Mount Columbia, with an elevation of 14,073 feet, is ranked 35th among Colorado's Fourteeners. This peak in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is often climbed with Mount Harvard from Horn Fork Basin. Rabbit Ridge, which runs between the two peaks, includes some steep terrain and rocky outcrops requiring the use of your hands.
To reach Mount Columbia directly, head north from Buena Vista on Highway 24 to Crossman Avenue and turn left. Follow this road until you reach a T, then turn right onto County Road 361. Continue along 361 until you see a sign for Three Elks. Turn left onto County Road 368, and take that for over a mile before turning left onto 368A. Shortly after this left turn you'll take a right onto a logging road labeled Forest Service 368, and take the FS road for a little less than a mile, until you see a sign for the trailhead. Park at the trailhead and continue south along the road which is now the trail.
When the road takes a sharp right westward turn, take the path continuing south, which will cross Three Elks Creek before turning west and
leading you up the eastern slope of Mount Columbia. This trail crosses Colorado Trail at Harvard Lakes (which make for a nice detour).
After the Lakes, the trail follows Three Elks Creek past the treeline, then takes you up a steep slope to Three Elks Basin. The trail
fades in the basin, and you'll need to find your own path up the ridge to your left, but then you can just follow the ridge to Columbia's
summit. Be advised that there are several false summits along the way.
This page last updated 8/15/06