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Topic: Suggest a summer Colorado hike for me, 4-ish days (just for giggles)< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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cweston Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 5:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OK, here's the idea: I'm hoping to take a trip with my college age kids this summer. They have trouble getting time off, so 4 days is probably the realistic length.

I live in Kansas: I usually go to the Sangres if I'm hiking in Co, because it's closer than the San Juans but less crowded than the front range, Maroon bells, etc. I do love the Sangres but am open to other suggestions about places I'm less familiar with.

I have some ideas, but I'm just curious what others would recommend. Solitude is important. I don't mind passing through crowded places, but not spending a whole trip among crowds. It'd probably be in July, so any location should be possible, weather/snow-wise.

I'd prefer some off trail/scrambling opportunities, but my daughter is not into anything more than class 2 or with much exposure. Anything like that would have to be optional (like, a side-trip from a base camp), so she could opt out.

Anyone want to play?
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 8:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maroon Bells Four Pass loop.  Never done the whole thing but sure would like to.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 8:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ May 03 2013, 7:32 pm)
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Maroon Bells Four Pass loop.  Never done the whole thing but sure would like to.

I've thought about that. Looks like a spectacular hike. No solitude there, though, right? (Not a dealbreaker, but grist for the decision mill.)
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 9:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are some pretty remote spots in the Gore Range.  Burntfoot did a 4 day trip in the La Garita wilderness a few years ago, and If memory serves me correctly he didn't see another soul after the first day.  You might want to check with him on that one.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 10:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ May 03 2013, 8:54 pm)
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There are some pretty remote spots in the Gore Range.  Burntfoot did a 4 day trip in the La Garita wilderness a few years ago, and If memory serves me correctly he didn't see another soul after the first day.  You might want to check with him on that one.

Yeah, I recall Burntfoot's post about that. I've done some mapsturbating for both of those areas, but never been to either.

La Garita might be a good choice for my daughter, who is more of a tenderfoot than the rest of us. San Luis peak is a walk-up--she could bag an easy 14er.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2013, 12:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Suggest one for me too.   I have been doing research for week.   There is nothing magical about finding a good option.   It takes effort.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2013, 9:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ May 03 2013, 8:03 pm)
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(Lamebeaver @ May 03 2013, 8:54 pm)
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There are some pretty remote spots in the Gore Range.  Burntfoot did a 4 day trip in the La Garita wilderness a few years ago, and If memory serves me correctly he didn't see another soul after the first day.  You might want to check with him on that one.

Yeah, I recall Burntfoot's post about that. I've done some mapsturbating for both of those areas, but never been to either.

La Garita might be a good choice for my daughter, who is more of a tenderfoot than the rest of us. San Luis peak is a walk-up--she could bag an easy 14er.

It's also one of the least frequently climbed....even on a weekend.  The CDT does pass through, and on this trail you may see a few through hikers.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2013, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's a great section of the CT. All Peaks deserve early starts but especially Colorado's most isolated 14er. San Luis pops to say the least.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 05 2013, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That La Garita loop that I did was heading west on the CDT/Colorado Trail/La Garita Skyline Trail (3 names there) from the Eddiesville Trailhead.  A few miles before highway 149, the trails split, and you go down to a trailhead near the north base of Spring Creek Pass instead of going over Snow Mesa to Spring Pass like the CDT does.  Shortly before the highway, you intersect with the Cebolla Trail and double back to the southeast.  From there, you take the Cebolla Trail back north and east all the way to the north saddle of Baldy Chato Peak.  Be aware that the Cebolla Trail is seldom traveled.  So, don't daydream.  Keep eyes out for trail markers and have the Trails Illustrated (Nat'l Geographic now) topo handy.  I didn't see anyone else on this whole trail.  Actually, I saw no one on the Skyline Trail either once I was past the saddle going down to Creede just beyond the saddle of San Luis Peak.  The Cebolla Trail is harder than the Skyline because it doesn't stay high most of the way.  Drops way down into a drainage, and then goes way back up.  Once at Baldy Chato saddle, you'll have to bushwack.  I skirted around the east sides of Baldy Chato and Stewart Peaks and took the east ridge of Stewart all the way back to the dirt road leading to the Eddiesville Trailhead.  Pretty easy route-finding, but stay clear of the willows as much as possible.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 1:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is a map and some info on the La Garita Wilderness and here is a map and trail description of a loop we did a few years ago.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 2:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's a brutally direct question for those that have been to La Garita:

Does it have the wow-factor? People talk about it being different, with the large expanses of grasslands and the plateau-like high country. Is that kindof a code for "not as spectacular" as places like the Sangres or San Juans?

Don't get me wrong: I'm sure I could spend a week there and love every second of it, because, in the words of a cheesy slogan, if you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough.

But I would drive right by the Sangres in order to get there...

