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Thread: Colorado

  1. #1
    Member Clown's Avatar
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    Colorado

    Hi folks, I've fallen into the opportunity to take a road trip from Denver to Vegas, which will take me right through several national parks in Utah. I would like to use my time constructively and depending on time constraints, at least one good hike in the Denver area, doesn't have to be a 14er per say, but I would like to climb something fun. I have a few ideas, just looking to see if anyone has been out there and would recommend anything specific. It will be the end of August. I also plan on not coming back until I've climbed Angel's Landing, also wondering if anyone has hiked that?

    Thanks..
    Nature does nothing uselessly.
    Aristotle

  2. #2
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Canyonlands, Bryce, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and lots more are in the same general area as Zion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clown View Post
    It will be the end of August. I also plan on not coming back until I've climbed Angel's Landing, also wondering if anyone has hiked that?
    It will be hot in the SW in August--perhaps dangerously hot. Also thunderstorms and flash floods are serious risks out there. Carry lots of water in your car and on the trail.

    The approach to Angel's Landing isn't difficult, but it is ~3 ft wide with hundreds of feet of drop-off on both sides. (There is a hand chain to hold on to, but it can still be unnerving for some.) Also a very bad place to be in a thunderstorm. (I was chased off by a squall line after summiting...) If you do make it to the top, the view is very nice.

    Doug

  3. #3
    Member Dave Bourque's Avatar
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    Angel's Landing will go right to the top of your best dayhike list. Allow yourself a half a day to enjoy all the amazing scenery. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat and/or sunglasses. This is one hike you probably won't want your poles. Unless you are afraid of heights, the sections with the chains are not as bad as they look. It's quite possible to ascend and descend without using them. I saw a rattlesnake on the way up.

    As far as Colorado, a recommended half day hike is Estes Cone (6.5 miles RT, 1,600' gain to 11,006'). If you have more time Sky Pond is a spectacular place (10 miles, 1,700' gain). A most challenging "dayhike" is Longs Peak - a full day effort with start time around 3am (16 miles, 4,855' gain, tops out at 14,259' so acclimation is a strong consideration). All of these places come highly recommended.

    http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/longspeak.htm

    Dave

  4. #4
    Senior Member weatherman's Avatar
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    End of August- great time. Snow will be basically gone. Fewer thunderstorms, though if El Nino kicks in as predicted the monsoon season may last longer than usual.
    Anyway, how much time do you have? (acclimatization- though it won't kill you, I wouldn't subject an unacclimatized friend to a 14er)
    Does it have to be in the Denver Metro area or can it be on your way to Vegas?
    I'll assume not much time and within 2 hours' drive of Denver.
    Estes Cone is great and near RMNP so you can check that out; RMNP has some great hikes to high alpine lakes (Bear Lake TH then go where you will).
    Flagstaff Mountain near Boulder is a half day hike to some great views, crowded.
    If really pressed for time on your way to Vegas, Herman Gulch is literally 30 seconds off I-70 Exit 218 (so an hour from Denver), starts at 10,000 and goes up to a beautiful tarn with a seasonal waterfall at one end, surrounded by 13ers, at about 12,000, 3+ miles each way. Crowded on weekends, of course.
    Mt Evans and its surroundings are very pretty, head to Idaho Springs then up Rt 103. You can drive within 120 vertical feet of the top at 14,265, but better to go to Echo Lake and hike up to and through the Chicago Lakes, or stop at Summit Lake and bag the summit if you feel good and weather is OK.
    From the I-70 corridor, you can easily reach 3 other 14ers: Grays, Torreys, Bierstadt. All very popular and class 1-2 hikes.

    Of course, if you want to hike on your way to Vegas, the possibilities are limitless. My current favorite area is to the SW around Gunnison and Crested Butte.

    Have fun!
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

  5. #5
    Member Clown's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Some great ideas, some of those I have looked at already actually. I'll be spending a few days out in Denver so I should be able to acclimate appropriately. I'll be traveling from Denver through Utah to the Vegas area so I'm open to anything in between. Hiked out in Arizona and the Grand Canyon before and although I can't wait to go back, it's a little out of the way for this trip unfortunately.
    Nature does nothing uselessly.
    Aristotle

  6. #6
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Colorado National Monument, Garden of the Gods, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison are all a little closer to Denver.

