Colorado Day Hike Suggestions - Updated

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Bacchus01
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Colorado Day Hike Suggestions - Updated

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:42 pm

**** This is from last year. UPDATE posted below


I'm going to be in Colorado Springs/Denver area late this week and next weekend. I'd like to do a long day hike on Saturday. I'm in pretty good shape and have done some 6-8 hour hikes but mostly at 8-10K feet. I will be solo. I will have good gear, but looking for suggestions.

I'd love suggestions from people in the area. Is the Barr trail to Pikes Peak reasonable? How do you get back down?

I've also seen suggested to do Bierstadt as a "first" 14'er.

Any other suggestions? I'm wide open at this point.
Last edited by Bacchus01 on Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

co_investor
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by co_investor » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:55 pm

Agree with whoever recommended Mt. Bierstadt. Grays or Torreys peak are good options as well.

Enjoy Colorado!

SimonJester
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by SimonJester » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:23 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:42 pm
I'm going to be in Colorado Springs/Denver area late this week and next weekend. I'd like to do a long day hike on Saturday. I'm in pretty good shape and have done some 6-8 hour hikes but mostly at 8-10K feet. I will be solo. I will have good gear, but looking for suggestions.

I'd love suggestions from people in the area. Is the Barr trail to Pikes Peak reasonable? How do you get back down?

I've also seen suggested to do Bierstadt as a "first" 14'er.

Any other suggestions? I'm wide open at this point.
If you hike up Barr trail you have to hike it back down, another 14 miles. Or you need to arrange a ride down from the top. Hiking or walking on the road will result in a hefty fine. The COG railway is shutdown for now so that is no longer an option. Barr trail can be done by some in 8 hours, but most take 2 days up. Keep in mind you will need to watch the weather no matter what hike you do. Thunderstorms often roll in the afternoon...

One option is to hike to the 1/2 way point Barr Camp and back down. This is doable in 8 hours if you get going early in the morning ie 6:00 am to beat the thunderstorms.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:29 pm

It looks like they are not letting people to drive up to Pikes Peak this summer, so catching a ride seems suspect.

How difficult is Sawtooth if I want to hit Evans as well?

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One Ping
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by One Ping » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:33 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:42 pm
I'm going to be in Colorado Springs/Denver area late this week and next weekend. I'd like to do a long day hike on Saturday. I'm in pretty good shape and have done some 6-8 hour hikes but mostly at 8-10K feet. I will be solo. I will have good gear, but looking for suggestions.

I'd love suggestions from people in the area. Is the Barr trail to Pikes Peak reasonable? How do you get back down?

I've also seen suggested to do Bierstadt as a "first" 14'er.

Any other suggestions? I'm wide open at this point.
If you are interested in 14'ers check out this site: https://14ers.com/routes_bydifficulty.php
It has lots of info on all the peaks and routes.

One Ping
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Shallowpockets
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:34 am

You could do the Barr trail, on the way down from doing the Manitou incline. That is the way down. Manitou incline is an accomplishment in itself. A sort of different hike. It will not be as long in time as maybe you were looking for but sufficient for effort.
Otherwise Bierdstat is a good option. Do it as early as possible. Maybe be at the trailhead at sunrise. More parking less people.
It will be a drive fom CO Springs to Bierdstat, either up to Denver and up I70 or up 285 way. Bierdstat trailhead is on the road that connects i70 and 285.
If you look at 285 way you have a couple options to hike in the Lost Creek Wilderness around Bailey. You can go long there. Or partway up the road to Bierdstat from 285 you could hike the Abyss Lake trail. This will be a long hike that takes you in and above treeline and ends at Abyss Lake which is in a cirque under Mt Evans. It is beautiful. It is coming into flower season up high here in Colorado, so there may be a lot of flowers.
The usual above treeline hikes here are you should probably be where you are headed by noon and ready to descend. This is due to the likelihood of thunder and lightning in the afternoon up high where you are exposed.
You won't need a map for Manitou incline or Bierdstat, but you should have one for the Lost Creek wilderness. Trails Illustrated.

