Colorado Backpacking Resources
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Erica R.
(skrapp138) - M
Colorado Backpacking Resources on 07/18/2014 10:11:43 MDT Print View

Hey all, I recently relocated to Denver and have never spent any time in the Rockies until now. I'm coming from California - where the Sierras and Southern CA were primarily my stomping ground...and in comparison, the Rockies are overwhelming! There is just SO MUCH!

I've purchased most hiking books I could find, and poked around online - but the possibilities truly do feel overwhelming. I feel like the Sierras were so much more straightforward to get to know, and to research trip options (surely due to the size comparison)...and also with flooding damage from last year (and this year) trail conditions and road conditions have complicated options that much more.

I'd love any resources/tips anyone familiar with the CO Rockies can share! Other forums, blogs, books that share route options. I backpack alone most of the time, so I try to keep it safe and stick to trails I can find good documentation on ahead of time (rarely go cross-country). I also terribly miss Harrison Maps! Is there any CO equivalent?

Any tips, wisdom, resources are greatly appreciated!

Erica

Kelly G
(KellyDT) - F
Rockies on 07/22/2014 22:08:38 MDT Print View

Not that I'm an expert on the Rockies - but I was there a few weeks ago, for the first time. I will say that the Forest Service employees at the back country office in Estes Park were very helpful in deciding where to do our hike. Why not utilize them, to start to get a feel for what the Rockies have to offer?
Kelly

Kent McLemore
(kmac777) - F - M
re:Colorado Backpacking Resources on 07/23/2014 04:38:09 MDT Print View

www.14ers.com is a very active site devoted to the Colorado Rockies. Though it caters to the peak baggers, there is a ton of general mountain info organized by sub-ranges, by traiheads, etc. I've gotten many backpacking ideas from the site. See also the companion site www.13ers.com .

And www.summitpost.com has extensive info on the Colorado Rockies, with many pages devoted to the back country regions of your new state. Have fun!

JJ Willcoxon
(H2Oboy) - M

Locale: Midwest
Ask Mags... on 07/23/2014 08:48:44 MDT Print View

Paul "Mags" Magnanti is a local that knows the area very well. I always take the time to read his posts and trip reports. You can read about his favorite trips in the area and contact him via his webpage:

http://www.pmags.com/

Or

The Trailshow Podcast Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/thetrailshow

Disco, D-Low, and POD also all live in the Boulder Area and, I'm guessing, have trampled just about every blade of grass in the Colorado Rockies, between the lot of them.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Indian Peaks range on 07/23/2014 15:13:33 MDT Print View

Erica,

Take a look at the Indian Peaks range for good hiking and backpacking. (But take a wind-worthy tent, the Indian Peaks range can be very windy at times.)

One nice intro solo backpack is to drive from Boulder up Cottonwood Canyon Road to Nederland, go toward the Eldora Ski Resort but pass that turnoff and keep going to the trailhead for the Arapaho Pass trail. Weekends require that you get there before 8 AM for a parking space.

Hike up the trail to the pass and camp at the treeline for wind protection. Great vistas. There are water sources on the way up. Get off the ridges before afternoon for protection from lightning in the afternoon thunderstorms.
As with most of the Rockies, afternoon thunderstorms often pop up so take rainwear and a puffy jacket for cool evenings and early mornings at altitude.

ENJOY!

Erica R.
(skrapp138) - M
A good start for Rockies info! Maps? on 07/24/2014 11:41:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestions on resources and areas to look at! http://www.pmags.com/ is an excellent resource - thanks for passing that along! If anyone else has any resources or some good first treks in the area I totally appreciate it!

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: A good start for Rockies info! Maps? on 07/26/2014 09:19:29 MDT Print View

Erica,

Colorado is filled with different pockets of intriguing areas throughout.

