Multi Day Hikes in Colorado
August 2, 2007 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for a 3 day hike in Colorado?

More info:

2 hikers, friends from a study abroad trip. He's a strong hiker, I'm in pretty good shape but not a mileage machine by any means. We're looking for a relatively laid-back, 3 day hike in Colorado. We're driving out of Colorado Springs, and would rather not drive more than 3 hours or so from here. Alpine scenery is a plus, doing a side-hike for a 14'er is a plus, and a lack of other people is also a plus. Could be streached to 4 days. Oh, and we're well stocked on gear, etc.
posted by craven_morhead to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There's a number of hikes that start out from the Vail tourist board parking lot; it's been a few years but I remember them being well-marked That, or good-old-fashioned Maroon Bells.
posted by notsnot at 11:06 AM on August 2, 2007

It's closer to 6 hours from Colorado Springs, but the Uncompaghre National Forest north of Telluride has everything you're looking for (I'm not sure about 14k footers, but I did a ~7 hour day hike there several years ago that brought us well over 12k).
posted by saladin at 11:24 AM on August 2, 2007

I did an excellent three-day trip in Rocky Mountain National Park last October.

Trip went something like this: Day 1, hike from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead to Boulder Brook Campsite, drop gear, eat lunch, and continue to Longs Peak (too much to do in one day in October: we had to turn around a little short of the summit because it was getting too late), return to campsite for the night. Day 2, hike to Glacier Gorge Campsite, again, set up camp and drop gear, then head to Black Lake and explore that area. Day 3, hike to Andrews Glacier, then back out to trailhead. If you spent two nights at Boulder Brook, you could definitely bag Long's Peak. Or you could climb up to the campsite just below the summit (Boulder Field) and do it from there, then stay at Boulder Brook on your way back down.

Amazing scenery, perfect weather, except near the trailhead, we saw only a few people per day, two of whom were following our route a day behind us, so we saw them twice. It was an awesome trip, and it looked like there were many more great options all over the place that we didn't have time to explore. It was not exactly easy hiking, but it was not remotely as hard or as rugged as many trips I've made in the NH Whites, it's definitely a laid-back trip for someone reasonably fit. Less than 3 hours from Colorado Springs, and completely worth the drive.

You need to prearrange permits for use of the backcountry sites well in advance, just FYI.

Info on RMNP Backcountry Campsites where we stayed.

General Info on RMNP Backcountry Camping, including links to reservation and fee information.

RMNP has, like, 200 backcountry sites, so you could really get somewhere remote if you want.

Finally, some photos of the trip, if you're interested in seeing what it was like.

If you're actually interested in a trip like this, and have some specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them. Email's in my profile.
posted by dseaton at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2007

Are you backpacking or doing day hikes based from a centralized location that you return to every day? My recommendation for location is the same either way, but the structure of the trip would change based on your answer.

Go to Rocky Mountain National Park. My dad and I went there for a long weekend a few weeks ago. He's a world traveler who has hiked the Andes and toured Africa (among others), and he said that the scenery there was as good if not better than anywhere else he has been. I'm not nearly as experienced in world travels but it is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been.

The highlight of the trip (for us) was doing the Sky Pond/Lake of Glass/Timberline Falls hike. It is unreal. If you want to conquer a 14'er, Long's Peak is right there.

If you are just day hiking, stay in Estes Park. It's a neat little town and has easy access to the park.
posted by jtfowl0 at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2007

jtfowl0, most likely backpacking, not basecamping. Starting at a trailhead, and doing either a stretch or loop that leaves us at 2 different campsites and gets us back to the car.

Thanks for the suggestions so far gang. Keep 'em coming if you've got more.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2007

If you go, you sound like an experienced hiker, so I'll avoid the "watch out for the fast changing weather" speech, but do take the strongest bug repellent you can find. The mosquitoes around the lakes are awful.

If you are a fly fisherman at all, by all means take a rod and some tiny dry flies. The stream you follow up the trail is chock-full of monster rainbows and cutthroats. I am still kicking myself for not taking fishing gear.
posted by jtfowl0 at 12:09 PM on August 2, 2007

Day 1: Mueller State Park
Mueller is a great (fairly new) state park about an hour and half west of Colorado Springs. You could easily spend one day hiking there around the loop (or cross country skiing in winter).
Day 2: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
A short drive farther west, lots of hiking opportunities around there as well.
Day 3: Eleven Mile State Park
Hike around the entire reservoir.
posted by mattbucher at 12:29 PM on August 2, 2007

Colony lakes Crestone Needle go here you will not be disappointed .
posted by hortense at 9:08 PM on August 2, 2007

Slide show!
posted by hortense at 9:13 PM on August 2, 2007

Mt. Elbert. Pertiest place I ever been - or in the top 3 anyway. It's a laid back hike to the highest place in the highest state.
posted by kc0dxh at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2007

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