elevation gain makes it seem more difficult than average (starting from the Winfield TH). There are some steep parts with a lot of scree that you will need to navigate carefully. Beware of the false summits (yes, there's more than 1). There is plenty of scrambling required once you hit ~13k ft.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a spectacular day to climb my second 14er! The weather was partly cloudy with mild temperatures. Since it was a Saturday, there were a fair number of people gathering at the trail head and lots of cars filling the parking lot and lining the road. For the most part, this hike was all about the ascent-from beginning to end there were many steep grades and innumerable switchbacks all the way up. It was definitely more challenging then Pikes Peak via the Barr Trail. On the decent back to Missouri Gulch Trail Head, It was a longer return for a more varied terrain with beautiful valley views and less steep grades. The ascent took about 3 1/2 hours. Afterword, my legs were seriously spent with aching in my knees from the nearly 4 miles to the trailhead.

Awesome hike! Get there early to beat the rush. very busy on a Saturday as we are descending. This is a great 14’er for beginners because it’s not technical at all, but it gets pretty steep over the second half of the hike from about mile 1.8 and on. Definitely allow yourself 3-4 hours if you’re a slower hiker. Also, the google maps link in AllTrails stops in the middle of the forest and says you’ve “arrived.” You haven’t. Keep driving until the 4WD road dead-ends at the trailhead in a big valley out of the trees. 4WD or AWD are necessary because of the rocks and ruts and make sure the vehicle clearance is high. It’s not that sketchy of a road otherwise though. Great hike!! We made it up in 1 hour and 51 minutes. DO IT!

Not sure what to rate it against but it was my first 14er. I am old and out of shape so feeling a bit accomplished right now, outside of the fact I can’t feel my legs. My wife fared better she was a champ. And truly the only reason I considered making it down.

So I would say this is probably one of the technically easiest hikes I have done. But don't let that fool you its a long day hike and the elevation will challenge you if you're not used to it. We drove up as far as we could go in our civic up the 4 wheel drive route (about 1.2 miles). Don't do this if you're scared about scraping a little here and there. We also made sure to navigate the road during daylight the evening before to be sure I could make it. Anyway, we left the lodge at 5am and drove up the 4 wheel road and parked at the spot I picked out the day before. Got to the 4 wheel parking lot on foot around 6am (trail head). Reached the peak at 12ish (us low landers were sucking wind). We saw a few people turn back on the way up but most made it up. we got back to the car around 6pm. Again, technically easy, but still a tough day hike. Not the nicest views when you get up there but still really cool to say you've been to the highest peak in Colorado.

Very nice trail, with excellent views, especially of the three Apostles.Pretty easy for most of the part, but more challenging on the ridge. Very well maintained trail. Recommended 4wd for reach the top trailhead. We start from the lower trailhead because our rented car has a very worn tires.Nice wilderness area to see walking.

Due to the road closure we went up Avalanche, down Denny Creek, then slogged it back to Avalanche on the road. The weather could not have been better! Great views and a challenging climb.

I’ve seen a lot of reports touting Denny Creek, but I wasn’t impressed. If I was to do Yale again, I’d stick with Avalanche. It’s slightly longer but I found it far more enjoyable.

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