Yeah, those are beautiful shots. Problem is, you're going to have to take trails that go up to get to most of them. I understand your concerns with the high ground out here, but those rugged peaks live up high. There are a few spots that you may be able to drive 'close' to and hike in a little bit. I'll dig around a few of my books and maps and see if I can find anything else that might work. Hopefully "food" will chime in, he knows all kinds of cool trails around here.
Salmon Lake seems to match the visual aspect of your request. The lake is just behind that grassy rise in the middle.
This is looking back and down at Salmon Lake.
Ah, maybe that's the snag. My guess on mileage could be:
- Day 1: 3-5 Miles after travel etc.
- Day 2: 10 miles with some photo ops
- Day 3: 10 miles with some photo ops
- Day 4: 3-5 miles, and back to the airport
Is that not enough to get up close an personal with some peaks?
Maybe, I am being lost in translation or maybe I'm missing the point . We are more than willing to 'work' for our scenery
Edit: Ah, this looks nice. It seems to run into the Gore Range Trail, which I have seen mentioned many times over at BPL forums.
Last edited by griffins; 07-12-2010 at 19:59.
So, are you looking for a 20 mile round-trip hike? If that's the case, I'd point you to the CT. Otherwise, there are a number of passes that you can drive to and hike out that are within a couple hours of Denver. But, your lungs aren't going to like it.
I'll think on it a little.
I know you are wanting to cover some serious miles, and consider yourself young and spry, but do NOT underestimate the altitude. The tallest point in your home state is what, a solid 4k feet lower than Denver? And most of the really fun hiking will be another 5 or more thousand feet above that. Every mile will feel like three or four, especially if you're climbing. And climb you will. Oh yes, climb you will.
That said, if you are willing to jump through the hoops, RMNP sounds like a good choice for you. There won't be a lot of snow on most of the actual hikes, but you'll see some snow capped mountains in the distance.
A map of the designated backcountry campsites can be found at:
You will have to pick up a free backcountry camping permit from a ranger station, and you can rent a bear canister at the same time. The rangers will also be happy to instruct you on proper bear protocol.
I'll echo my suggestion to start in the Emerald Lakes area - that region departs from Bear Lake Trailhead. There are two awesome in-and-out day hikes that hit amazing lakes for the destinations - Emerald Lake is one, leaving from the Bear Lake Trailhead, and Mills Lake is another, leaving from the next trailhead down - Glacier Gorge. You could make side trips to either or both of those lakes, and still have time to make up your own loop that connects any of the trailheads: Bierstadt, Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, Longs Peak, etc. Again, research the shuttle buses - you can leave your car in a parking lot and use the shuttles to move you between the trailheads.
Here's a picture of Mills Lake in the summertime:
And Dream Lake (one lake down from Emerald Lake on the Emerald Lake trail) in the winter:
Both of these in-and-out trips are well worth it. And they are a good way to gauge your lungs' ability to handle the altitude before you commit to 20 miles of thin air. Trust me, the altitude can totally destroy you. I took my fiance's younger brother, a fantastic athlete with 8-pack abs, hiking on Mills Lake trail a few months ago, and my fat butt ran circles around him because I'm moderately accustomed to the altitude. Not trying to discourage you, but make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew.
I've also been intentionally limiting my ideas to hammockable areas, since we're on hammock forums after all. If you are going to bring a tent, it opens up a lot of options. Mount Evans is fantastic, with a couple of great options for trails, and the opportunity to hike to the top of a 14k mountain and have a road at the summit to hitchhike back down if you find you can't breathe
Mustardman speaketh the truth about altitude. We were just out to CO from Ohio, on QUADS , and were constantly winded above about 7k. The sun is also brutal and the hat and sunglasses is the way to go. Have fun. Too bad you don't have more time. Call in sick from the airport when you land in Denver!
The gene pool needs a life guard.