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Recommend a good Rockies trip for a Chicagoan??
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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Recommend a good Rockies trip for a Chicagoan?? on 04/20/2012 15:58:08 MDT Print View

My friends and I are taking a week to road trip out west to hike, but -sadly- I must admit that I have never backpacked the Rockies :(

We are trying to plan something but are simply overwhelmed by all the awesome places we could go!! We are all quite experienced backpackers so difficulty isn't really an issue. Within reason, of course...we're not 20 anymore.

If you could recommend a 5-7 day hike somewhere in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado...where should we go???

Justin Baccary
Questions on 04/20/2012 16:11:15 MDT Print View

What month?

How many miles per day? "Five to seven days" is less helpful than "about 50 miles" or "about 100 miles."

Edited by justin.baccary on 04/20/2012 16:17:41 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
More specifics... on 04/20/2012 17:16:09 MDT Print View

Ah...good point. 8-15 miles/day, second week of August (yes, I know...that's when everyone goes...)

So maybe 50 ish miles??

Edited by Jenmitol on 04/20/2012 17:16:42 MDT.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Rockies for Chicagoan on 04/20/2012 17:48:22 MDT Print View

Take a look at the Wind River Range.

Justin Baccary
Winds on 04/20/2012 19:08:10 MDT Print View

The Winds is a great destination. Tons of options. Search BPL for trip reports.

Check out Pallister's "Beyond Trails" guidebook ( for on and off-trail routes.

Beartooth makes a great overview map (1:100,000) of the Winds ( as well as Winds North and Winds South maps (1:50,000).

You can hire the Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale ( to shuttle your truck so you can enter and exit at different THs if you so desire.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Recommend a good Rockies trip for a Chicagoan?? on 04/20/2012 19:12:37 MDT Print View

Even though it's a longer drive than CO, I'd go to the Wind River Range given the choice.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
options on 04/30/2012 11:55:25 MDT Print View

The Winds are where disillusioned Coloradoans go hiking... i plan to be there for the solar eclipse in 2017 (?).

Some Colorado options, since I know at least a little about that region:

First, I have to say it- the Chicago Basin in the Weminuche Wilderness. (I'm such a wit!) But seriously, the basin is stocked with 14ers, some of which are non-technical if you are so inclined. There's a big loop you can do. It can be accessed via the Durango & Silverton railroad, which is neat.

Heck, anywhere in the South San Juan or Weminuche wildernesses would be a classic alpine hike. Lots of options.

We have Rocky Mountain National Park. But it's still a national park- tourists, crowds, Xanterra, bear canisters, etc. And if I could only do one trip and wanted to do the national park thing there are other places I'd put ahead of it- Glacier, Grand Teton, etc. Yellowstone too, maybe, but I'd want to find a very remote hike to avoid the crowds.

Maroon Bells is also classically alpine and so beautiful it looks Photoshopped- but there can be crowds. Actually the crowds are only around the Bells themselves, specifically around the trailhead that the Aspen bus line runs to. In the back country there is usually solitude to be found. Heck, just the DRIVE over Independence Pass into Aspen is breathtaking. Great brew pubs there, too.

Those are the places I'd put at the top of my list. There are many other hikes here, of course, but for a flatlander who wants to do something "Rockies" that's what pops to mind. The Winds and Glacier are probably closer.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Thanks!!! on 05/08/2012 19:08:48 MDT Print View

My companions are now quite excited about the Winds...sorry Coloradoans (?)

Thanks so much for all the input...can't wait to feel the burn of altitude on these flatlander lungs.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Winds on 05/09/2012 14:10:30 MDT Print View

You're forgiven. This time. :) There will be time for trips to Colorado in the future. I'm heading to the Winds in September. The Nancy Pallister book mentioned above just arrived today! Looks great. I only got a short ways into it at lunch but I think it's a good purchase. Have fun on your trip!

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Thanks!!! on 05/09/2012 14:38:22 MDT Print View

Try not to take this personally, but we're not offended at all. Once you see Colorado, you'll want to do all your backpacking here, and then you tell your friends, and next thing you know, this place looks like Whitney Portal.

Go to Wyoming, it leaves my backcountry empty. *wink*

I kid, I kid! (kind of)

Seriously, you have to really try to miss seeing amazing country anywhere along the Rockies- US or Canada. You can't go wrong, enjoy!

Edit: To add- give yourself a day zero in town, before you start the hike, and don't try to stomp up a 14'er your first day. Altitude and dry air are both mean, unforgiving MoFo's.

Edited by COHiker on 05/09/2012 14:41:01 MDT.