The approach for this climb is reached by first going to Meeker Park. The USGS map shows the Meeker Park trail which leads to the Horsetooth Peak/Lookout Mountain Saddle.
A word of CAUTION:
The map also shows a trail reaching the same saddle from the Sandbeach Lake Trail in Wild Basin. To my knowledge the trail from Wild Basin does NOT exist. Instead you'll be face with alot of bushwhacking. Also the acual trail is somewhat different than what is shown on the map. See route description for details.
From the Estes Park (North):
Meeker Park is located about 12 miles south of Estes Park on HWY 7. On clear days you get great views of Horsetooth Peak
while traveling south along HWY 7, if you can pull your eyes away from the towering faces on Longs and Meeker.
From the Boulder (South):
Get on Hwy 36 in Boulder and follow it to Lyons. On the there end of Lyons take a Left onto Hwy 7 and follow it for about 23 miles to Meeker Park.
Meeker Park is very small with the large, closed Meeker Park Lodge being the only real building there. This is your landmark for finding the correct road to the trailhead. Directly across the highway from the Lodge is Boulder County Road 113N. Do NOT get this confused with 113S which is a few hundred yards south. There is a sign making 113N and also a Deadend Road sign. Don't worry, this is the right road. This dirt road takes you by many private cabins with lots of signs. None of these signs are for the trail, however the main road is obvious and the TH is reached in a little less than a mile.
The TH is marked by a small NP sign on the right and a pullout/parking space for about 3 cars on the left. Please respect the private property in the area so that we can continue to have access to this TH.
The trail starts across the road from the parking and follows a good trail through the forest. Shortly along the trail you will come to the first junction. Stay straight (right) here and continue along Cabin Creek to the second junction. This is were you will go left and cross Cabin Creek.
The trail starts to climb as you traverse the lower, north slopes of Horsetooth Peak. You can't really see the peak here because of the trees but do get an occasional glimpse of the rocky summit. You will, however be treated to views of the huge, East Face of Meeker.
The next portion of the trail does not coincide with USGS maps. The Forest Service map shows the trail staying to climbers left of Horse Creek. This is wrong because the trail DOES cross to climbers right of the creek before heading south. Once you cross the creek the easy to follow trail starts making a steep climb to the vicinity of the Horsetooth Peak/Lookout Mountain saddle.
Once at the saddle you will be treated to a view of the awesome Southwest Ridge
of Horsetooth. In summer dry conditions this ridge would make a nice Class 5 climb for experienced rock climbers. The standard route however, stays to the west (left) of this ridge and scrambles of many boulders. You will pass under the steep northeast face of Horsetooth in route. Once it is possible to start scrambling up you will have many options for attaining the summit. Take your pick of the mostly class 4 options, but be sure not to climb anything that you will not want to downclimb because this will be your only choice once on top. I picked this
route which follows ledges to the notch on the far right. The rock in the area seemed very solid.
Once on top you can walk up and down the ridge and savour an exclusive view of the surrounding peaks. While there in April 2004, I was the first person to sign the log since it's placement 4 months earlier.
RT: 4.1 miles, 1580 vertical feet
For winter you'll need warm clothes and snowshoes. Summer requires no special gear and water is plentiful for the first half of the hike.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.