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Spring backpacking in Colorado
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Peter Jacobs
(pjac1) - F
Spring backpacking in Colorado on 03/21/2012 11:21:12 MDT Print View

Can someone recommend a good overnight trail(s) at lower altitudes in Colorado (preferably near Denver within a couple hours) that would be good the first week in April this year, 2012? I'm a novice backpacker and have two 12 year old boys with me. We're all in good shape. Thanks!

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Beaver Brook Trail on 03/23/2012 14:32:01 MDT Print View

I did an overnight trip last year in fall on the Beaver Brook/Judy Gaskill trail system which is located near Evergreen. The trailhead is very easy to get to, and there shouldn't be too much snow in the area... some of the front-rangers here may be able to say otherwise.

Not much in the way of wilderness, but the trail is pretty fun and you get some pretty good views of the Denver skyline. Here's a link:

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Snow on 03/23/2012 15:30:00 MDT Print View

Not much snow right now so that might be a good choice. It will depend on the weather between now and then. I really couldn't think of anyplace to go in April in a normal year.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Lost Creek Wilderness and other areas on 03/23/2012 18:55:39 MDT Print View

Lost Creek Wilderness has some lower elevation areas on the eastern side. Aprial is still pretty early though.
If there is snow here are a couple tips.
1. The trail will vanish at some point. Be ready to use a map and compass or be willing to turn back if you honesty aren't comfortable with it. Lost Creek isn't really mountaineering country but there are some rugged areas and I almost got in trouble a couple times in the snow.
2. Be aware that snow may soften up later in the day. I once hiked up to 12,000 feet on three feet of solid snow. Than it melted in the sun and it was a very miserable slog back out.

Good luck. REI in Denver usually has a good Trails Illustrated map of the area.

Edit - About the closest you can get to Denver are the first couple sections of the Colorado Trail. The only downside its its dry, probably drier than normal this year so make sure you bring enough water.

Edited by Cameron on 03/23/2012 19:07:47 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
CT on 03/23/2012 20:21:56 MDT Print View

Be aware that segment 1 of the CT is closing again on April 1st for 3 weeks. If there isn't snow between now and the trip the first couple of segments might well be a good choice. I leave a few miles directly north of the CT and we still have snow in the trees on north slopes. But it hit 70 (!!!) today so if this keeps up it, there sure won't be much left. Great for hiking but we're looking bad for fire season so far.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re CT on 03/23/2012 20:26:29 MDT Print View

If the CT is close the alternate route (which skips roughly 6 miles of Segment 1) is the Indian Creek trail to the south (more attractive in my opinion anyway).

Christopher Heine

Locale: Colorado
Re on 03/24/2012 12:22:30 MDT Print View

White Ranch has some camp sites that are pretty nice and would be easy for a couple kids to get to.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
+1 Lost Creek on 03/26/2012 10:56:38 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'll +1 Lost Creek. As has been said, in any other year April around here can still be rather extreme, but this winter has been a great disappointment to the skiers. It's still getting damned cold every now and then, though, so be ready for it.

Also, out here "low elevation" is a relative term... :)

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Fire on 03/27/2012 21:01:35 MDT Print View

So if you live in Denver you already know about the Lower North Fork fire. They are predicting 4 days to contain it. The early segments of the CT maybe a bad choice for next week. There's no snow in the forecast and we're on our way to the driest March in recorded history. This is the earliest I've seen fire bans. Please check with the NFS on fire bans/restrictions wherever you end up going.