Saturday afternoon we headed up into the mountains with a few friends for a camping and hiking adventure. We decided that we wanted to hike to the top of Huron Peak, another of Colorado’s famous mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation. This peak is a bit further from Denver than Mt. Bierstadt (the first 14er Kim and I just hiked), so camping near the trail the night before would allow us to get a good sleep and still start the hike early enough to avoid afternoon storms.
After driving I-70 to Copper, and going through Leadville, we turned off US-24 at the Clear Creek Reservoir, and followed the road up Clear Creek a number of miles to find a great campsite right on the river. We setup our tents, built a fire, cooked some dinner, had a few drinks, and were off to bed for a good night of sleep. The rushing river silenced any traffic from the nearby road, and despite it being in the 30s overnight, we all sleep relatively well.
We were all up and getting ready by 9am the next day. We decided that the weather forecast was great so we didn’t need to get a super early start on the hike. Before long we all piled into one car and drove up the road toward the trailhead. This drive was over a 4WD road, and after a couple of scrapes on rocks, we ditched the car and finished the trip to the trailhead on foot. This added just over a mile each way to our already five and a half mile hike, according to online sources.
Once at the trailhead, the hike immediately started gaining elevation through a series of switchbacks. These continued all the way up to the treeline. Eventually there was a nice flat wildflower meadow that provided some relief from the strenuous climbing. Here we saw our second critter of the day, a coyote. I wish I was fast enough with my camera to get a picture, but he was sprinting across the meadow so fast. Earlier, at the trailhead, we spotted a deer, and later in the hike were tons of pikas and marmots.
After the meadow, the trail again picked up some serious elevation once the actual mountain peak was in view. Again it was a very tiring hike, but the views were amazing along the way. Once we finally hit the scree field, we noticed a storm was quickly moving in. Not only were the clouds getting dark, but it was actually snowing on us! We heard a loud bang of thunder just as we approached the summit. We were too close to turn back and made the final push to the summit. Obviously we didn’t stay there long at all, and after a few minutes we were on our way back down.
Again I used my iPhone to track the hike. According to it we did nearly nine miles round-trip, which puts it slightly longer than the route description I linked to earlier. I figured we did about three miles round-trip to the trailhead, making the actual hike closer to six miles. Originally we estimated the hike to be about four hours, but with the additional length it took us closer to five hours. Pictures from our adventure are below.