Horseshoe Mountain Route Guide | An Easy Centennial 13er
When you first see Horseshoe Mountain, you immediately understand how it got its name. The eastern face of the peak is dominated by a massive glacial cirque cut by ice over thousands of years. The similarity to a great horseshoe is impossible to miss. Despite the massive cliffs, the main route is an easy Class 1 hike to the top on a 4WD for much of the way. This provides a very gradual slope most of the way up to the summit. Plan your trip up to the top with this Horseshoe Mountain Route Guide.
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Horseshoe Mountain Fast Facts
Horseshoe Mountain Route Guide - East Slopes
Park at the bottom of the 4WD where it leave the main road up towards Mt. Sherman. You can also continue a half mile up the road and park there at a small lot. Continue up the road along a series of switchbacks, aiming for the ridge to the right of the horseshoe.
The 4WD road you take along the East Slopes are historic mining roads, used to reach silver veins in the late 19th century. You’ll pass several historic mining structures as you continue up the road. Be cautious and stick to the trail as these structures are often unstable and dangerous.
Eventually you’ll reach the saddle at the top of the East Slopes. This is a good place to stop for a water break and to check the weather. If you think the conditions are deteriorating head down, otherwise take a left to head south towards the summit.
Follow the ridge up towards the summit of Horseshoe Mountain. If hiking in the spring or early summer there may be snow and cornices. Avoid these as the ice and snow may break without warning, taking you with it. Hike to the highest point along the ridge, the broad summit.
Once you reach the top, celebrate your accomplishment. A summit beer and a sandwich are great options. Ensure you head back to treeline in time to reach it before afternoon thunderstorms become active in the summer. I hope you found my Horseshoe Mountain Route Guide helpful and informative.
Alex Derr, Creator of The Next Summit
Alex is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.