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Mt. Harvard



1.4 mile 2.2 kilometer point to point
38% Runnable


Ascent: 1,963' 598 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 14,346' 4,373 m
Low: 12,382' 3,774 m


Avg Grade: 27% (15°)
Max Grade: 67% (34°)


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Trail shared by Tyler Prince

The final stretch of trail from Horn Fork Basin to Mt. Harvard.

Tyler Prince

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The Cottonwood Creek Trailhead is generally closed for winter several miles below the start of the Horn Fork Basin Trail.

Though the land manager requests all dogs be leashed, you'll likely see n number of dogs with a ratio of leashed dogs to unleashed 0:n.

Runner Notes

Once above Horn Fork Basin, the trail gets steeper and rockier. That said, switchbacks and some easy segments make this worth attempting for ambitious runners.


From the turnoff at the end of Horn Fork Basin, continue up excellent trail at 12,600 ft. It's only about 1.5 miles to the summit. Run along moderate grades through some small boulder fields before coming to a rock band around 13,100 ft. From here, things get steep. Switchback on a clear trail composed almost entirely of talus before being spat back out onto dirt trail. Continue switchbacks until hitting a summit ride around 14,100 ft. Angle to the right, running up some switchbacks, again, until you reach the summit block at around 14,380 ft. From here, it's a fun class 2+ scramble to the summit of Mt. Harvard.

Turn around and go home, or continue backwards along the traverse to complete the featured run: Harvard and Columbia in reverse.

Flora & Fauna

From trees and wildflowers to marmots and pika, this trail's got it all. For some reason, the mountain goats up high are particularly sodium-deprived, to the point where they will follow you around just waiting for you to relieve yourself. The USFS has actually gone so far as to suggest runners urinate on solid rock instead of dirt trail, thus discouraging these odd creatures from literally eating dirt.

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Aug 25, 2018
Jacob D.

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes


  4.7 from 3 votes
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in Colorado


14 Views Last Month
2,037 Since Mar 6, 2015



Excellent views of Princeton, Yale, and Bear Lake from Harvard's summit. Much of the trail is visible in the lower left
Oct 2, 2017 near Buena V…, CO
A couple hundred feet below the summit of Mt. Harvard.
Mar 12, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
Mt. Yale dominates the view to the south.
Oct 2, 2017 near Buena V…, CO


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