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Where would you go if you had 5 days?

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Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby tigerlilly » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:34 am

Hi folks,

I'm looking for ideas!
We will be out in Colorado the last week of July for a family wedding in the Leadville area. We have 5-6 days to play with.
It would be me and the hubby.
We are experienced hikers (Ranier, Gannet, Granite, Alaska, etc) . I'm open to anything...we just haven't done much hiking in Colorado and I am just started my research.
Ideally, we don't want to carry a lot -

1) I'm wondering if you have any hut to hut routes you recommend?
2) are there any backcountry hikes you love

If YOU had 5 days what would hike?

Thanks in advance,
TL
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby mconnell » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:07 pm

Personally, I would grab a map of the Gore Range and map out a trip. 4-pass loop around Maroon Bells would also be high on the list although I've never done it due to the number of people.

As for your questions, I don't follow many hikes that others follow. prefer to make it up on my own. As for huts, I've never stayed in one.
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby Fletch » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:13 pm

Do you want to summit peaks, car camp, backcountry camp, day hikes?

I presume you're open to all of it, but if you have a preference, let us know.

If I had 5 days in CO that time of year, I would head to the Gores or the San Juans. If you're flying in and out of Denver, a day in RMNP would be good too. If you're flying in and out of Montrose or Grand Junction, then I would just stay on that side of the state.

San Juans - Wiemenuche Wilderness is tough to beat
Gores - Really a lot to do here --- im not super familiar, but there are lots of ideas (see the Gore hipsters on 14ers.com for more details)

I would shy away from the Elks --- too many people, bad rock, and that time of year could get ugly with traffic, camp spots, hotel/motels, etc...
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby tigerlilly » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:27 pm

Thank you for the ideas! I did some poking around on the web after reading your suggestions.

I was envisioning perhaps a back country experience, where you hike in and keep hiking for days and days on end. Then when you come out, you blink wide eyed at the sight of civilization again.

Or a scenario where we hike to a hut, stay overnight and hike back out. (repeat)
Or go hut to hut hopping - not sure if that is possible or not?

On the other end of the spectrum ... anyone recommend a decent get away hotel/cabin for the one night comfort splurge? I like to have one night f pampering while on vacation. :-)
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby Scott » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:37 pm

Or go hut to hut hopping - not sure if that is possible or not?


In winter, yes. In summer most of the huts have roads to them. There are a few exceptions such as Barr Camp and around Berthoud Pass, but they still aren't even close to being far from civilization.

I was envisioning perhaps a back country experience, where you hike in and keep hiking for days and days on end.


Outside the San Juans, Colorado isn't really like that. Unless you go to the San Juans you'd be better off in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or Utah you want to go to the Rockies and want to hike for days on end without being close to civilization.

As Fletch mentions, the Weminuche is probably what you are looking for if you are looking to go to Colorado.

Next would be places like the Flat Tops, and possibly the Elk Range. Marginally the northern Park Range, Sangre de Christos, or West Elks as well.
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby Tonka » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:28 pm

There is a lot to do in the Aspen Area and it has a surprising amount of remoteness if you go looking. You could easily put together some good hikes and then spend a day in town. Everyone knows the rock is shitty but it's such a beautiful area. I'll even toss in a link to a hotel that has everything from hostel rooms to mini suites with kitchenettes.
http://www.stmoritzlodge.com/
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby Sarah Simon » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:08 pm

Without boring you with detail, if my company surprised me with 5 days off work starting this afternoon, I'd head to either:

    Sangre de Cristos
    San Juans (I get it...at 12,000+ sq. miles, there's a lot to choose from...)
    Rocky Mountain National Park

My inclination, if I wanted to back-country, would be to hike up to a high basin lake somewhere then hunt peaks each day. I find if you stay away from 14ers, the Sangres can offer some nice solitude. (I credit a combination of distance from Denver and lack of amenities for this.)

My two cents...

Sarah
Go climb a mountain
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby BobSmith » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:28 pm

If you want solitude, I'd suggest the Weminuche Wilderness. We went last year and encountered almost no one. I think we went four full days (of an eight-day backpack) without seeing or hearing another human. (And that was in a row. I think from Day 3 through Day 6 we encountered no one else.)
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby Scott » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:23 pm

I was envisioning perhaps a back country experience, where you hike in and keep hiking for days and days on end.


To clarify, are you talking about hiking in and setting up a basecamp, or a point to point long distance hike? I was thinking the latter, but if it were the former, I'd certainly change my answer.