It's kind of like when you're trying to decide whether to order your old standby at a restaurant or to try something new. It's exciting to try new dishes, but I always worry that I'll regret not going with what I know is great. I know that the Sangres, the Needles, the Maroon Bells, etc. would be tasty entrees...
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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 2:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't think I have ever been in any of Colorado mountains anywhere and it not had the wow factor. Just sayin'
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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 4:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's a trip I haven't done yet, but hope to one day (there are sooo many choices in Colorado)

Start at the Middle Fork Trailhead (Middle Fork of Saguache Creek).  Follow Trail 783 to 888 to 784 to Machin Lake  Camp nearby.  Continue along 784 to 782 and camp near trail 912 along Halfmoon Creek.  Go over Halfmoon Pass and drop down into the Wheeler Geologic Area.  Backtrack and camp in the same place as the night before, or camp along trail 914 near Twin Peaks Creek.  Take trail 912 back to the Middle Fork Trailhead.

I can guarantee you will see some very impressive country.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Are you willing to drive to the San Juans?

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 5:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frihauf @ May 06 2013, 3:51 pm)
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Are you willing to drive to the San Juans?

Ben

Yes, that's a possibility.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 5:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

North of Durango the Lime Mesa in the Weminuche Wilderness has some great options with incredible views of the West Needles, Needles, and Grenadiers.

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(frihauf @ May 06 2013, 4:36 pm)
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North of Durango the Lime Mesa in the Weminuche Wilderness has some great options with incredible views of the West Needles, Needles, and Grenadiers.

Ben

Thanks.

I notice that the USFS is encouraging people not to continue down to Ruby Lake from the Lime Mesa summit.

What's the actual scoop on that route? (I know that the "authorities" tend to be understandably very conservative about off-trail routes.)

Again, my daughter's comfort range is up to about class 2. My son and I are more experienced scramblers, so we can probably get her through some class 3 if it's not with a lot of exposure, but I don't want to push her so hard that it spoils her fun.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 3:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ May 06 2013, 12:13 pm)
QUOTE
Here's a brutally direct question for those that have been to La Garita:

Does it have the wow-factor? People talk about it being different, with the large expanses of grasslands and the plateau-like high country. Is that kindof a code for "not as spectacular" as places like the Sangres or San Juans?

Don't get me wrong: I'm sure I could spend a week there and love every second of it, because, in the words of a cheesy slogan, if you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough.

But I would drive right by the Sangres in order to get there...

It's kind of like when you're trying to decide whether to order your old standby at a restaurant or to try something new. It's exciting to try new dishes, but I always worry that I'll regret not going with what I know is great. I know that the Sangres, the Needles, the Maroon Bells, etc. would be tasty entrees...

For me, after 5 or so days of boring along the Colorado Trail, the La Garitas blew me away.  The further I ascended along Cochetopa Creek, the prettier it was.  And, it remained pretty all the way to Spring Creek Pass.  Snow Mesa is a plateau at 12,400 feet with views all the way down to the Rio Grande Pyramid and the Weminuche Wilderness.

Now, if you are talking about "Wow" factor as neighboring mountains being up close, then I suppose the Maroon Bells, Weminuche Wilderness and Sangres have more of that Wow factor.  But, you also mentioned solitude in your original post.  And, those other places have a lot more people in most places.  In any of the 3 areas I mentioned in this paragraph, you'll have to really hunt to find a secluded trail.

If you want solitude in Colorado, I recommend the Flat Tops, the La Garitas or the West Elk Mountains.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 3:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ May 06 2013, 5:57 pm)
QUOTE

(frihauf @ May 06 2013, 4:36 pm)
QUOTE
North of Durango the Lime Mesa in the Weminuche Wilderness has some great options with incredible views of the West Needles, Needles, and Grenadiers.

Ben

Thanks.

I notice that the USFS is encouraging people not to continue down to Ruby Lake from the Lime Mesa summit.

What's the actual scoop on that route? (I know that the "authorities" tend to be understandably very conservative about off-trail routes.)

Again, my daughter's comfort range is up to about class 2. My son and I are more experienced scramblers, so we can probably get her through some class 3 if it's not with a lot of exposure, but I don't want to push her so hard that it spoils her fun.

Instead of heading over the ridge to drop down to Ruby, just follow the trail to the NE about 500 feet and you can hike down the draw.  There is a trail that takes you down to Emerald lake and is a much better route than hiking past Ruby.

If you are up for it I would suggest taking off your pack and hike to the ridge above Ruby.  The view is amazing.  If you are really energetic you can hike to the Mtn. View Crest for one of the best views anywhere.

Once you are at Emerald you can day hike over to Pear Lake, which is a turquoise color and very pretty.  I wouldn't bother with Webb lake unless you are bored.  There are lots of 12" fish in the lake but it is shallow and overgrown.

Ben


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 3:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://backpackersresource.weebly.com/snowmass-wilderness-co.html

Great trip, 4 days, you'll have to walk through crowds, but I don't think you'll have to camp among them, aside from possibly at snowmass lake.  Snowmass Mountain would be a potential 14'er to summit from a basecamp at Snowmass or from a basecamp in Fravert Basin, depending on your route.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2013, 6:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's a nice blog with some hiking info in the Gore Range

http://www.gorerange.info/2011/09/east-partner-peak-v-from-pitkin-th/
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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 8:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's been some really great info posted in this thread--thanks, everyone.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 1:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So have you done North Crestone to Comanche-Venable?

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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2013, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ May 08 2013, 12:12 pm)
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So have you done North Crestone to Comanche-Venable?

Yep--that's some beautiful country.
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