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CDT/Rockies Section Hike
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Ryan Wiley
(huskerhiker) - F

Locale: So Cal
CDT/Rockies Section Hike on 02/22/2012 08:01:07 MST Print View

I'm looking for a recommendation for a 50 to 100 mile section hike in the rockies with reasonable logicstics/car drops etc for 2 to 3 people.

I've never hiked in the Rockies before. Always in the sierras but wanted to try something new. Looking for a signature area, JMT or HST equivalent in terms of elevation and scenary and terrain etc.

Additionally from a gear perspective are there any areas I should look to adjust because of weather etc. I always use a bearikade can so I assume that is suitable in grizzly country?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: "CDT/Rockies Section Hike" on 02/22/2012 08:17:15 MST Print View

My experience is limited to CO and very small parts of NM but I'd recommend the San Juans.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Wind Rivers on 02/22/2012 13:34:07 MST Print View

I suggest the wind rivers. A loop out of Elkhart/ over knapsak col / past titcomb basin and indian basin / and out to your car. It would be hard to get much better than that. I'm sure there are some other gems that are in the same class, but it would be hard to get much better.

Great fishing also if you are into that. Also alot of opportunities for side trips/climbing.

I have some online pictures of that route if you are interested shoot me a PM.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: CDT/Rockies Section Hike on 02/22/2012 13:41:27 MST Print View

"I always use a bearikade can so I assume that is suitable in grizzly country?"


Bear Damage

.... or maybe not.

Edited by greg23 on 02/22/2012 13:42:54 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: CDT/Rockies Section Hike on 02/22/2012 15:31:40 MST Print View

I posted a similar question in another forum and it was suggested that between Pagosa Springs, CO and Rawlins, WY it's the easiest logistically for someone who has to leave a car at one end and not do a loop. Nothing was said about beauty in that area. It was also suggested that Paul Mag's website has good CDT info and that the section of the trail that is the same with the Colorado Trail might have some easier logistics. I can't tell you much more than that, though. I have no experience in the area at all.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: CDT/Rockies Section Hike on 02/22/2012 16:06:43 MST Print View

I know this isn't the direct response you are looking for but you may want to check out the Colorado Trail website

Has great resources for trip planning and evaluation. I don't have personal experience with it but based on my climbing experience I would strongly advocate for the San Juans as the most beautiful, rugged and less traveled section of the CT. Sections 20-24 are gems. Of course those are the most remote part of the trail and so may be a little more difficult logistically but worth it. The beginning of Section 22 is a good starting point with the termination of Section 24 (refer to map

Good trail planning link with contact information and logistics

Justin Baccary
Additional questions on 02/22/2012 16:42:36 MST Print View

Ryan, are you driving or flying? How many vehicles will you have? Are you okay with hitchhiking or not?

Ryan Wiley
(huskerhiker) - F

Locale: So Cal
transportation on 02/23/2012 07:34:52 MST Print View

Fly and rent a car most likely. Possibly get a drop off or pickup from a friend. Probably wouldn't hitch hike. could rent two cars or 1 but a loop would be ideal.

The picture of the bearikade got me thinking a bit... are any of the bear cans more grizzly proof than others or are they all a bit questionable. What do most people do for food protection in grizzly country?

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: transportation on 02/24/2012 08:39:52 MST Print View

I think the Bear Vault containers are the Gold Standard but ridiculously heavy. In Rocky Mountain NP, Yosemite and a few others they are required but where I travel in Colorado I use a Opsak Loksak inside a Ursack. Much lighter and quite effective. The Loksak is a critical component of that system. Preventing the animal from smelling anything in the first place is the best prevention.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
CDT/Rockies Section Hike on 02/24/2012 12:26:04 MST Print View

I'd also recommend Wyoming's Wind Rivers; there is a shuttle service offered by the Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale. With the shuttle you can do an end-to-end trip of the Highline/Fremont trail (CDT) between Green River Lakes and Big Sandy Opening, about 80 miles. With recommended sidetrips (Cirque of the Towers, Titcomb Basin) it will be closer to 95-100 miles. If you're coming from a lower altitude, I'd recommend starting from Green River Lakes (8,000 feet) which will give you a day to acclimatize before climbing up to 10,500-11,000 feet.

As for bears, the two legal food storage methods in the Winds (which does have some grizz, but is the southernmost part of grizz range on the CDT) at the current time are hanging your food or an approved bear canister. The diagram for hanging on the Brider-Teton website should greatly amuse those used to Sierra bears!

Since I can't throw (shoulder issues) so can't hang, and my bear canister (Bearikade Weekender) is technically not legal there because it hasn't been tested by the IGBC (although the Bearikade folks say it has undergone the same tests), I use an Ursack, with OP Sack inside. If I have to be illegal, at least I will be light!

Per the Ursack website, the Ursack is currently being tested by the IGBC. Hope springs eternal!

Edited by hikinggranny on 02/24/2012 12:35:21 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
CDT section on 02/24/2012 12:43:20 MST Print View

I hiked the CDT last year, so this is somewhat fresh in my mind still.

The Winds are beautiful. Populated, for the CDT, but worth going through. Pretty rocky terrain, don't expect to do high mileage, some modest water crossings along the way. I'm pretty sure there are books that describe routes, "how to do it", etc.
FWIW, as a southbound thru-hiker the only reason I still had bear spray with me at that point was that I hadn't been anywhere I could mail it home since Yellowstone.

You might look for information about the Colorado Trail (CT), such as at
Generally good quality and well marked trail, at least the part that overlaps the CDT is definitely better, more "well known". Goes from Durango to Denver, lots of literature available on that I think, could make it easier to set up a section hike.

Note that southern CO is pretty tough in terms of elevation. At least for me, things just get harder when spending much time above 12,000', even when I'm as acclimated as I can get. But then I'm not a young lad anymore, that might make a difference.

Reggie Garrett
(regarrett) - M

Locale: Lost in the mountains
CDT on 03/03/2012 05:21:43 MST Print View

I like the Wolf Creek Pass to Silverton section. It's just over 100 miles. Great views, plenty of water, tons of elk. Not sure how aggressive you want to be in regards to daily mileage, but this section is glorious.