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Old 12-08-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Hey all me and a couple of friends are starting to plan a backpacking trip for spring break 2012. We are looking for something within 8 hours driving distance. (Lubbock, TX). We'll probably be backpacking/hiking for 3-4 days and maybe a day in a ski town or something if one is near. Would LOVE for a loop that is like the Four Pass Loop near Aspen although it's a little too far away. But that's the type of scenery we are looking for: lakes, heavily wooded, mountains. We have mostly all our gear so that isn't an issue. So does anyone have any suggestions I can look into in the southern CO area or even northern NM maybe? Thanks
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Wink A hike from Lubbock

While I cannot point you to any specific trails, I can the obvious suggestion that New Mexico is closer to Lubbock.

Moreover, unlike places in Colorado, such as Rocky Mountain National Park (which is too far removed anyway), lots of open space and a general absence of tourists. One place you might try is in the vicinity of Taos Mountain, which serves as highest elevation in the state, and wilderness island surrounding by the Enchanted Circle. One way of approaching this is via a trail which begins near Red River and can end up at Taos Ski Valley. Some lovely mountain terrain up there, even at least one lake, and although such a hike might take one day (with provision of some vehicle or ride at the far end), one could still take their time and stretch it out.

Another option would be in the pass and mountainous terrain between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla from US 64. A lot of forest and otherwise more or less empty land up that way, and if one cannot get lost to their hearts content I do not know why not.

A bit farther removed north would be the long line of wilderness high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. Perhaps approached from such places as Westcliffe or Crestone, or no place in particular at all, if finding a trail then expect it to be kind of vertical.

Elsewhere in Colorado, and nearly as close, is a huge chunk in the southwest corner of the state defined by such places as the La Garita and Weminuche wilderness areas. You can really get lost there, and with option of various trails if willing to search them out. Perhaps you'll never care to venture as far, although I recall one small natural lake at surely well over 10,000 feet, its sold rock of a dam making a fine vantage to stand and feel in the middle of nowhere and yet almost touching civilization. For spread out way below in the far distance the town of Pagosa Springs in sight.

Seemingly close enough to touch, or at least a well-removed neighbor, and very long hike distant.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:49 PM
 
2 posts, read 7,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
While I cannot point you to any specific trails, I can the obvious suggestion that New Mexico is closer to Lubbock.

Moreover, unlike places in Colorado, such as Rocky Mountain National Park (which is too far removed anyway), lots of open space and a general absence of tourists. One place you might try is in the vicinity of Taos Mountain, which serves as highest elevation in the state, and wilderness island surrounding by the Enchanted Circle. One way of approaching this is via a trail which begins near Red River and can end up at Taos Ski Valley. Some lovely mountain terrain up there, even at least one lake, and although such a hike might take one day (with provision of some vehicle or ride at the far end), one could still take their time and stretch it out.

Another option would be in the pass and mountainous terrain between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla from US 64. A lot of forest and otherwise more or less empty land up that way, and if one cannot get lost to their hearts content I do not know why not.

A bit farther removed north would be the long line of wilderness high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. Perhaps approached from such places as Westcliffe or Crestone, or no place in particular at all, if finding a trail then expect it to be kind of vertical.

Elsewhere in Colorado, and nearly as close, is a huge chunk in the southwest corner of the state defined by such places as the La Garita and Weminuche wilderness areas. You can really get lost there, and with option of various trails if willing to search them out. Perhaps you'll never care to venture as far, although I recall one small natural lake at surely well over 10,000 feet, its sold rock of a dam making a fine vantage to stand and feel in the middle of nowhere and yet almost touching civilization. For spread out way below in the far distance the town of Pagosa Springs in sight.

Seemingly close enough to touch, or at least a well-removed neighbor, and very long hike distant.
Thanks I've heard good things about Weminuche wilderness, I'll be sure to research it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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We backpack sections & loops on the Colorado trail north of Durango & connecting trails; however, spring break could still find deep snow in the high country.

