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Searching for challenging hikes near Denver

Original Post
Jim Giles · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Hi All! I'd love some tips on interesting hikes I can get to from Denver. I'm at a conference that finishes Saturday lunchtime and don't have to be back at the airport until 7pm on Sunday. Planning on renting a car and driving into the mountains. Any thoughts on where I should head? I'm looking for something challenging. I'm an experienced hiker but have never hiked in the Rockies. I won't have camping gear with me. Thanks!

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

How challenging? What kind of mileage? Elevation gain? Just hiking or class 3/4 scrambling? Tons of stuff west of Boulder in the Indian Peaks and in Rocky Mountian National Park. A few more detail might help.

Mike Lane · · Centennial, CO · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 905

A quaint hike I like is up to Crater Lakes above the East Portal Moffat Tunnel. 4 miles, a bit steep for the last 1/3. Then there's an upper lake that is a scramble and gets above timberline. Gorgeous spot.

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123

Do the 5 peak traverse over boulder. Something like 16 miles, 7,000' of net elevation gain. Remarkable, unbroken 360* views from kansas to the peaks of the continental divide. Can be easily done with 1 car, then a $15 uber ride back to your car at the end of the day.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

What, we didn't immediately recommend the Keyhole Route?

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 290

Since you get done at noon Saturday and it gets dark before 8, there's not much time. You might want to check out Greys or Torrey's. You'll only get half way up but it's steep and alpine and close to Denver. Rent at least a small SUV for this trailhead. Chicago Lakes trail at Mt Evans is another close option. Herman Gulch is a nice hike and closest and probably your best bet with the limited time. These would all be better done by getting up very early Sunday in order avoid lightning.

Stephen Berwanger · · Montrose, CO · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 290

I think you should do the complete Colorado Trail. Or maybe solo the "Casual Route" on the diamond?

Jon Banks · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 145

Hike a 14er. Bierstadt or Evans are close, good options. If you like scrambling, do both, via the Sawtooth Traverse. It's a really fun hike.

PRRose · · Boulder · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 0

After lunch on Saturday you could try Torrey's, Grays, Evans, or Bierstadt. Trailheads are within an hour of Denver and the standard routes are less than six hours car to car. Challenging alternatives are available to the standard routes--consult for options.

In my opinion, the best hiking in the area is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Among the more challenging hikes (that don't require any class 4 or 5) are:

Navajo Peak via Airplane Gully
Mount Neva
Arapaho Peaks from Fourth of July TH

These would be in the 7-8 hour range so an 8 am start on Sunday would leave time to get to DIA.

More ambitious time wise (12 hours) would be Long's Peak via either the Keyhole or the Loft (or up the Loft and down the Keyhole). Leave at 2:30 am and you'll probably make your plane.

Jim Giles · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks so much! I'll look into those options. Really appreciate the tips.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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