Mount Huron
excerpts from the book
Incredible Backcountry Trails 
by David Day

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Incredible Backcountry Trails
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    Distance: 6.2 miles (round trip)

    Walking time: 5 1/4 hours

    : 3,440 ft. gain/loss
       Mount Huron Trailhead (start): 10,565 ft.
       Mount Huron: 14,003 ft.

    Trail: Generally well maintained and easy to follow.

    Season: Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from mid-November through early July.

    Vicinity: Near Leadville

    Mount HuronMount Huron


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    Mount Huron lies 0.6 mile north of the Continental Divide, at the top of a long ridge that includes Brown's Peak (13,523 ft.). It is best known for its terrific views of the Three Apostles, three well known thirteeners that lie directly south of Huron on the Continental Divide. Ice Mountain, the middle Apostle, is just 52 feet lower than Mount Huron, and has the reputation among peak baggers of being one of the most treacherous of the high thirteeners. Mount Huron also provides an interesting perspective of Ann Lake (page 203), a high hanging lake that lies just below the northwest side of the Three Apostles.

    There are also several notable points of historic interest along the road to the trailhead. History buffs will certainly want to stop and spend some time at the old Vicksburg and Winfield mining settlements. These towns were alive with activity in the 1880s when there was an explosion of mining activity in Clear Creek Valley north and west of Huron Peak. There were at least a half-dozen towns in the area, but Winfield and Vicksburg are the best preserved. Neither town prospered for more than a few years, but in their heyday they both had hotels, schools, post offices, and, of course, saloons. Winfield was the largest, with a peak population of about 1,500 people. 1.7 miles beyond Winfield, or 0.4 miles before the trailhead the road passes the remains of the old Baker Mine. Baker Mine was one of the area’s major mines in the 1880s, and there are still a lot of fallen buildings and mining artifacts scattered nearby.

    A good plan is to spend some time checking out these remnants of Colorado’s colorful past, and then camp at the trailhead the night before you climb Mount Huron. You will find a beautiful place to camp beside Clear Creek, just next to the parking area at the end of the road.

    Upon leaving the trailhead the Mount Huron Trail begins a gradual climb up the eastern side of Clear Creek Valley. After 0.4 mile the grade increases somewhat, then begins a long series of short switchbacks as it climbs up the slope in an easterly direction. The trail is in excellent condition, not rocky and not particularly steep, and it is shaded by a thick forest of spruce and subalpine fir.

    Finally, after an elevation gain of 1,300 ft. the trail suddenly breaks out of the trees for a marvelous view of the Three Apostles. As you approach timberline the grade becomes gentler and the trail turns to the northeast, entering an amazingly flat bench of alpine tundra below the ridge that separates Browns Peak from Mount Huron. If you are there in early August you will find this bench covered by a panoply of wildflowers. The luxury of a level path through the alpine garden lasts only briefly, however. Within 0.3 mile the trail comes to the eastern side of the basin and begins climbing again through long a series of switchbacks toward the summit ridge.

    Another 1,200 feet of elevation gain will bring you to the top of the long ridge connecting Browns Peak to Mount Huron. Browns Peak lies 1.8 miles north of Mount Huron along the crest of the ridge only 130 feet higher than the ridge’s lowest point. Many hikers choose to climb Browns Peak on the way down from Huron.

    The trail intersects the ridge 500 feet below the top of Mount Huron and turns south for the final knee-busting assent to the summit. Like most fourteeners, the summit of Huron is covered by jagged boulders and loose scree that make the last few hundred yards of the assent the most difficult. In this case, however, these obstacles are not really daunting. The trail continues to be quite recognizable nearly all the way to the top. Once on the summit of Huron you can enjoy a great panoramic view, not only of the Three Apostles and the Continental Divide, but also of Colorado’s rugged Sawatch Mountains. This range contains 15 of Colorado’s 55 celebrated fourteeners, and at least 6 of them are visible from Huron.

    The book includes more text, more photographs, and trail maps.

    If you are interested in a supplemental map of the Mount Huron Trail
    we recommend:
    Buena Vista - Collegiate Peaks  (Trails Illustrated, map #129)

    Click here for DISCOUNTED MAP ORDERS

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