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Mount of the Holy Cross

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One of Colorados most famous yet secluded peaks
Near:Minturn, CO
Distance:12.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:6000 ft
Hike Time:8 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: The trailhead is at the Southwest end of the parking lot. Sign in before beginning your hike at the register. Follow the obvious trail over Halfmoon pass. The first mountains that can be seen from the pass are not a part of Holy Cross, Holy Cross will come into sight after the trail starts to turn south. Descend into the Holy Cross valley and cross East Cross Creek. The trail with then head to the ridge of Holy Cross and will follow that the rest of the way to the summit. After reaching Holy Cross and taking some pictures continue south along the ridgeline to the next summit. This is point 13,831 and is also one of Colorado's 100 tallest peaks. On the return trip skirt along the West side of Holy Cross's summit to return to the trail on the ridge and head back the way you came.
Trailhead: From I-70 take exit 171 into the town of Minturn on Highway 24. 5 miles after exiting I-70 there will be a sign on the right for Tigiwon Road. (The turn is just before a couple of large switchbacks on highway 24) Follow this road to the very end for the trailhead. This road is rough, but most any passenger car can make it. Just take your time. (Lat:39.5005 Lon:-106.43304)
Trail Guides for Mount of the Holy Cross:
Colorados Fourteeners
by Gerry Roach (Fulcrum Publishing)

Best Seasons: Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Holy Cross Ranger District 970-827-5715
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joshua Friesema, who has posted  97 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by Randal on 8/28/2015
This is my second try on a 14er. My first one was castle peak. I didn't finish it because the last 1/4 mile was on a super sketch ridge. Call me a pansie but I like to get home in one piece. Holy cross how ever is very well maintained by CFI. They were even up there while I was hiking. So I recommend this trail to anyone. One catch though, it is a long one. If you are a beginner or not use to the elevation you should consider backpacking into the campground at East Cross Creek. I just did it in one day and boy am I tired. If you do camp there please be considerate and follow the rules. Don't be the person that ruins it for everyone.

Reviewed by Kim on 8/4/2010
Hopefully, I will soon finish writing my next book on Holy Cross Wilderness Area. Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado was published in 2006. Mount of the Holy Cross is best viewed from the summit of Notch Mountain, which is found by taking Fall Creek Trail south from Half Moon Campground. However, take the junction west from Half Moon Campground to reach Mount of the Holy Cross over Half Moon Pass. The trail descends a few thousand feet before ascending to the summit. Above tree-line, follow the boulder ridge line south to about 13,800 feet, then climb east to summit. Many hikers return straight west down the boulder field and call for rescue. Instead, remember to turn north after a couple hundred feet of descent to avoid being lost.

Reviewed by B. F. on 7/26/2007
A very challenging hike. We only had 36 hours to acclimate ourselves to the altitude before making the climb. It took us 12 hours to go round trip, the last section of hike, climbing back up Half Moon pass, was brutal but we all made it in one piece. The scenery was beautiful, weather challenging,(snowing much of the time past 13,000), but was worth the effort. Our group made the climb on 09/12/06. A group of four, all over the age of 50. I'd do it again.

Reviewed by MGH on 6/12/2007
4 Adults & 9, 7th & 8th graders from St. Louis, Mo. Started at Notch mountain at midnight. Chased off summit by lightning. Almost made it.Returned to base camp 7 pm. WOW! It was tough for us but well worth the effort. First trip. Would love to do it again sometime. Real sense of accomplishment. Will never forget.

Reviewed by Bart on 8/14/2006
Started on the Cross Creek Trail around Reed's Meadow with younger brother at 7am. The Cross Creek and Half-Moon trails run parallel about 2000 feet apart. There is no trail between them. Navigated the 2000 feet climb with a topo map and compass and found the Half-Moon trail around 1pm. Because of rain, lightning and sleet, we didn't summit until 4pm, but were able to get down to our campsite by ~8pm. This is a tough way to do it considering you start around 9000 ft. and climb to 14,000. I would recommend a GPS for the off-trail portion.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Colorado Hiking, Colorado Trails, Colorado Hikes, Eagle County Hiking, Eagle County Trails, Eagle County Hikes

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