Looking for 50 to 100 mile loop trail in Colorado. Suggestions?
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Nicholas West
(nic.szczepaniak@yahoo.com) - F - M

Locale: Maryland
Looking for 50 to 100 mile loop trail in Colorado. Suggestions? on 04/24/2013 12:17:16 MDT Print View

Prior to now, all of my backpacking has been in the Appalachians and I'm looking to finally experience the Rockies! I would love if the loop was partially on the Colorado trail or the Continental Divide trail. Also, It needs to be hike-able by mid June without encountering serious snow in the passes. Thanks in advance for anyone who looks at this.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Colorado Loops on 04/24/2013 12:44:59 MDT Print View

Some passes may still have some snow in June, it depends on the snow year. Here are some options

Wimenuche Wilderness - This is the largest wilderness in Colorado. There are several options for loops here. One thing to consider is that its a very high area. You want to plan a route that keeps you low for a couple days. There are plenty of loops connecting different drainage. If you want to pay for it you could ride the Silverton Durango Railroad in and out.

Colorado Trail from Durango to Molas Pass - This is about 76 miles. Its not a complet wilderness but its pretty nice. Its one way but you have multiple ways to get back to Durango. You can hitchhike from the pass. You could hike down to the Railroad and ride it one way for about $90. Or you could hire a shuttle out of Durango. The shuttles charge by the mile. If I recall its about $100 for that distance.

Lost Creek Wilderness - This is a very nice wilderness close to Denver. Not as spectacular as some but it should be open by June even on a big snow year. There are smaller loops but here is what I would do for a figure 8 loop.

-Start at the Goose Creek Trailhead, hike up the canyon and they up over McCurdy Mtn and Bison Peak.
-Drop down to Lost Park. From there go up the Colorodo Trail.
-Hike up to the crest of the Kenosha Mountains using the Brookside McCurdy Trail but go off trail from the pass.
-Follow the crest of the Kenosha Moutains up to the Ben Tyler Gultch Trail. This is an off trail route called the "Alphabatizer" on Summitpost.org. It should be doable but if you don't want to you can take the CT which is below the crest to the south.
-Ben Tyler Gulch trail down (north) to Craig Park Trail.
-Craig Park Trail back to the Brookside McCurdy Trail.
-Retrace your route a few miles back to Lost Park then take Wigwam and Goose Creek back to where you started.

I'm guessing the total distance here would be about 70-80 miles. Factoring in off trail and altitude that is probably all you want to do.

Indian Peaks Wilderness - There are several loops here. Check out Dondo's report. I can't remember where he went but he started at Brainard Lake.

Rock Mountain National Park - Some possible loops. Amazing scenery.

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
Holy Cross Wilderness on 04/26/2013 12:49:26 MDT Print View

I would also suggest the holy cross wilderness. I did a loop there a few years ago. The loop acrually starts and comes out about 100 yards from each other. (Missouri Lakes and Fancy Pass trailheads I think). Lots of good fishing also. You a can slo climb a 14er (holy cross) PM me if you want more details.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Holy Cross Wilderness on 04/27/2013 11:11:13 MDT Print View

"I would also suggest the holy cross wilderness. I did a loop there a few years ago. The loop acrually starts and comes out about 100 yards from each other. (Missouri Lakes and Fancy Pass trailheads I think). Lots of good fishing also. You a can slo climb a 14er (holy cross) PM me if you want more details."

+1

Although its hard to say just how much snow will be there by mid-June.

Nicholas West
(nic.szczepaniak@yahoo.com) - F - M

Locale: Maryland
Colorado Loop trail on 04/27/2013 16:58:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice! I'm going to look into the Colorado trail from Durango to Molas Pass as well as the Holy Cross wilderness. I would also like to look in to a loop trail in Rocky Mountain NP. Any idea on where to find info on that? I havn't found their website very helpful.

Edited by nic.szczepaniak@yahoo.com on 04/27/2013 17:00:03 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Colorado Loop Trail on 04/27/2013 17:27:46 MDT Print View

The CT section is a good bet. I'd start at Durango and go north. For one you gain elevation more slowly so you are less likely to have issues with altitude sickness. Second you save the best for last. Third you are more likely to catch a ride at the pass where people expect to see hikers vs. in Durango, where they might be more suspicious of you.

Here is the link to my trip report from this section. My camera really didn't do it justice, it was really nice. There are some exposed sections so plan on getting them done early in the morning before thunderstorms hit.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=69173

I think your best bet for RMNP loops would be to just start with a topo map. I've become a big fan of Hillmap.com. Just look for loops that look good.

Nicholas West
(nic.szczepaniak@yahoo.com) - F - M

Locale: Maryland
CT hike on 04/28/2013 01:11:04 MDT Print View

Awesome, thanks Luke

Thomas Getty
(tomgetty)

Locale: South Bay
Re on 05/30/2013 22:04:04 MDT Print View

More reference for many of these areas and trails that were mentioned:

link: http://www.oriconline.org/what_to_do/trails_and_trips/backpacking_trips.htm