There are a number of great backpacking forums that I use for specific info:
http://www.backpacker.com/
BACKPACKING Message Board Discussion FORUM
Ultralight Backpacking Forums @ BackpackingLight.com

The top link, Backpacker magazine, has a specific Rocky Mt/Co/NM section with lots of local backpackers.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
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As Bongo stated, you'll probably encounter deep snow in the Colorado or New Mexico mountains during spring break. My backpacking trips over spring break were always in S. Utah, canyonlands country. You may get snow, but more than likely you won't be snowed out or post holing for miles on end. A favorite trip of mine was a trip along the Paria River, which is now part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Wilderness Areas There are also some really great routes in Canyonlands National Park.

I don't know about the places Idunn suggested in NM, but in Colorado you probably won't be able to access those trails until at least June, but even then you'll be dealing with quite a bit of snow.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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Apparently, the OP doesn't know squat about Colorado climate. Assuming his/her spring break is in March or early April, the high country of Colorado will still be in winter if it is a normal year. Deep snow in the high country. Even if the winter is mild, there will be no green grass, trees leaved out, etc. Nighttime temperatures will be well below freezing and could approach single digits. If this winter is a bad one, not only will the high country be snowed in, but the avalanche danger could be extreme in March and April. By the way, in a typical year, March and early April are the snowiest months of the year in the Colorado high country. If the OP is this ignorant of Colorado weather and climate, he or she is probably ill-prepared to deal with the reality of backpacking in Colorado's backcountry, anyway.
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Old 12-09-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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Wink Just not a popsicle

Uh, I overlooked the matter of how you might be hiking. So, as suggested, head elsewhere, and lower elevations at that.

Not exactly sure, but the lower portions of the Gila wilderness, north of Silver City, NM, might be at a low enough latitude to have little snow that early in spring. Would also, of course, as anywhere, depend on the local amount of snow that year, and any incoming storms.

On the other hand, you can still head to the Weminuche wilderness if planning on doing some, or most of, your hiking on snowshoes. Cross country skis are easier and faster, but require more skill to use, particularly if not on the flat but winding you up through a forest. In which case, depending, the snowshoes perhaps preferable. But a work out, and you should not expect to make the same time and distance as if on foot. But the others are right, at the higher elevations it will not be much fun hiking in snow up to your crotch.

Snow camping can be great. For one, unless on a snowmobile path, you'll be able to experience the mountains at a special time of year when few others do off the beaten path. If enough snow, constructing a snow cave can be a somewhat wet but special experience, and surprisingly great shelter, even with harshest conditions outside. But nowhere as simple as erecting a good, solid tent. However spring is also when Colorado often has a lot of significant snowfall. As much fun as it might be, winter camping requires some specialized skills, with a lower margin of error than when out in the summer. So unless wishing to possibly be found later in the spring or summer as a defrosting popsicle, best to know what one is doing, and if unsure of that, then stay below the snow line, and likely close in should the weather change.

Another option, head to a lodge somewhere in the mountains, and from there do all the hiking and winter acclimation you want -- with the prospect of hot coco and a warm fire a short distance away.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:20 PM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
147 posts, read 358,311 times
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Unless you have (very large) snowshoes, lots of very cold weather gear, lots of backcountry and snow camping experience, as well as true four season camping gear, this is not a good time to backpack in Colorado. There will be as much snow on the ground then as at any other time.

You would find more suitable backpacking options during this time in west Texas (Big Bend) or in southern New Mexico.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,899,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TF14 View Post
Hey all me and a couple of friends are starting to plan a backpacking trip for spring break 2012. We are looking for something within 8 hours driving distance. (Lubbock, TX). We'll probably be backpacking/hiking for 3-4 days and maybe a day in a ski town or something if one is near. Would LOVE for a loop that is like the Four Pass Loop near Aspen although it's a little too far away. But that's the type of scenery we are looking for: lakes, heavily wooded, mountains. We have mostly all our gear so that isn't an issue. So does anyone have any suggestions I can look into in the southern CO area or even northern NM maybe? Thanks
There's a lot of choices in the Southern San Juans. Get a map of the Weminuche Wilderness and check out the trails in the southeastern parts of the wilderness. There are some spectacular hikes to be had between Pagosa Springs and the Wolf Creek pass. This area in particular is very green and wooded, although as others have said, there's lots of snow before June.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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MUCH more natural beauty can be found in places like hot springs national park in Arkansas, less snobery also. You won't find any spandex wearing biking fools out there!
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