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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:04 am

Are you sure you want to do a 14er? It a lot harder than 10k'. The oxygen level goes way down. I would not attempt that solo. I'm on the other side of the mountain, so not familiar with trails over there. There has to be some good trails that are between 10-13k over there. Plan on early morning as the thunderstorms pop up quick after lunch. You do not want to be on a summit after noon. There are probably some good trail books/guides at REI or somewhere in Denver.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:06 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:34 am
You could do the Barr trail, on the way down from doing the Manitou incline. That is the way down. Manitou incline is an accomplishment in itself. A sort of different hike. It will not be as long in time as maybe you were looking for but sufficient for effort.
Otherwise Bierdstat is a good option. Do it as early as possible. Maybe be at the trailhead at sunrise. More parking less people.
It will be a drive fom CO Springs to Bierdstat, either up to Denver and up I70 or up 285 way. Bierdstat trailhead is on the road that connects i70 and 285.
If you look at 285 way you have a couple options to hike in the Lost Creek Wilderness around Bailey. You can go long there. Or partway up the road to Bierdstat from 285 you could hike the Abyss Lake trail. This will be a long hike that takes you in and above treeline and ends at Abyss Lake which is in a cirque under Mt Evans. It is beautiful. It is coming into flower season up high here in Colorado, so there may be a lot of flowers.
The usual above treeline hikes here are you should probably be where you are headed by noon and ready to descend. This is due to the likelihood of thunder and lightning in the afternoon up high where you are exposed.
You won't need a map for Manitou incline or Bierdstat, but you should have one for the Lost Creek wilderness. Trails Illustrated.
Excellent. Thank you. All my reading suggests I'll be getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the trailheads around 6AM +/-. I'd like to get on the descend by noon as you suggest. Bierstadt from CO Springs shows about 90 minutes. Is that accurate this time of year? I may just move my hotel up northerly and stay closer if I do that one.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:08 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:04 am
Are you sure you want to do a 14er? It a lot harder than 10k'. The oxygen level goes way down. I would not attempt that solo. I'm on the other side of the mountain, so not familiar with trails over there. There has to be some good trails that are between 10-13k over there. Plan on early morning as the thunderstorms pop up quick after lunch. You do not want to be on a summit after noon. There are probably some good trail books/guides at REI or somewhere in Denver.
Yes. While solo, I'm likely picking a heavy trafficked route.

sad2
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by sad2 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:14 am

A wonderful loop to do is Green Mountain, Bear Peak, and South Boulder Peak, all in Boulder proper.
Not a 14er, but a solid workout with almost 5,000 feet of gain and less concerns about altitude.

Feel free to PM me if you want other suggestions.

Highlights from my experience are Bluebird Lake, Sandbeach Lake, Four Pass Loop, Huron Peak, Handies Peak, Sky Pond.

I've been hiking in the state for close to 10 years, with suggestions for 14ers, loop hikes, alpine lakes, etc.

I'll actually be hiking the Boulder loop next Saturday if you want company.

Colorado13
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Colorado13 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:41 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:06 am
Excellent. Thank you. All my reading suggests I'll be getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the trailheads around 6AM +/-. I'd like to get on the descend by noon as you suggest. Bierstadt from CO Springs shows about 90 minutes. Is that accurate this time of year? I may just move my hotel up northerly and stay closer if I do that one.
If it were me, I would be on the trailhead closer to 5 a.m. because Bierstadt will be very crowded on the weekend. You will not be hiking alone (which is a good thing, in terms of safety.) Your idea to move your hotel north is a good one. As others have advised, you want to be off the summit early in the day. Early afternoon storms and lightning have been prevalent lately (which is typical.) These can be deadly.

For other hiking, I recommend going with Sad2, the Colorado Mountain Club, or a meetup group if you want some company. I can't vouch for any of these personally, but it's good to have a hiking buddy.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:24 pm

co_investor wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:55 pm
Agree with whoever recommended Mt. Bierstadt. Grays or Torreys peak are good options as well.

Enjoy Colorado!
Now leaning towards Grays and Torreys Peak.

