Length: 11 miles (roundtrip)
Total Elevation gain: 5,800'
trail access: Half Moon Trail
No Trace Wilderness ethic.
From Half Moon Trailhead, follow Half Moon Trail for 2 miles to Half Moon Pass at 11,600'. On my last trip, I discovered crossing this pass can be exciting in an afternoon thunderstorm. After summitting Half Moon Pass, descend gradually at first towards East Cross Creek. You will soon get your first views of the North Face of Holy Cross, an impressive sight. Soon the trail starts to descend more steeply and you round a corner and get an amazing view of the mountain and the East Cross Creek Basin, complete with steep granite walls on the basin's north flank, the mountain to the south, and a tallish waterfall in the center. You know now if you didnt before that this is a special place. Descend another 900 feet into the creek basin where some excellent campsites exist near the creek. Stay in one of the numbered campsites to minimize impact. You can be ticketed by rangers for camping elsewhere. Not only is it a legal issue anyway, it is environmental, so please respect this.
|The Gore Range in the distance from the North Ridge|
Do not get lost on the descent! Remember the route. Going too far west or north of the trail can pull you into the Cross Creek drainage (not the East Cross Creek drainage where you want to be.) While there are trails there, they will take you very far away from your vehicle. Also don't forget you have to go up and over (1,000') Half Moon Pass on the way out. As aforementioned, this can be exciting if the afternoon storms are rolling in and exhausting anytime after a long climb of Holy Cross.
Longs, Holy Cross, and McGregor Mountain
Frustration in Paradise
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