I recently moved to CO, and the number of trails/mountains here are a bit overwhelming. I'm not sure where to begin when it comes to looking for trail recommendations. Since I live close to the Indian Peaks Wilderness, I'd like to start close to home. I'm looking for hikes that are fun, challenging, and scenic. Anything off the beaten path and not overrun is preferred...single- or multi-day trips, up to Class 4.
Lone Eagle Peak is definately one of the best destinations in the IPW. It's a class 4 ascent via Solo Flight Route. The approach is on the other side of the mountain than you live though, but if you make it to that side, it's a favorite.
In my opinion, the view of Lone Eagle from Mirror Lake/Crater Lake is the best alpine scene in Colorado, at least of the places that I've been.
I second the Navajo suggestion, but propose Niwot ridge for the approach. Airplane Gully is interesting, but going both up and down is too much scree for my taste. Plus, Niwot Ridge is the best ridge scramble in the Indian Peaks. Paiute via the southeast ridge of Audubon is also very nice. The north ridge of Neva and the traverse from South to North Arapaho are too. In the the Middle Saint Vrain drainage, Elks Tooth and Ogalalla are certainly off the beaten path.
Crater Lake is really pretty. Both times I've climbed Lone Eagle I approached it from the west, and it was great, but I believe going over Pawnee Pass would be equally scenic and only moderately more strenuous. In fact, crossing the Divide at Buchanan Pass and coming back via Pawnee Pass is considered a great tour of the Indian Peaks. Average people do it as a multi-day trip.
Thanks for all your responses to this post. It's given me a good start...I've looked at the SP pages for Lone Eagle and Navajo, and I'm getting excited. I'm planning on doing the Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells Wilderness in mid-late August, but hopefully I'll be able to do these first.
Lone Eagle is a "must do"! 7.5 miles one way to Crater lake and one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever witnessed.
Fourth of July trail outside of Nederland is a nice scenic hike and South Arapaho Peak (Arapahoe Glacier trail) offers beautiful views of IPW and Longs. Get there early though,,, arrive after 6am on the weekend and there's no parking.
Let me know if you haven't done Navajo yet. Or if you want to meet up for anything else. I love non-standard and interesting routes, and it looks like I'm moving back to Nederland. I just returned from the Alps and Mongolia, and this is my home base for keeping my mountaineering skills and fitness at a world-class level.