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Old 04-07-2011, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
Reputation: 7492

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I'm looking for some good ideas for a 2-3 day backpacking trip maybe within 50-100 miles of Denver.

It seems like there is a million trails its almost hard to sort out. Does anyone have any suggestions?

So far I'm thinking:

-Rocky mountain national park, million trails/camp sites here
-Portion of the Colorado Trail, maybe Segment 3/4
-Portion of the Lost Creek Wilderness (goose creek, wigwam trail)
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:16 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,835,868 times
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Wink RMNP if hiking

Since I know it best, I'll suggest that RMNP offers great scenery and many fine hiking trails to choose from.

Easy access to the trailheads from Denver, and if choosing a place such as Bear Lake you'll be venturing from the car already at near 10,000 feet. So with a short walk from a variety of trailheads one will find themselves surrounded by magnificent wilderness.

But also possibly tourists. RMNP receives about 3,000,000 visitors a year. If this is a concern, then one should head for the less popular areas. In that regard, one area to investigate would be Wild Basin, in the southeast quadrant of the Park. It still receives a good number of visitors, but certainly less so than others. In the Park, most people never venture far from their cars, so if walking one already has an advantage, and distance from the trailheads will also help.

RMNP requires a permit for backcountry camping, which would also include a tag for one's car so it could remain overnight at trailhead parking areas. If not mistaken, camping is only allowed in designated areas. Some of these rangers (only some) could also provide good advice on which areas are most likely to suit your desires.

It really is the most beautiful place, with lovely trees, rocks and lichens and moss next clear rushing rivers. At best, in hidden places unlooked for mystery, indeed enchanting.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:27 PM
ndk
 
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 262,935 times
Reputation: 61
Indian Peaks Wilderness. Brainard Lake, Lake Isabelle, and Mt. Auduban.

I'd skip the Colorado Trail.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
Reputation: 7492
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndk View Post
Indian Peaks Wilderness. Brainard Lake, Lake Isabelle, and Mt. Auduban.

I'd skip the Colorado Trail.
Those do look pretty nice, I know the weather can vary but how do you think it will be like May 21 or so? Looks like the whole area is kinda around 10,000FT

Would it look like the really nice pictures?

ProTrails Photo Galleries: Brainard Lake Recreation Area: Lake Isabelle and Isabelle Glacier - Trail Photos
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:09 PM
ndk
 
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 262,935 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
Those do look pretty nice, I know the weather can vary but how do you think it will be like May 21 or so? Looks like the whole area is kinda around 10,000FT
It could be anything. Might be 75 and sunny(feels very warm with the intensity of sunshine at that altitude) and 35 at night. Might never get above freezing. Dress in layers and bring a bag rated to ~0.

You're likely to hit a fair amount of snow still on the ground at the higher elevations, and it'll be slushy. Progress will be slow, even with poles and spikes. There'll be pretty good greenery too and some flowers.

Judging by the tarn above Isabelle, those photos were probably taken in late June.

And yes, the Indian Peaks Wilderness(which originally was proposed to be part of RMNP, I believe) and RMNP are far and away the prettiest hikes accessible from Denver. There's nothing even close, IMHO, and I've been on quite a few of 'em.

EDIT: This is what you're more likely to see in late May.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LakeIsabelle.jpg

Last edited by ndk; 04-07-2011 at 04:27 PM.. Reason: Added link to May-esque pic
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:39 PM
ndk
 
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 262,935 times
Reputation: 61
Lemme do you one better. These photos are from July 16, 2010. Add a month and a half of snow and it'll look a lot more like that Wikipedia shot.

2-3 day hikes somewhat near Denver-miscellaneous-denver-276.jpg
Intrepid expedition fording waterfall

2-3 day hikes somewhat near Denver-miscellaneous-denver-297.jpg
Waterfall below Lake Isabelle, stairsteps are in the underlying rock formation

2-3 day hikes somewhat near Denver-miscellaneous-denver-249.jpg
Brainard Lake

2-3 day hikes somewhat near Denver-miscellaneous-denver-440.jpg
That lovely tarn

2-3 day hikes somewhat near Denver-miscellaneous-denver-580.jpg
Waterfall into Lake Isabelle
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:40 PM
 
Location: CO
2,533 posts, read 5,817,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
Those do look pretty nice, I know the weather can vary but how do you think it will be like May 21 or so? Looks like the whole area is kinda around 10,000FT

Would it look like the really nice pictures?

ProTrails Photo Galleries: Brainard Lake Recreation Area: Lake Isabelle and Isabelle Glacier - Trail Photos
Brainard Lake itself is about 10,000 ft. The trails go up from there. The passes and peaks are 11,000, 12,00, 13,000+ ft.

Beautiful area.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
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Looks really nice, I actually went on a snow shoe trip to Brainard lake and the CMC cabin back in March, totally different area.

Have to visit again in June/July but it may not be the best for our trip in May. Maybe RMNP will be a little better since you can probably stick to 8-10k feet
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
1,993 posts, read 4,182,664 times
Reputation: 2762
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
Those do look pretty nice, I know the weather can vary but how do you think it will be like May 21 or so? Looks like the whole area is kinda around 10,000FT
Would it look like the really nice pictures?
ProTrails Photo Galleries: Brainard Lake Recreation Area: Lake Isabelle and Isabelle Glacier - Trail Photos
Most of the trails will still be snow covered at least until mid-June but this year probably later than that. You can still hike, but you might want to take snowshoes.
And yes, those photos are exactly what it looks like -- but without flowers. Wildflowers don't even begin to bloom up there until late June/early July.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Colorado
1,893 posts, read 3,423,170 times
Reputation: 2328
I've done the first 6 segments of the Colorado trail (105.5 miles). I completed it in about 5.5 days. For segments 3 & 4, it's 28.8 miles so doable in 3 days depending on your pace. You could do segment 6 -Kenosha Pass to Gold Hill (Breckenridge). It's a nice backpacking trip and you end in Breck for some good food/beer!

I am planning to do the next 100 miles of the CT this summer. I typically go in July/August to be safe with the weather.

I can post some pics later.
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