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Mt. Holy Cross and Halo Ridge Loop

Difficult
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Strenuous but rewarding loop packed with 360 views! A worthwhile extension to a fine 14er, adding three 13ers!


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Map Key

13.7

Miles

22.0

KM

Point to Point

13,860' 4,225 m

High

10,335' 3,150 m

Low

5,275' 1,608 m

Up

5,305' 1,617 m

Down

15%

Avg Grade (8°)

73%

Max Grade (36°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Lake · Views

Overview

Maximize your time above tree level and enjoy stunning views of the mountain ranges in the area.

This is a strenuous and long route, so ensure you have sufficient water, food, good weather and are acclimatized given the length of time at altitude.

Need to Know

Recommend starting early, even before sunrise to avoid getting caught in afternoon thunderstorms.
Trailhead is about 45mins up a gravel road from Minturn, slow going but doable in a standard 2WD.
Dispersed camping is available along Tigiwon road, up to about half a mile before the Trailhead should you wish to get an early start.

Bring sufficient water. There are no water sources above treeline, which is most of this hike.

Description

The first 1.5 miles is a moderate hike up and over Half Moon Pass. You'll see Notch Mountain as you ascend to the crest at Half Moon Pass.

In the next 1.5 miles, start descending from the pass and unfortunately you'll lose most of the elevation you gained. Soak in the views of a stunning mountain range on your right, and Mt. of the Holy Cross will soon come into sight ahead.

The next section is a 2 mile ascent of Mt of the Holy Cross, where you'll gain over 3000 feet in around 2 miles. This section is rocky and challenging, but also a fun scramble as you get closer to the summit.

From the summit of Mt of the Holy Cross, you can survey the Halo Ridge you'll traverse. After taking in the 360 views from the summit, retrace your steps downward but veer slightly to the left towards the Halo Ridge.

Start ascending the first of the 13ers. The terrain is rocky, and there is no obvious trail, but as long as you keep your eyes on the summit, route finding will be fine.

Descend the first 13er, heading towards the next. Views of the mountain range and lake on the right are stunning from the middle peak.

The descent from the middle 13er is very steep and requires caution. There is no clear path, but keep heading towards the next peak, picking a route which minimizes elevation loss while limiting exposure. This section can take some time depending on your level of comfort with descents on rocky terrain and your route-finding abilities.

As you summit and descend the final 13er, you'll approach a stone hut. You'll also be able to view the distinctive cross on Mt of the Holy Cross as you approach the hut.

From here, it is a gradual downhill trek back to the parking lot, via the Notch Mountain Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Mountain goat, Marmots, Chipmunks can be spotted along the trail.

Shared By:

Amanda Tan

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1677

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#282

in Colorado

#1,677

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7 Views Last Month
111 Since Sep 4, 2022
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Photos

From the summit of Holy Cross, looking southwest I believe
Jul 28, 2017 near Minturn, CO
View from Halo Ridge.
Sep 4, 2022 near Minturn, CO
Views of Mount of the Holy Cross don't get much better than this.
Aug 6, 2017 near Minturn, CO
Early August wildflowers are spectacular here.
Aug 6, 2017 near Minturn, CO
From the summit of Holy Cross, looking down to the Bowl of Tears
Jul 28, 2017 near Minturn, CO
The wonderful views from each of the many, many switchbacks keep your mind off the climb!
Aug 6, 2017 near Minturn, CO

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