Greenhorn Trail

MODERATE 38 reviews

Greenhorn Trail is a 11.8 mile out and back trail located near Rye, Colorado. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,704 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

hiking
1 month ago

I have hiked this mountain from two angles and it is my favorite mountain hands down. This particular trail is breathtaking. You will never forget this hike!

hiking
1 month ago

My review is based on fond and strong memories of hiking this trail four times, the first in 1963 and the last in 1984. So, I cannot comment from firsthand experience on the current condition of the trail. I was very sorry to read that the Forest Service no longer maintains this trail much, if at all. (Technical note: I've learned that the US Geological Survey has added 5 ft to at least some of the elevation numbers in this area. So, I've added 5 to some numbers from my old topo map.)

I usually had to look around a bit to find the continuation of the trail after it last crosses the creek and heads toward the North Peak. The part of the trail between this point (elevation about 8800 ft) and timberline (about 11,600) is unlike any other from the dozens of hikes I've done in Colorado. This stretch involves over 20 switchbacks, a seemingly relentless upward slope, and only one small opening in the trees along the way. This long steep trek in the forest might be boring for many hikers, but for me, it encouraged a sort of meditative experience.

On reaching the saddle point (12,045+), you suddenly get a fine view of the northern Sangre de Cristo mountains, the nearest of which is about 25 mi away. Pikes Peak is about 60 mi to the north, and the well-known twin Spanish Peaks are about 30 mi to the south.

The trail continues over the saddle point, then descends the west side of the mountain. So, from the saddle, you pick your own way(s) off-trail to go any higher. (See the topo map.) I'll mention three good options, each of which I've taken, for hiking to higher points and peaks: (1) Greenhorn Peak (12,352) is about 1 and 3/4 mi SE of the saddle. (2) North Peak (12,225) is about 1/3 mi NE of the saddle. (3) A pair of unnamed summits is about 1/2 mi SE of the saddle. The lower one (12,205+) is about 1/4 mi SW of the higher one (12,242), with a small dip in elevation between them. I remember this third option, to two points without names (at least on the maps I've seen), as an especially pleasant and relaxing walk above treeline.

Many other mountains are higher and get more attention, but I prefer Greenhorn, for the hiking and for the views of both Greenhorn and the mountains around it.

An alternative use of the trail, for people who prefer to hike only above timberline: Drive the forest road to the west end of the trail, high on the west side of the mountain. This road was in pretty good condition when I did it years ago; see elsewhere for directions. From the west trail head to the saddle point, the elevation gain is 570 ft, and the walking distance is 9/10 mi. I have never hiked this part of the trail myself, and do not know the current condition of it. (Also from this high road location, you could walk along the west end of the Bartlett Trail toward Greenhorn Peak, then scramble the remaining 700 or so ft up the peak on a route of your choosing.)

2 months ago

Gorgeous trail! I did 3 miles in. Moderate+ After the first half mile it is not for little ones or people with health issues. Ate a picnic by the stream. Just saw a few people on the trail. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
2 months ago

Well this mountain is nothing to sneeze at! I know the map says 11.3 miles, but our step tracker said 17 miles round trip. The trail was awesome up until about 11,500 ft., where there are SO many downed trees covering the trail it is impossible to get through. I recommend heading up to the right to get around them then get back on the trail. The downloaded map from this site definitely saved us by helping get us back on it. At the end of the day, it was a great hike and very rewarding! Even though it is a 12,300 Ft. Mountain, this hike definitely rivals some of the 14ers we have climbed.

hiking
3 months ago

Can get steap in some places but plenty of rest points, quiet (Mid May) , only saw two other hiking groups. We only made it a few miles in before turning around however what we saw was very enjoyable. One person mentioned it before but make sure to protect from and check for ticks after - we found one on our bed after that, think it stowed-away on one of our packs. The breeze is cool and filters down the trail between the mountains, coming across the river helps it a little. Low snow last winter has made it less of a hassle to cross it (you will be forced to walk across it). The bridge is a new rebuild and much of the trail has been cleared of debris from last spring’s floods. Though the further you go up the less has been done. Expect a good number of areas to step over or under downed trees. Loved it, was a great hike for couples or groups alike. Pack water and walking stick.

A word of caution, if you go off the trail there are quite a few areas where the rock and dirt is loose along edges leading into the riverbed. General safety measures and you should be just fine. Did stumble across someone’s camping ground, however this is a no camping trail/area marked by the trailhead marker.

