For the first time, Troy’s Terrific Trails took on a fourteener. KREX sports director Troy Lynch and former KREX news anchor Brandon Thompson set out to Minturn, CO to hike one of the most popular fourteeners in Colorado, Mt. of the Holy Cross.
Mt. of the Holy Cross is one of the 58 fourteeners in Colorado, and is the highest peak in Eagle County standing at 14,005 feet.
This hike can be done at any time of the year, but is the safest during the summer. It’s 12 miles round trip with over 5,600 feet of climbing so it is one of the harder 14ers in the state.
From Grand Junction it’s a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead.
Location: Halfmoon Campground, FSR 707, Minturn, CO (NOT Twin Peaks!)
Where to start/Camping:
You start at the Half Moon trailhead where there is a parking lot and a few camp sites so you can spend the night. If you want you can do some hiking and camp on the trail. You have to run the risk of strangers camping with you if all the sites are full.
The hike takes roughly 8-10 hours, and most hikers start early in the morning to also avoid thunder storms later in the day.
The trail starts with about 1,000 foot incline, then a 1,000 foot decline. After that it’s all uphill until you reach the summit.
There are multiple ways to climb Mt. of the Holy Cross, but Troy and Brandon took the Class 2 route, which is regarded as the safest route that everyone else seemed to be taking.
This trail is dog friendly, even though they must be kept on a leash. Some of the dogs on the trail had backpacks so they could carry some of the load.
However, if your dog is not physically prepared for the hike then we don’t recommend taking them because it is strenuous.
Within the last 1,000 feet to the summit there is a boulder scrambling portion which some owners didn’t want to take their dog up because it was too dangerous. So bring you dog at your own risk.
What to Bring:
- Layers – You will get hot, but the higher you go up, the colder it will get. Be prepared to bring shorts, pants, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, rain jacket, etc.
- Plenty of Food – Eat a little something before the hike (fruit, protein bar for example). Pack a full lunch for when you reach the summit. You will be hungry. Troy and Brandon brought deli sandwiches and trail mix.
- Fluids – Water is the most important, before, during and after the hike. The day before make sure you drink more than enough water so you can prepare yourself of the thin air. Also, bring a Gatorade/Powerade so you have electrolytes just in case altitude sickness hits you.
- A Capable Body – You want to be in good shape before you do this hike or else you might be miserable the whole time. Go on some easier hikes at a high altitude the weeks prior so your body is used to the elevation. Also, it’s over A MILE of climbing. If you’re not in shape don’t do it.
- Camping Gear – Tent, sleeping bag, stuff to start a fire, bear proof containers (if you camp with food), etc.
- Bug Spray & Sunscreen – Pretty self explanatory.
- A Car that Can Drive on Dirt – Once you get off the US 24 there is a five mile drive uphill on a dirt road. Probably not the best for a Prius or cars of that nature.
Click HERE for additional information on Mt. of the Holy Cross.
Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. Troy Lynch, Brandon Thompson, and KREX 5 News provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indenify and hold harmless Troy Lynch, Brandon Thompson, KREX 5 News with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses.