Horn Creek

Westcliffe, Colorado 81252

Horn Creek

Horn Creek Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A good trail to a large, open upper valley with access to Little Horn Peak, Mount Adams, and Little Baldy. Hike west to the Rainbow Trail (1336); turn left (south) and hike for 0.3 mile to the Horn Creek Trail (1342). Turn right and follow the trail as it climbs up the valley, far to the right (north) of the creek.

Hike through aspens up the trail, which gets steeper as it enters evergreen forest and crosses over the creek to the left (south) side and up into the upper Horn Creek valley. The trail crosses back to the right (north) side of the creek just before reaching the lowest lakes. Continue southwest on an obvious trail as it climbs into the upper valley."

Horn Creek Trip Reports

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I think the trail guide is a little out of date as the Forest Service has been making some improvements in the area. I followed Horn Road to the very end where there is a circle parking area with a restroom. I started the hike by heading up the trail to the junction of the Rainbow Trail. Once there, I turned right following the sign to Horn Creek Trail. The trail is only about 100-150 yards north on the Rainbow Trail. I was expecting to get my feet wet on the creek crossings, but I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the first crossing to find a two log crossing. The second crossing was merely stepping on stones placed in the creek. Once I started breaking out of the trees, I began looking across the bowl for the lower lakes but didn’t spot them until I was a bit above them (see photo). They are small, surrounded by brush and more of a series of big elk wallows than lakes. I continue on up the trail to find the upper lake before spotting it from a large rock shelf north of the lake. Once again, I was disappointed with the quality of the lake. It either didn’t have much water in it or is continuing its death cycle by filling with sediment and vegetation. The bowl itself is nice, but not breathtaking. In any case, it was a fine day for a hike in the mountains!

Horn Creek Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
2,800 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike or backpack
Best July to October
9,100 feet
Trailhead Elevation
11,900 feet
Top Elevation
Rio Grande National Forest, San Isabel National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Horn Peak
Local Maps

Trail Log