Sure there are the Rockies, but also drier canyon and desert regions (such as the Colorado Plateau, which extends into the desert southwest) in the spring and fall are an excellent option. It’s in a class of its own, really. A few tips:

-I believe there are 43(!) Wilderness areas in Colorado. I’m a big Wilderness area enthusiast and find that if you enjoy escaping the crowds, they are money. The farther you get away from the Front Range and (of course) do a little off-trail exploring, the more you will find solitude.

-If you dislike crowds, you’re most likely going to dislike the 14er peak-bagging culture we have out here. If you don’t mind people asking regularly how much further to the top and walking amongst many ill-prepared day hikers and tourists, then you may however enjoy them.

-Check out the Colorado Trail if you don’t mind some crowds, but an extremely well maintained trail system. You can find maps and guide books by checking out the Colorado Trail Foundations website. They’re a great organization. Like I mentioned above, the farther you get away from the Front Range, the less people you’ll see.

-As for maps … check out National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated series. They have a total of 50 maps that they print for the entire state. Also by googling “Colorado Hunting Atlas”, you have access to all USGS and satellite images throughout Colorado. There is an option to print :)

-You may also consider becoming a member of the Colorado Mountain Club, and while you’re at their website, I would check out “CMC Press” where you can find a wide variety of guidebooks.

Erica R.
(skrapp138) - M
Re: Re: A good start for Rockies info! Maps? - The overpopulated Front Range! on 07/26/2014 15:16:38 MDT Print View

Thanks a million Tim! Yes, I am a high desert lover (the close proximity was part of my reason to move) - so I'm already looking forward for fall (and winter!) and spring!

And thanks for the tips to avoid the crowds. I'm really struggling with that so far.

This cracked me up:
"-If you dislike crowds, you’re most likely going to dislike the 14er peak-bagging culture we have out here. If you don’t mind people asking regularly how much further to the top and walking amongst many ill-prepared day hikers and tourists, then you may however enjoy them."

I made the almost regrettable decision to hike Mt Beirstadt last weekend. It was BY FAR the most (over)populated hike I've ever been on - easily 500+ complaining their way up the trail with so many people on the summit that I couldn't get even close to the actual summit. The whole thing left me with a real sour taste for hiking on weekends around here (which unfortunately my work schedule requires). They really need a permit system like half dome up there. It was ridiculous and I can only imagine the impact all of those people all summer long are having on the tundra up there.

I'm trying to pick a dayhike to do tomorrow in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and I'm already dreading that eventhough I'll be at the trailhead by 6am, I'll probably be surrounded by the masses!

I've been eyeing those National Geographic maps - good to hear you recommend them. I'm gonna pop by REI later to check them out.

Erica

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: Re: A good start for Rockies info! Maps? - The overpopulated Front Range! on 07/26/2014 15:38:43 MDT Print View

"They really need a permit system like half dome up there. It was ridiculous and I can only imagine the impact all of those people all summer long are having on the tundra up there."

Thankfully the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative exist. www.14ers.ORG

I completely forgot ... ALSO check out Latitude 40 maps. http://www.latitude40maps.com/category/our-maps/colorado-maps/

They contain lots of extra useful info that you can't get on a quad.

Edited by timdcy on 07/27/2014 05:33:13 MDT.

Erica R.
(skrapp138) - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: A good start for Rockies info! Maps? - The overpopulated Front Range! on 07/26/2014 21:34:29 MDT Print View

Yes and yes! Thanks a ton Tim! Those maps look awesome.

I think I may definitely be looking into volunteering with those guys!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
BTW... on 07/27/2014 15:16:58 MDT Print View

Erica, go to Boulder to Neptune Mountaineering. They are very helpful and have a great book selection on the local areas.

P.S. after visiting Neptune Mountaineering go out the door and turn left to Southern Sun micro brewery/restaurant next door. Get a "nitro'd" beer and a sandwich. Then unlax for a while as you peruse your guide books.

I always loved having two of my most favorite places right next to each other.
i.e. "A gear store and a beer store."
If it gets any better than this then God's keeping it to herself.