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Colorado front range backpacking in early April???
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Nicolas Barr
Colorado front range backpacking in early April??? on 03/19/2014 20:17:48 MDT Print View

I am helping a friend move out to Denver in a couple weeks and was hoping to bring my gear with and get 2 nights in on the mountains. I have never been backpacking in Colorado earlier than May and realize there is still a lot of snow in April. I would appreciate any ideas, maybe lower elevations? I was hoping to stay within a couple hours’ drive from Denver.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Colorado front range backpacking in early April??? on 03/19/2014 20:33:07 MDT Print View

Lost Creek Wilderness Area.

Search here, on BPL, for Trip Reports, and with google for general info.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Colorado front range backpacking in early April??? on 03/19/2014 22:29:50 MDT Print View

I really would be suspect about planning any backpacking trip in early April in the mountains. You are just asking for miserable postholing. Lost Creek Wilderness is better in early May for the Goose Creek loop. Even then you will likely be hiking through significant snow in spots. Here is another thread about Lost Creek conditions specifically

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Step Outdoors? on 03/20/2014 05:17:45 MDT Print View

Not sure whether this'll help, but my friends Stacy and Greg Boone run a great guiding and trainign business in Pagosa Springs. They might be able to help you out with local knowlede and recommendations. Check 'em out:

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
April backpacking on 03/20/2014 06:46:47 MDT Print View

What they all said.

I'm still skiing up in the high country at that time.

You are going to have to look lower.

Not extreme backcountry by any means, but Golden Gate Canyon state park is (generally) 9k ft or lower and is a possibility not far from Denver. There are "backcountry" campsites you can use. With the early season wildflowers that may be poking out, could be pretty. It is where I hike in mid-April or so until summer at times (and late Fall. It is also where my wife and I married. :)

Even there, the higher elevation areas in the shade may have some patches of snow. Should be doable, though.

Other possibilities are the first sections of the Colorado Trail. But, quite frankly, that is mainly mellow MTBikng terrain. While pleasant, I think Golden Gate is more interesting.

Edited by PaulMags on 03/20/2014 06:49:16 MDT.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Colorado front range backpacking in early April??? on 03/20/2014 07:39:08 MDT Print View

Here's another possibility for an overnighter in early April. It's just outside Canon City which is two hours south of Denver.

Nicolas Barr
Thanks on 03/21/2014 21:33:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help, and great suggestions. I have some research to do; leaning toward Lost Creek Wilderness. How is the north east portion nearer to Bailey? Is the snow likely to be to soft/melted for snowshoes? Is the heavier snow more avoidable by going off trail?

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Colorado front range backpacking in early April??? on 03/22/2014 20:35:00 MDT Print View

Normally it would be too early for LCW. But in spite of ski resorts on the west side of the divide getting record snowfall, we've had a horrible snow year on the east side. I live about 10 miles from LCW and 5 miles north of the CT. We're currently at 53% of average snow fall for the season with maybe 6 weeks to go. April is our snowiest month here but March is still short of normal so who knows what will happen. If you are willing to bring snowshoes as well as your regular hiking footwear, I'd say go for it. Just keep an eye on the weather as it gets closer to your trip. As Pmags said, the first part of the CT isn't really that scenic (a lot better than the view from my desk however) but a pretty good bet for early in the year.

Gordon Gray
(GordonG) - F

Locale: Front Range, CO
Jonesing for summer on 03/27/2014 15:53:38 MDT Print View

I live in the burbs of Denver and I am jonesing for the snow to go away. I like to start up high and go higher. I guess I'll have to settle with something in the 8k range until June.