Colorado 14ers: Mount of the Holy Cross via the North Ridge

This 10.3-miler outside Vail is a leg- and lung-buster, but at the end of the day you'll touch the sky on the summit of one of Colorado's fabled Fourteeners.

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-Mapped by Caitlin May

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.6



Location: 39.499786, -106.433272


Location: 39.493118, -106.45105

Half Moon Pass: Enjoy sunrise over Tenmile Range’s razorback crests. To the L, the N ridge of Notch Mtn. reflects sun’s first rays. In next 1.1 mi., get the best views of peak’s fabled icy cross on NNE face


Location: 39.489292, -106.466042

Descend long series of steep switchbacks. Tip: Save an energy bar for this hellacious climb on the return trip


Location: 39.488834, -106.470772

Traverse E. Cross Creek on stable rock bridge (last water; good campsites). Stay R, pass user trails leading to technical routes; 3,300-foot climb ahead


Location: 39.487438, -106.478508

Hike through last of thinning pine forest before crossing treeline


Location: 39.48238, -106.476776

Scraggly high alpine shrubs cover landscape. Trail is faint in spots, aim SSW toward cairns and upper ridgeline


Location: 39.477905, -106.480171

Loose talus; the crinkled summit notch appears dauntingly to the S


Location: 39.46822, -106.484848

Trail disappears; slowly climb steep boulder field, arcing up and around summit’s easier W side


Location: 39.466762, -106.481616

Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005 ft.): Mountains stretch miles in all directions, including several other 14ers and the Continental Divide

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