Three Elk Trail #1445
ElevationAscent: 2,012' 613 m
Descent: -50' -15 m
High: 11,264' 3,433 m
Low: 9,296' 2,833 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)
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“Leads up to a high cirque valley above treeline with amazing views of the Arkansas River Valley and Mt. Columbia.”— Tom Mosher
This trail can be used as an alternate route to summit Mt. Columbia via the SE ridge by turning right on the Colorado Trail (CT) intersected at 1.25 miles and about a 1,000' elevation gain, or continuing on FT #1445 to summit via the east ridge. There are a few camping sites near this junction. Descriptions can be found in Gerry Roach's "Colorado Fourteeners" 3rd edition.
A short side trip to the picturesque Harvard Lakes can be done by turning left (south) on the CT. Several spots to camp can be found around the south lake.
Returning to FT #1445 and continuing NW on #1445 leads up into a high cirque valley above treeline with amazing views of the Arkansas River Valley, Mt. Columbia and surrounding mountains. After the first creek crossing past the CT, the trail begins to climb more steeply and becomes vague and disappears all together at points. Good route finding skills are needed to continue to the trails end, but the rewards are worth the effort. The entire elevation gain to the end of the trail from the TH is around 2,100'.
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