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Suggestions for 70-90 mile trip.
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Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Suggestions for 70-90 mile trip. on 12/06/2009 21:33:31 MST Print View

I'm planning a trip to either the Sierras or Colorado the first week of August next year and need some suggestions.

- It can be either a loop or point to point.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
South Lake (Bishop, CA) to Whitney on 12/06/2009 21:42:04 MST Print View

I recommend the southern half of the John Muir Trail. You can enter at South Lake outside of Bishop, CA, go over Bishop Pass to the JMT and head south. You exit at Whitney Portal with a total milage of about 98 miles.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: South Lake (Bishop, CA) to Whitney on 12/07/2009 17:39:22 MST Print View

Thanks. I would say the JMT is toward the top of my list. I have done a few short sections of the JMT with other loops, but I'm thinking now might be the time for a long section of the trail. I'm planning around 6 or 7 days, so that would give us plenty of time for the miles.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: South Lake (Bishop, CA) to Whitney on 12/07/2009 18:42:45 MST Print View

going over South Lake to Whitney would be cool. The Sights you see are amazing!! Even the hike from South Lake over Bishop into Dusy is enough for most. I second the thought

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
70-90 miles on 12/07/2009 18:49:10 MST Print View

Three trips come to mind:
1) S. Lake to Whitney Portal
2) High Sierra Trail; Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal
3) Continental Divide Trail through the Weminuche

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Me too, on 12/07/2009 18:52:06 MST Print View


I just asked about similar (maybe slightly shorter) hikes in Colorado, for next summer. I'm also thinking late-July/early-August. My buddies and I are trying to research hikes all over the state, so that when they fly in we can go where the weather is best...

The CDT in the South San Juan Wilderness. A bit short- only 52 miles but the guidebook sez 5-7 days. But...

There are several ways to traverse the Weminuche Wilderness. Wolf Pass Trailhead to Ivy Creek Trailhead. Fern Creek Trailhead to West Fork Trailhead (has hot springs near the southern trailhead, but they tend to be crowded). These will all be a bit shorter than you want, but you can connect any of these trailheads to the CDT, in either direction. That would be one way to lengthen the South San Juan CDT hike.

Steve recommended the CDT in the Weminuche Wilderness- that's 85 miles. But just imagine connecting that with the 52 miles in the South San Juan Wilderness! I think, with the bit of National Forest that you have to cross, that it comes to a hair over 150 miles...

Sorry. Fantasizing a bit.

The last 75 miles of the Colorado Trail, Molas Pass to Durango. Accessing the trail north of that is difficult without a 4WD, until you are well north of Coney Mountain, but that would STILL be within in your requested distance.

This one is a bit short, but it looks kind of vigorous:
Sangre de Cristo mountains, start at the Ducket Creek Trailhead and head south on the Rainbow trail. Turn right into the mountains on the South Brush Creek Trail, and cross the pass into the Cotton Creek watershed. Head UP the valley, past Cotton Lake, and cross the pass. Hook up with the Rito Alto Trail and again head UP the valley and over the pass. You will then cross the upper San Isabel Creek drainage, and over another pass. Then make your way up to Venable Pass, but turn south along the Phantom Terrace Trail, and head down the Comanche Lake trail to the trailhead and out.

The 4-Pass loop in Maroon Bells Wilderness was recommended to me. It is much shorter than you requested, but it looks like it is easily scalable, connecting with a couple of other loops through the Wilderness. Look at a map and the "lollipop-shaped" loop near the Maroon Lake Trailhead is obvious. The other loops run to the northwest of the 4-Pass Loop, and are also obvious on any trail map (Trails Illustrated or Sky Terrain both show them.)

I'm still researching several other options- I'd like to do a loop around the Mummy Range in RMNP, if I can find a way that it can be done. Unfortunately it is looking like I'd have to cross private property.

