Peak(s):  Huron Peak  -  14,003 feet
Browns Pk  -  13,523 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2009
Date Climbed:   09/12/2009
Author:  JeffR
 Halfway to solitude  

The north ridge route to Huron is a good alternative to the standard route. It throws in some tundra hiking and a bit of scrambling on the gentle ridge. Haters of road-hiking may be put off by the amount of off-road, but I appreciated the quiet of the route (the road on the ascent doesn't seem to get much/any traffic).

I parked off the 390 road at the turnoff about 3/4-mile up on the left, across from a direction sign. Perfect timing - I wasn't sure how much farther my 2WD pickup could get up the road (and I was a little embarrassed when I subsequently saw a minivan coming down the road).


The route can't get much more obvious at this point - the road zig-zags up Lulu Gulch beside a creek. The main road continues left past a side road at 11400', and crosses the creek at about 11700'.

Looking off toward Hope Mountain.

Nice view back across Clear Creek Canyon to La Plata Peak. Looks like fall is here!

At about 11900', where the road takes a hard turn to the north, I headed SE across talus. (The road continues switchbacking up to a subpeak of Middle Mountain.) Brown's Peak is directly ahead at this point. Most of the slope up to the ridge is sloppy rock, but there's a nice patch of tundra that avoids most of that and leads to the saddle north of the summit.


The ridge up to the summit of Brown's is an easy tundra/talus mix.

Summit view of Huron and the ridge leading to it.

The ridge walk is easy/moderate scrambling. There are faint trail segments here and there, but it was easier to just eyeball the best route to take. I could've contoured around most of the bumps, but it didn't take much extra work to just go over most of them (although I bypassed Pt. 13513 easily on the west side).

Looking back at the ridge from just past Pt. 13513.

From here, it's just a matter of following the ridge until the standard trail joins it at about 13500' and quickly gains the summit.

Belford, Missouri and Harvard across the gulch.

The Three Apostles sit and brood.

I chilled on the summit for 15 minutes, then headed down the standard route (where I finally made my first human contact of the day 20 minutes later - not bad for a "popular" 14er!). As advertised, this trail is in great condition with plenty of rock steps and switchbacks. So with the great weather, this was a memorable hike with a peaceful ascent one gulch north of the hubbub.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
emcee smith

09/14/2009 22:30
We did this route last year later in September. It is interesting to compare the aspens and the snow (there was a dusting last year) from your pics.

I like how uncrowded this route is; most of the Huron summiteers were off by the time we got there; we didn‘t see anybody until heading down below tree line.


route less traveled
09/15/2009 04:52
I have done this route twice, and agree that it‘s a nice alternative.
Plus, if you‘ve never hiked Huron before and you go this route, the final steps to the summit are so rewarding when you get your first look at the Apostles! That‘s what happened to me!

Nice TR and thanks for sharing.

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