RT Distance: 11 miles
Elevation Gain: 4850'
Please refer to the 'Getting There' section for driving directions to the Horn Creek Trailhead. The Forest Service has been doing restoration work in the area, and there are currently two trails leading to the Rainbow Trail from the trailhead: the Horn Creek Trail and the Horn Creek Spur Trail. You'll want the former. These trails are not well-signed, however, so when you reach the Rainbow Trail, pay close attention to the signage. You may not be where you want to be! It helps to know that the Dry Creek Trail is north of the Horn Lakes Trail, and the Macey Lakes Trail is south of the Horn Lakes Trail.
The Horn Creek Trail follows an old roadbed for a half-mile to a signed junction with the Rainbow Trail. Turn right and hike just a few yards to the signed junction with the Horn Lakes Trail. Turn left and hike four miles to timberline in the upper Horn Creek basin. Along the way, you'll cross from the north to the south side of Horn Creek. Once you reach timberline, you'll cross back to the north side. In this area there is supposedly a spur trail that leads to the Unnamed Lake 11,632. Even though this trail is found on the Trails Illustrated map and the Horn Peak quadrangle, I was not able to find it even after significant effort. However, the terrain between the Horn Lakes Trail and this unnamed lake is easy, and the bushwhack only took me a few minutes. Once you find the unnamed lake, you're at the base of your climb.
From the unnamed lake, hike northeast up steep slopes, avoiding the thick willows due north of the lake. You'll reach a grassy bench with a commanding view of the south-facing slopes below the Fluted's east ridge. Take the path of least resistance up grassy slopes to Fluted's 12,820' saddle with Little Horn peak. Then follow Fluted's east ridge to its southern summit, bypassing any difficulties on the south side. The southern summit is one of Fluted's three summits, but the true summit is the northernmost.
From the 12820' saddle, Little Horn Peak is just 0.35 miles and 325' away. The hike is very easy, topping out at class 2, and Little Horn gives you a commanding view of Fluted.
A sturdy pair of legs and some hiking boots are all that's required to make the climb of Fluted Peak.
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