    There are also some dinosaur fossils in a road cut just west of Denver near Red Rocks, if that is of interest (with a several hour walk nearby). (on W Alameda Pkwy, just W of Rte 470.)

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-26-2014 at 12:33 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I'll defer to others on something near Denver but Rocky Mountain NP is not far off the route so I'd start looking there.

    The Colorado Plateau, as the unique area of Utah, SW Colorado, and northern Arizona and New Mexico are known, have a lifetime of hikes that you will want to go back for. For starters I suggest what is known as the "High Five", "the five premier hikes of the Colorado Plateau" as my t-shirt boasts. They are not that high and fairly easy to do.

    1. Navajo Loop - Bryce Canyon NP There are a number of loops that can be combined with this to take in more of this fascinating geology.

    2. Delicate Arch - Arches NP This is only a couple miles one way with modest elevation gain but it is almost entirely on south facing limestone which bakes in the summer sun. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

    3. Angels Landing - Zion NP Start this early in the morning before the sun gets too strong because once the canyon approaching it is in the sun, it bakes, and it is steep. There are numerous switchbacks so that eases the grade of what is mostly like a paved path. The last half mile is what turns some people around but I don't think anyone who is comfortable peakbagging will have any problem here. You can get a separate t-shirt bragging about this one. I'd also suggest the Narrows in Zion, a hike up the Virgin River where you wade part of it. Be especially aware of weather outside the park because you can get surprised and trapped by a flash flood in here.

    4. Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde NP There are several cliff dwellings you can visit in this park but this is the most notable one. You must hike it with a guide and they are regularly scheduled during the tourist season. The hairy part is the ladders you use to climb up into the chambers.

    5. Rim Trail - Grand Canyon NP This is located on the south rim which is a zoo during the summer. It is about 13 miles long and offers spectacular vistas as well as the most notable attractions within the park, short of descending into the canyon. It is flat and I'm glad we did it in winter, when there are still some crowds but not as bad as summer ... the fact that there was some snow and ice on some exposed parts of the trail made it a bit exciting but the big thing here are the different views you get. Frankly, I'd defer this and stick with the North Rim. There are several good hikes including one in which you can drop into the canyon as far as you have time (and reservations) for. Also, the north rim being 1000 ft. higher than the south rim, it is cooler. It also is less crowded.

    Looking at a map you might decide there is not enough time to visit Mesa Verde and then go to Moab so I sugggest you decide on either a northern or a southern route. The northern route would take you from Denver to Moab (Arches and Canyonlands), Capitol Reef is on the route and there are some interesting dayhikes there ... pick one ... then to Bryce Canyon, Zion, the North Rim and finally Las Vegas.

    The southern route would take you to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Zion, the North Rim and on to Las Vegas.

    If forced to choose, I'd take the northern route.

    One more thing. Wear good hiking boots even though some of these trails are short and not very rough. The heat and hardness of limestone trails can wear on your feet.
    Last edited by Stan; 03-26-2014 at 06:47 PM.

  8. #8
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    IMAO The Narrows in Zion is not to be missed.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    Rocky Mt National Park is fantastic, Twin Sisters is a good hike to acclimatize on. Lots of other great peaks including Longs. We stayed in Estes Park
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

    http://www.onchristspath.com/4Kpage.html

  10. #10
    Senior Member carla's Avatar
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    Flattop Mountain in RMNP is a great one, see http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails...p-mountain.htm Great views--gets you up to above 12,000, so some acclimation before does help.

    Re Angel's Landing, I have to admit that I just couldn't stomach it. I wouldn't say that I have a fear of heights per se, and am something of a peakbagger (here in NE and many other places) but something about the exposure on Angel's Landing was too scary for me.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member MikePS's Avatar
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    Though not a summit, Chasm Lake in RMNP is a great hike, agree with Flattop as a peak, also consider a loop around Emerald and Dream Lake including Alberta Falls, beautiful country. Worth a check with the Park, not sure what last fall's flooding did to some of these trails, good luck and have fun!

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