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Mount of the Holy Cross Loop is a 13.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Minturn, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from May until September.

Length 13.2 mi Elevation gain 5,347 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (21)
Photos (544)
Recordings (12)
Completed (67)
Cody Li
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRockyScramble

Took the loop counterclockwise because I was too lazy to try to gain that 1000 feet at the very end of the hike. Not sure if I made the right call on that one though. Coming up was very tough and felt extremely vertical/steep after crossing the creek. Made it up to the "saddle" area and the rest seemed to be the hardest part (spoiler alert, it was all mental). Took five hours to get from the parking lot to the summit. Views are breathtaking; never seen anything more beautiful. 100% worth the struggle and highly recommend it if you're capable. Assessed the weather going down and saw some rain clouds far to the west. Yes, I did check the forecast and it called for no rain on Holy Cross. Figured I'd be safe taking Halo Ridge. Ascended the first 13er on the route and the rain clouds seemed to be moving southeast. After that point, there is no turning back. Though going down the way I came up would've been less exposed to the weather and provide tree coverage sooner, I decided to continue forth. Sad to say I didn't enjoy the scramble as much as I should have due to me racing against the weather. Miraculously, it rained entirely around Holy Cross, but never got to the mountain itself. I thought I was going to get caught in a thunderstorm but I made it safely back to the car. A few notes: the shelter is not locked. At the door looking to the frame on the left, it says to use the rod to open the latch. You simply stick it in the lock and lift the latch up. Took me way too long to figure that one out. Also, bring extra water. I took my normal amount, by the steep uphill climb almost all the way up dried me up real quick.

Tim Sliva
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingGreat!Off trailRockyScramble
View Tim's Recording
becca mdphd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Clockwise 7/29. Started at 430am and back at 345 pm. This trail is a commitment. Lots and lots of scrambling, but nothing harder than class 2. Don’t underestimate your time on the ridge- read through 14ers.com. Water and sunscreen! It took us 4hr to get to the Notch shelter- so cool! To open the door, use the pin to “pick” the latch. Took us another 4 hours to summit Holy Cross. A mountain goat followed us from PT 13831 to the false summit of Holy Cross. Seemed a little aggressive at times, other times curious. It ended up not bothering us, but there were moments we wondered if we were about to get rammed. If you see people feeding the animals- say something! We don’t want them used to people and expecting handouts. A note on weather- I checked multiple times, multiple sites. High peaks forecast for Holy Cross stated 7% was the top chance for precipitation. By the time we summited a little after noon, dark clouds were rolling in. We were rained on, thunderstorm, sleet and hail as we made our way via the standard route to the car. I know it’s tempting to take standard up and the ridge down, but weather is super unpredictable so plan accordingly. We were happy not to be on the ridge in the pm. The bottom line is- if you have done the standard route and want a new approach- this is a really cool route w amazing views and adventure. Start early!

Kiley Ob
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

Love this trail! Like other reviewers, would recommend doing this loop clockwise (starting at Fall Creek TH and exiting at Half Moon TH -- both connecting to the same parking lot). Particularly enjoyed the meadows and wildflowers, which are rampant right now. Plenty of fun boulder hopping opportunities, too. I agree with other reviewers that this loop is longer than 13mi. I logged around 15.5mi. Could be my watch isn't super accurate or I meandered through the boulder fields, though I didn't seem to deviate much. I hike a fair amount of mountains and would guess the route is more like 15mi. Started 5:40am and got back to the car at 3pm. Spent around 40mins stopped, so between 8 1/2 - 9 hrs moving time. I'm no trail runner, but am on the quicker side. Reached the summit right around noon. Felt a few raindrops and didn't spend much time there. Luckily no thunder until a few minutes before I reached the parking lot. Next time I would get an earlier start -- maybe 4:30 or so. If you choose the loop over the standard route, be prepared to spend a long time moving through boulder fields through the Halo Ridge 13ers area. I love it, but recognize it might not be for everyone. You'll spend a substantial amount of time above treeline, so take any possible weather into account -- wouldn't be my first choice of place to get stuck in a storm. A bonus? You can only see the 'holy cross' if you take the loop, as it's on the side of the mountain. You miss that side from the standard route. For those of you with dogs, I'd consider taking mine up and back the standard route, but am very glad I left him at home for the loop. Halo Ridge would have been impossible at worst, and terrible on his paws at best. There are some bigger boulders the last leg to the summit from the standard route, but I saw a couple dogs navigating them just fine.

Maddie Labor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
HikingNo shadeScramble

Beautiful. Challenging. Definitely want some technical skills before attempting. I would consider myself to be an experienced hiker, but this trail was very difficult for me, mostly along Halo Ridge. Bring lots of water! The 3 miles or so of boulder fields will take it out of you. HOWEVER, this hike is so worth every ounce of effort you put in. The trail that starts at the hut was the most beautiful sighting of the day after 5 hours of bouldering. Totally doable and rewarding.

Devin Cann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble
View Devin's Recording
Ben Van Norstrand
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Completed 7/4/20. Very fun yet very hard fourteener hike. The loop back down the south side up until a shack on the ridge is not a trail for a while—a scramble for about 2.6 miles after the Holy Cross summit (not to mention scrambling up to the Holy Cross summit starts just after tree line). We stayed in the campsite at the bottom of the valley forcing us to carry our large packs in the long scramble. It’s very doable and worth it for the views—just incredibly hard. Once you get to the shack, the trail becomes defined and gentle and hooks up with Fall Creek trail back to the parking lot. It was great for rest after scrambling for 6 hours. We started from the bottom of the valley at 4:15am and got back to the parking lot at 2:50pm. Be sure to get below tree line before the storms roll in!

Tom Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2020
HikingIcyRockyScrambleSnow

Challenging but a more forgiving and doable 14,000er

Dave S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 10, 2019
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

The halo ridge is tough! Took me a little more than 2 hours to get to the hut at Not h peak, then 5 from there to the summit of holy cross. I’m not the strongest scrambler and I live at sea level and that ridge had me moving slow and sucking wind. Descent took about five hours, my ankles (weak already) were trashed from the scrambling on halo, and the descent through endless rocks was slow. Great hike, I bit off a little too much but it was worth it. Great views.

Brenan Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2019
HikingBugsNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

As the description states, this trail is not for everyone. You will need some technical skills to navigate the row of 13ers along Halo Ridge. In addition to that, there are little to no cairns to guide you. A map is definitely recommended. The road leading up to the trailhead is not very intimidating. Plenty of sedans parked without a problem. The main Mt. of the Holy Cross trail is beautiful and well kempt. Lots of panoramic landscape and wildlife viewing opportunities. (Saw a huge moose, some mountain goats, and heard a pack of wolves from afar.) I started at 5:30, so there was about a half hour of headlamp hiking in the woods. I traveled counter-clockwise, and would strongly recommend to do the opposite if you're doing the loop.

View Brenan's Recording
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