I've actually changed my plans. Staying in Ft Collins area and not Colorado Springs.
Last edited by Bacchus01 on Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by climber2020 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:27 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:29 pm
It looks like they are not letting people to drive up to Pikes Peak this summer, so catching a ride seems suspect.

How difficult is Sawtooth if I want to hit Evans as well?
Sawtooth is awesome, but parts of it are exposed to steep drop offs. People occasionally fall off and die, but I didn't feel that it was particularly dangerous or challenging.
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:42 pm
I will have good gear, but looking for suggestions.
You don't need good gear for any of the 14ers mentioned so far. They're all straightforward, low risk trails assuming you're in good shape. All you need are shoes that fit properly and lots of water.

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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by climber2020 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:29 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:24 pm
Now leaning towards Grays and Torreys Peak.
Kelso Ridge is a nice trail up to those two peaks. Lots of great scrambling on the way up.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:44 pm

climber2020 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:29 pm
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:24 pm
Now leaning towards Grays and Torreys Peak.
Kelso Ridge is a nice trail up to those two peaks. Lots of great scrambling on the way up.
Since I'm coming for such a short trip, I think I will avoid the scrambles this trip.

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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:29 pm

OK. Now Ft Collins. That may change things a little. Longer drive south from there than north from CO Springs. Not as nice a drive either.
Maybe you should look into RMNP. Lots of hikes in there. Or you could do that Boulder Loop spoken of here. I have done it from south mesa trailhead up shadow canyon to south Boulder peak to green mountain, continue north to the top of long canyon follow down Into Gregory canyon from the top and then back across the mesa trail to the parking area.
This may require a map or asking people along the way.
17.63 miles.
Just taking a round trip along the mesa trail will get you about 13 miles. Easy to follow.

I am not familiar with trails up by Ft Collins although Horsetooth reservoir and Lory state park have trails.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:36 pm

Thanks. I actually think I’m going to get a hotel room in Idaho Falls or Georgetown on Friday night and drive down from Ft Collins.

Freefun
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Freefun » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:03 pm

I just got back from hiking RMNP. Sky pond is a great suggestion. Getting to the trailheads at 6am may or may not work well for parking at trailhead itself. I arrived at glacier gorge TH around 5am and there was only 1 parking spot left - but it was the week of July 4th. Besides thunderstorms I prefer to avoid too much midday sun, so if it's a long hike I've no problem hitting the trails early. I try to go every 3 weeks or so during the summer.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

radiowave
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by radiowave » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:30 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:24 pm
co_investor wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:55 pm
Agree with whoever recommended Mt. Bierstadt. Grays or Torreys peak are good options as well.

Enjoy Colorado!
Now leaning towards Grays and Torreys Peak.

I've actually changed my plans. Staying in Ft Collins area and not Colorado Springs.
Estes Park and RMNP would work as a day trip out of Ft. Collins. My favorite is Bear Lake and then the Emerald Lake trail. It's right at 10K ft, you go up past two lakes, then dead end into Emerald. Downhill all the way down. It will be very crowded this weekend. You can stay at the YMCA but they may be out of lodge rooms by now (we checked this morning as we have family coming in this week through next).

There are plenty of trails west of Ft Collins off Hwy 14: https://www.hikingproject.com/directory ... -collins . We hiked up there a few weeks ago in the Colorado State Forest and was quite nice (beware of moose). So either would be a good choice.

Note, it's been very hot here in Denver metro and most of CO, in the 90s to 100s and frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Bring plenty of water (more than you think you need) and get on the trail early.
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Freefun
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Freefun » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:44 pm

I second that comment about the heat. When I arrived into Denver I went quickly to walker ranch loop and did the 7 mile hike. Since I started late when I finished I might as well been wearing a swimsuit, and my camelbak was empty.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:43 pm

Got my hotel booked for Georgetown, CO, Friday night. I'll be coming down from Fort Collins a little late. Headed over to the trailhead for Grays and Torreys by 5:30. Rented an SUV to get there.

I have a 5:55PM flight out of Denver on Saturday evening. I really wish the United lounge had a shower there!