10 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. I went in September. Was sunny and warm. Then got hit with some kind of intimidating inversion clouds at the top but they cleared up within minutes. Summitting Greenhorn is a little confusing because there's no distinct trail markers at the top and many peaks to choose from. On the way down, I experienced some rain and mild hail. All in all, a true CO hike!

hiking
Friday, July 28, 2017

Went in mid june and snow melt made the river crossings pretty sketchy. Got caught in a hail storm at 10k ft. But besides that and the blown over trees on the trail was amazing and im looking forward to another shot at the summit!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The trail wasn't bad however not well kept. Only made it about half way as the trail is totally covered by downed trees making it impossible to continue further.

hiking
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

the view from the parking lot at the base of the Wilderness is absolutely fantastic! There are rarely more than two to four cars in the parking lot here and we have yet to encounter others once we left the parking lot. This Trail is 24 miles off of the pavement, so most people don't have the fortitude to make it up this far! This Trail is the trail to the right from the parking lot. It goes around the back of greenhorn Peak and does not offer as spectacular views as the trail that goes to the left from the parking lot. We only went a little bit past greenhorn mountain peak and stopped as the Trail began to descend into the forest. I would agree with what the other woman wrote, this Trail has not been maintained in a very long time and has a great deal of down timber across the trail.

hiking
Monday, July 03, 2017

This trail is ok for the first couple of miles. Avalanche crossing is a bit sketchy.
trees down everywhere.
River crossing is scary.
the rest of the trail is in the creek which is deep & easy to lose trail. if you don't mind bush whacking you will be scratched up. lots of ticks. it's a long trail. no maintenance in years I would guess.

hiking
Friday, June 16, 2017

Didn't complete the trail, made it to the gnarly cascade and crossed, following cairins and finding the san isabel national forest sign and a trail that literally turned into a creek 20 yards later and was overgrown, turned back and camped by the cascades, still a great spot in the canyon.

Also, there are a handful of blowdowns, sketchy creek crossings, and as of the day we went, a moderate rock slide that obscures the trail about 3 miles up the canyon, creating moderate exposure...this trail needs work.

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

Great trail. Due to run off, water crossing was challenging. Start early, this is a long trail of you plan to go the full distance.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

This is a fun trail but heads up that the water is high and water crossings are a no go if you are carrying a little one. Normally it would be okay, but with all the rain and run off makes it unsafe if you have a kiddo on your back. You can still do over a mile but the trail will have to wait until later in the summer when crossings are easier. Completely fine for individuals without kids. Lots of downed trees right now.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Needs a lot of work.

hiking
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This trail has it all. Most of the trail is shaded which was good on a warm fall day. A small water fall is approximately 4 miles up the trail. It is 6.63 miles to the summit. Awesome views throughout the hike. If you plan on reaching the summit get an early start. I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Loved this hike! Brought my brother from California and he had no problem with the altitude. Would love to do it again in the fall. We were the only folks on the trail!

hiking
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I hiked up from Lower Greenhorn trail marker 5 miles before lightening & thunder turned me back.
a great hike...easy to lose the trail at the river crossings but rock signs will show you if u look for them.
I will definitely be trying to summit again soon.
this was my 1st scouting expedition on July 24, 2016.

hiking
Thursday, August 07, 2014

August 2 2013
Started at the trail Head near RYE CO. Trail solid until you hit a section the has been washed out from the flood of June 2013. The force that came down moved the river causing the trail to end in at least 3 spots. Got off trail more than once but keep to a 90 degree crossing the river and you'll find it again. Once too the rock slid on the north side of the canyon the trail is washed out again go straight across the river. It was high last week you need to pick a safe spot, look for rock piles to lead your way. Steady up hill to the avalanche areas which you traverse like 4 times until you hit timberline. Your close at this point. Trail is a solid 9 or 10 miles one way well worth it. A few good camp spots along the way or have someone pick you up on the east side trail head at the end of HWY 369.. GREAT HIKE

hiking
Thursday, February 07, 2013

Starting out of Rye at around 6 in the morning with a great deal of overcast. With a gradual gain in elevation for the first 2 miles trees crowd the trail before it drops down to the creek a few miles in. This is when you start to break from tree cover and start attacking the switch backs on the southeast side of the ridge. You then come to what is known as the rock slides, capturing great views of the rest of the trail. The rock slide is short but very sweet that is for sure. You then drop down to the creek again and begin the final accent towards the top. It is the hardest few miles of the trail as you will experience the most elevation change. Switch backs and trees is something that should be expected for these last few miles. After repeating the switch backs a few hours later you will come upon a avalanche shoot where trees have been downed everywhere. You can see the top and the rest is history as you are within thirty minutes from the top. Enjoy the hike and respect the beauty of this amazing trail and hike!

hiking
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Made it to the top from the west side (Ophir Creek) which is a short 4 miles or so. Have only made it to tree line from the east side (Rye, CO) along Greenhorn Creek. The east hike is more challenging because of the distance which is about 11 miles one way. This is a very pleasant hike in that it is mostly covered by forest until you get to treeline. Cell coverage is spotty. Watch for lightning.

recorded Track - Jul 21, 12:06 PM

hiking
29 days ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Load More