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Best 150 miles of the Colorado Trail
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Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Best 150 miles of the Colorado Trail on 11/12/2010 08:46:22 MST Print View

This summer/spring, a good friend of mine and I are planning to spent 2 weeks or so on the CT.

He is fairly new to backpacking, but is in excellent shape and could handle much of what the CT has to offer. I'm looking for the most breathtaking section of the CT for mid June.

So, BPL, what do you suggest?

Edited by FauxRealz on 11/12/2010 18:23:13 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Best 150 miles of the Colorado Trail on 11/12/2010 09:16:07 MST Print View

I've only done the first 6 segments from Denver to Breckenridge, but my research screams "It all depends on how much snow you and your friend are willing and able to contend with. You'll have a lot of it".

According to Paul Magnanti (PMags) "The window for hiking the Colorado Trail is relatively narrow, beginning no earlier than mid-to-late June and ending no later than late September/ early October. Before mid-late June there is generally too much snow in the high country and after early October there is a very great chance there will be a snowstorm where the snow will accumulate and not melt the following day."

Ask your question on the CT Forum at Trailforums.com - lots of CO residents and CT hikers there who really know the trail and more importantly, the weather patterns.

I'm told that (1) the most scenic parts are up high on the continental divide. (2) Twin Lakes to Princeton (Collegiate Peak Wilderness) is gorgeous.(3) The 55 miles from Spring Creek Pass to Silverton (San Juans) is the prettiest part.

YMMV.

Jacob Linton
(gardenhead) - F

Locale: Western NC
Oh jeez. on 11/12/2010 09:41:40 MST Print View

You really can't go wrong with any of it, but if you're looking for the most breathtaking look at the La Garita and Weminuche areas. Snow Mesa just really blew me away.

I don't have any books around so I can't check the mileage, but I really really liked those two.

Are you going to spend the two weeks hiking the CT, or just along the Continental Divide corridor?

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Re: Oh jeez. on 11/12/2010 09:44:37 MST Print View

I guess we aren't totally set on just the CT, mostly looking for a beautiful hike in the Rockies. Figured the CT would be where to look (it's also fairly close to Kansas City, ~ 8 hour drive)

Other suggestions?

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Early June in Colorado on 11/13/2010 21:42:44 MST Print View

It all depends on the snow year, but early-mid June is still going to have a lot of snow in the high country. Here's a photo from June 6 of this past year at about 11500' ft:Mount Toll

I was SKIING. There was enough snow at 'only' 10k ft or so to actually get some decent glides in. Higher and I was able to actually (attempt to. :) ) carve turns. Granted, this was up near the Continental Divide and it will be snowier up there..but guess where some of the more scenic segments of the CT go through? :)

Having said that, if you are looking for some areas to backpack in, the Lost Creek Wilderness is ab absolute gem and often opens up before most of Colorado.
A favorite LCW wilderness loop of mine


If you are not set on hiking the CT only, there can be some places to hike/backpack in for sure at that time of the year. Not that you *can not* hike most of the CT in early June, but not many people may necessarily want to cope with the logistics, navigation and physical exertion needed for typical conditions for that type of backpacking in Colorado.


Ping me if you want to know of some other lower-elevation ideas. I also have some Colorado Trail info here if you are curious

Edited by PaulMags on 11/13/2010 21:51:25 MST.

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
That's early on 11/18/2010 11:45:55 MST Print View

For the best backpacking on the CT or CDT in Colorado June is really quite early but depends on the snow year and spring, every day after mid-June can make a big difference though.

I think the best section of the CT is from Eddiesville TH in the La Garita's to Molas Pass but really the CT bypasses a lot of the good stuff even in the San Juans.

David Loome
(DavidLoome) - F

Locale: American Southwest
Best CT section on 11/18/2010 22:05:34 MST Print View

CT in June = Perhaps not the best introduction to backpacking for your friend. That's EARLY in the season most snow years...

If I had to pick one section I would say Silverton to Salida. You get the beautiful Animas Valley right away and you're way up on the Divide just after. Much of the highest and most beautiful terrain is concentrated in that section. Probably a bit more than 150 miles.

The new section up there by Cataract Lake and Stony Pass is just awesome. There was no trail when I did the CT a few years ago, but some construction was evident and the route was spectacular.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
150 miles in CO on 11/26/2010 22:48:24 MST Print View

The one hike I have always wanted to do, since the Ormes trail maps came out, and I read "27," by Wm Diehl, is into and around the Maroon Bells from above Crested Butte, completely avoiding Aspen. Would go mid-July or later, though, to make it a hike, not a snowshoe.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
ct. on 11/26/2010 23:33:33 MST Print View

The best 150 of the CT has to be the part I didn't hike (Snow Mesa towards Durango). There are many disappointing things about the first 300+ miles, to be sure (e.g. tons of road walking).

I wouldn't recommend hiking the full CT when there are many other superior (IMO) trails out there.