I left Denver on Friday afternoon about 3:15 pm and drove down to the Horn Creek Trailhead, 10 miles southwest of Westcliffe. Google Maps calls this a 3 hour drive. It took me about 4-1/2 hours, the largest delay being an accident on I-25 (GRRRR!!!), and then lots of traffic in Colorado Springs due to flash-flooding, and then a storm in Westcliffe that left an inch of hail pellets on the roads. Good grief.
Horn Creek Trailhead is a large traffic circle, with lots of spots for parking, and permanent restroom facilities.
I awoke Saturday morning at 5:10 am, and was on the trail by 5:45 am. Look for the sign at the 1/2 mile point that indicates one should make a right for the Horn Creek trail, and then 100 yards further, a sign that indicates one should make a left for "Horn Cr. Lakes", 5 miles.
The trail is a bit harder to follow as one nears the largest of the Horn Lakes, as it's overgrown with plant-life. I got there about 8:30 am, and took about a 20-minute break. Look to the northwest at the next 1400' of rise, up a steep grassy slope, and choose your path. I aimed to avoid the willows, and stayed on the grass as much as possible, as I found the climbing easier than on the unstable rocks. There is no trail, no cairns, that I could see. I got into a sort-of easy rhythm with my steps and breathing, trying to avoid stops, and reached the 13,200' saddle a few minutes after 10 am. The forecast yesterday had been for a 60% chance of showers today, mainly after 3 pm. The skies were currently clear, so after another short break, I was off to the summit. I stayed as much as possible to the ridge, only occasionally venturing left or right of the ridge when confronted with something that looked too much like "climbing". Again, no cairns to guide you. It required a bit of up and down rock scrambling, but I finally summited at about 11:15 am. I took in the views for a bit - the Crestones are magnificent - signed the register and had a bit of food. But the clouds were starting to roll in a bit now, so I didn't tarry long. I was back at the saddle about 12:30 pm, back at the lake about 1:30 pm, and back at the trailhead about 4:10 pm - and not a drop of rain all day.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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