From Cataract Gulch trailhead continue down Cottonwood Creek to Cuba Gultch. On the South side there is a parking area and a small sign marking the trail. The trail starts at 10,700 feet. This is a 4WD road only.
This is the shortest way to hike Half Peak. It is best done as a muti-day trip. It can also be done with Cataract Gulch to make for a nice loop hike.
This trail immediately crosses Cottonwood Creek. You may or may not need water shoes depending if there is a log to cross on here.
After 0.4 miles you cross over a bridge above an incredible narrow gorge. Later the trail fades in and out as you head through the bushes. The streams have no streambeds, which makes for a very marshy area. This area is very wet and muddy.
Be sure to watch your topo maps. The route takes you off the main trail heading south into an unnamed basin, but the trail is hard to follow. The map shows a trail zigzagging up into the basin. The trail is almost nonexistent. Once up into the basin the trail comes quite clear. At 11,800 feet you can find some good camping areas in the basin.
From here you have a decision to make: You can continue on the trail around the basin, or you can cut through the brush and connect to the trail again at a higher elevation and save some time. Once on the Continental Divide between Point 13164 and Half Peak head up the southwestern slopes of Half Peak this is easy hiking until you get to 13,540 feet. The nice gentle slopes abruptly stop and you have pinnacles facing you. The 0.2 mile ridge is almost shocking to look at. Climb to the West Side of the ridge and stay about 80 feet from the top of it. Head east across small notch, then east up a slope and head about 300 feet north to the summit plateau at 13,660 feet. Hike northwest up a smooth slope to the highest point. This whole little maneuver looks quite intimidating, but it is easier than it looks. There is also a bit of exposure.
Point 13164 is a ranked 13er that can be done either with Half Peak or on a seprate day. To do it, from the saddle between it and Half Peak, hike 0.3 miles west up the Continental Divide to the top. This summit gives a really good view of Half Peak.
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