Freefun
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Freefun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:13 am

Not sure you have time but the Westin probably has a day rate. It's adjacent to United.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Bacchus01
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:16 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:43 pm
Got my hotel booked for Georgetown, CO, Friday night. I'll be coming down from Fort Collins a little late. Headed over to the trailhead for Grays and Torreys by 5:30. Rented an SUV to get there.

I have a 5:55PM flight out of Denver on Saturday evening. I really wish the United lounge had a shower there!
Sorry that I never followed up. I wanted to thank everyone. Your suggestions and other reading prepared me well.

I got to the trailhead just before 5AM. There was NO parking in the lot and I was down the road, but not too far.

As I stepped off the sun was still buried but you could see the light starting to come up.

The first few miles of the trail were pretty easy. Lots of people and dogs. Traffic was manageable.

I had stayed the night before near by. I was not acclimated by any means. Coming from sea level essentially less than 24 hours prior, staying the day in Ft Collins at around 6k feet and spending the night at around 9k feet, I had trouble sleeping. I was guzzling water at every opportunity before stepping off.

After the first few miles the ascent begins to get steeper. I had told myself I would stop for a few minutes every 30 minutes and rest, drink, and snack later in. That worked out well until the steep ascent phase. About 1.5 hours in I was well up the steepest part and at this point the elevation really hit me. My legs were fine but my breathing was tough. I had never been above 10k feet and it was showing. I was close to 13k feet st this point. I was taking on water and food at regular intervals.

The last half mile or so was a bear. I would go about 100 yds and need a break. I could tell based on my heart rate. I had to get it to settle. When it would for a few minutes, I’d get up and go another 100 yds. Fortunately there was a lot of people. There was a group in front of me and behind me that we would essentially play leadpfrog of sorts. When the group behind caught me resting, I would get up and go. I would catch the group in front of me resting and then they would get up and go. This was the unspoken process for that last half mile.

I had been shedding most of my layers on the way up and now near the peak I was putting them on. It was getting colder and windier. I was never too hot or cold, but I could tell the wind was taking water from me pretty rapidly.

As I summited Grays Peak it was an amazing view. I stayed for maybe 15 minutes, eating some lunch and calling both my wife and my mother. They were happy to hear from me. I helped others take pictures and they did the same for me.

I then headed on the route between Grays and Torrey’s. As I reached the cradle between, I had a hard decision to make. Head up to Torrey’s, or head back to home. I sat for a good 10 minutes considering it. I felt good. A little downhill and small drop in elevation had made me feel great. Adrenaline was flowing. But....I decided to head home. I had done one 14k and that was enough for today.

I’m glad I did as the descent was harder than the ascent. The constant jarring of the steps down in the steepest spots took a toll on my toes and my knees. I developed some solid blisters on my toes going down. This is where poles would have been helpful. I was still taking in water but started to get a pretty good headache on the way down.

I also had to urinate constantly. I was stopping every 10 minutes or so for a while to urinate off trail. I later read that this is normal due to kidney functions when you are coming off altitude. I was a little worried I was dehydrating myself, but I had taken 3 liters of water and was working through it at a steady and consistent pace.

As I made it back to the trailhead I was sore, tired, and elated. Other than a mild altitude headache that went away in a few hours and some mild blisters on my toes. I was in really good shape. I had done the trip a little fast at just around 5 hours.

I have run 4 marathons at sub 4-hours. This was harder. Of course, I’m also older and was less trained for this one, but it was definitely not easy.

Seeing the 20-somethings stepping off the trail in flip flops with no packs gave me an appreciation for youth. At a young 45, I was disappointed I had not done this earlier in my life. And yet, I’m working on the next one!

Thank you!

oxothuk
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions

Post by oxothuk » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:37 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:16 am
But....I decided to head home. I had done one 14k and that was enough for today
I live in CO and have been up Gray’s Peak three times. Every time I’ve done the same as you. If I ever want to bag Torrey’s I’ll have to go there first

Shallowpockets
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Re: Colorado Day Hike Suggestions - Updated

Post by Shallowpockets » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:53 pm

Congrats, Bacchus01. You came and did what you wanted. You did not falter. You go to the top. That's what counts. Your friends back home will never understand, but tell the tale anyway.

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