I'm also going to look at the classic Chicago Basin hike (also in the Weminuche Wilderness) which is a sort-of-loop around the Grenadier Range with side-trails hitting several nontechnical 13-ers and 14-ers. Bonus- ingress and egress is via the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad. The loop is 39 miles, but that doesn't include the peak-bagging.

Disclaimer- I have done NONE of these hikes- but I am planning to.

Edited by acrosome on 12/07/2009 22:06:16 MST.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Me too, on 12/07/2009 20:20:35 MST Print View

Wow, great intel. Thanks for the detailed responses. It is much appreciated.

Dean, keep me posted on your research and I'll do the same.

(WRYN) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Maroon Bells, CO would be stunning on 12/07/2009 21:45:57 MST Print View

I can't speak to the whole Maroon Bells loop as we've only dayhiked the area. But, I will say the time we spent in the area was amazing, and every backpacker on the trails was blissed out.

The second half of the JMT rocks, too. I'd suggest coming in over Puite Pass. It's a dramatic entrance to the Park. The sights that await you from that point are jaw dropping.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Me too, on 12/07/2009 22:05:05 MST Print View

Roger, Brad.

Flat Tops Wilderness and Lost Creek Wilderness were both also recommended to me, but I haven't researched them yet. Lost Creek in particular looks like it has potential for a large loop (which I like). But it's not the classic, rugged, alpine Colorado hike- it's generally below treeline. Rugged, but not towering peaks as in other places.

+1 on hearing that Maroon Bells is "so beautiful it looks fake."


I just did the map-recon for Lost Creek Wilderness and checked a couple of trip reports again here on BPL. It has great potential for several large loops, linked so that any hike is scalable to suit your pace. So, I'll plug that one, too. The Trails Illustrated map is adequate. (I'm sure forest service maps show more of the obscure trails, though.)

Edited by acrosome on 12/08/2009 09:39:43 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Suggestions for 70-90 mile trip. on 12/07/2009 22:41:51 MST Print View

I'd like to put in a plug for the Highline/Fremont trail in Wyoming's Wind Rivers, IMHO one of the most beautiful places on earth! 80 miles plus mandatory (IMHO) side trips to Titcomb Basin and the Cirque of the Towers will give you about 90-95 miles. Starting from the north end at Green River Lakes is better for acclimatizing to the altitude. There is a shuttle service via Pinedale's Great Outdoor Shop.

Where the Highline and Fremont trails separate, take the Fremont--it's closer to the Continental Divide and higher. Do be prepared for nasty and cold weather--you're up in the 10,500-11,000 foot range most of the time, at or above timberline. Last summer a foot of snow fell in Titcomb Basin on Aug;. 8 and almost as much a week later. And the "Wind" in the name is there for a reason!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/07/2009 22:42:51 MST.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Suggestions for 70-90 mile trip on 12/08/2009 00:07:44 MST Print View

My wife and I did the length of the Wind Rivers many years ago - Little Sandy to Green River Lake - totally awesome and possible better than the southern section of the JMT IMHO. Of course we had afternoon thundershowers for 8 of the 13 days (and snow for three) in August. Plan on being over the day's pass by noon.

Edited by rgless on 12/08/2009 00:08:59 MST.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
-- on 12/08/2009 00:38:48 MST Print View


Edited by backpackerchick on 12/08/2009 00:39:23 MST.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: -- on 12/09/2009 19:33:03 MST Print View

Thanks again for all the information. All of these are making the life list, but the hard part is going to be which one in 2010.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
PCT/ Yosemite on 12/16/2009 08:58:19 MST Print View

Any section of the JMT is beautiful, but I have started to consider the PCT north of Tuolumne Meadows and out of Yosemite to Sonora Pass which is on highway 108. This is a point-to-point hike of 76.4 miles most of it in Yosemite. Public transportation runs along route 395 between Reno and LA.
There are also ways of making it a loop hike with trails connecting to the PCT and back to Tuolumne.and the Grand Canyon of Yosemite.

Edited by rambler on 12/17/2009 06:51:05 MST.