For point to point, I'd go with my first answer, but if you were just hiking into a lake or basin, using it as a base camp and then doing hikes to various peaks (such as what Sarah is talking about), then the possibilities would be endless. For the latter, many, many ranges/areas in Colorado will do.

If it were the latter, some of the most scenic areas/ranges are Rocky Mountain National Park, Gore Range, Elk Range, Northern Park Range, Sangre de Christos, Flat Tops, and the San Juans. The northern Sawatch are quite scenic as well.

If you are looking for a long distance point to point backpack that gets along way from civilization (days and days), rather than setting up a basecamp and doing side trips, the choices are more limited (which is what I was referring to).
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby tigerlilly » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:51 am

Ok. I'm starting to get the picture. With day hikes in mind, here is what appealed to me, but it is all over the place.
I picked them after thumbing through a "Hiking Colorado" Falcon Guide this afternoon.

Thoughts?

Mt. Elbert - cuz it is big
Great Sand Dunes NP - cuz um, I've never seen a desert
Williams Creek Trail - Weminuche Wilderness
Washington Gulch Trail - in the Gunnison National Forest
Big Dominguez Canyon - in the Uncompahgre Plateau
Pass and Coal Creek Loop to Engineer Mtn near Telluride

I picked up a map of the Rocky Mtn NP - any trails you would recommend?

I like seeing Mtn Goats, weird geologic formations, wild flowers. If possible, seeing a dinosaur footprint or rock art would really blow my mind. My husband would enjoy historically interesting areas.

Logistics question: if we were starting out from Breckenridge, how long will it take to drive over to the South Western part of the state? 4 hours? 8 hours? I have no concept of distances yet. Ideally, I would not spend a lot of time driving.
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby MarkDidier » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:02 am

With dayhikes in mind and starting out of Breckenridge:

If you go to the San Juans I would say you need to stay there the entire time (you wouldn't be disappointed!). It's about 5 hours one way, and the San Juans are HUGE so depending what you want to hit, there could be some serious drive time.

Since you are in Breckenridge, I personally would focus on areas closer. You will see some incredible scenery and drive a lot less. (I would save the San Juans for a trip where you can focus just on that range.)

The Holy Cross Wilderness is just an hour a way. Elbert vs. Mount of the Holy Cross - no comparison! Head for Minturn! You could easily make a second day out of this hitting Fall Creek Trail and Tuhare Lakes, etc.

The Elks are a little farther drive, but the scenery is the best in Colorado IMHO. You would have a number of day hike options, from Maroon Lake Trailhead (it doesn't get much better than Buckskin Pass to Buckskin Benchmark- easy Class 2) and you will most likely see a mountain goat - and the hike to Cathedral Lake is beautiful (views from Electric Pass Peak are incredible). Aspen isn't for everyone, but plenty of great dining options and I am quite sure you can get that spa treatment!

I don't know much about the Gores, but they are close and that would give you a third place to hit that is close. If you decide to head there I am sure others here on SP could give you some ideas.

As for RMNP - too many options - but I personally love Wild Basin (long approaches though). Glacier Gorge is a fantastic place with a number of peak bagging options.

Basically, you have a ton of great options within a few hours drive from Breckenridge. Enjoy - and be sure to post a TR!
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Re: Where would you go if you had 5 days?

Postby tigerlilly » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:52 am

Well, we ended up in the Aspen area. We did the 4 pass loop in the Maroon, Bellview, Pyramid, Snowmass area.

It was franfriggintastic. :-)

The meadow slopes were impossibly filled with wildflowers: lupine, columbine, delphinium, asters, paintbrush, daisy, roses.
Water sources were numerous.
Wildlife abundant : we saw beavers (ya!), elk, deer, marmots, pikas, even a moose
90% of the path is packed clay, except where it is not. The other areas are rock slides, (scree), that you can easily maneuver over. Think football sized rocks, firmly embedded in the soil that you just step over.
The views are stunning, especially as you descend from the Snowmass pass down to Snowmass lake.

Downside: you never feel like you are out on your own, there are simply too many people doing the loop. But I figure, if you ever got hurt, you could count on a kind soul to meander by within a half hour.

We also visited the town of Salida. Salida has won a spot in my heart. It is filled with art galleries and bike shops. Everyone rides a bike and they don't lock them. They just park them out front of the store they are in and leave them there. The food there was excellent. Lots of interesting things going on there. The people are smart and kind. Anyway, We went on the classic epic 40 mile Mountain bike ride starting at Monarch Pass. That was to die for. Serious serious serious fun. If you do nothing else when you are in Colorado, do this ride. You will not regret it.

-TL
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