Tag Archives: Fall

Flat Tops Wilderness 50-Miler Loop, Flattops Wilderness, CO – (Trip #CO-010)

Flat Tops wilderness backpacking loop

guidetrails.com – Shingle Peak, Flattops Wilderness

One of the most coveted scouting awards is the 50-Miler. This trip was built to meet this challenge as a backpacking loop trip in the Flattops Wilderness of Colorado. High, wild and remote, this volcanic region provides untamed wilderness where Teddy Roosevelt once tramped.

Starting from Stillwater Trailhead (at Stillwater Reservoir) southwest of Yampa, CO, you’ll average just over 10 miles a day to complete a large loop in the northeastern side of the Flat Tops in a counterclockwise fashion. A significant portion of the trip is walked along the eroded and extinct volcano that gives the area its name. Additionally, this trip offers excellent fishing as well as climbs up the Devil’s Causeway (scary narrow ridgeline, be safe) and along the Chinese Wall (huge rock escarpment).

Download the Itinerary and or open a 3 Page Topo Map. The Trails Illustrated Topo Map is useful for this trip. Right click and download the .gpx File for waypoints and tracks of this trip. BANG!!!

awards backpacking trip

50-Miler BSA Award

Conejos River Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO – (Trip #CO-018)

Conejos Falls

South San Juan Wilderness Loop Hike

The last confirmed grizzly bear sighting in Colorado was in the South San Juan Wilderness in 1979. Reports are that grizzlies might remain in the area, just no confirmed sightings.  The bear history and the incredible Conejos Falls is the draw for this extremely remote trip.

The loop trail is 50+ miles southwest of Alamosa, CO and takes you to the headwaters of the Conejos River. Totaling a short 14 miles, the real difficulty is the altitude in that you’ll cross Continental Divide (via the Continental Divide Trail.

Trailhead is along FR 247 past Platoro Reservoir in the South San Juan Wilderness. Trailhead elevation is approximately 10,200′ with a highest altitude around 12,200′. Total loop distance is approximately 14.0 miles in 3 days of hiking (4/6/4).

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Pine Creek Loop, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness – (Trip #CO-017)

sasquatch

sasquatch

Sasquatch or Big Foot resides in the Colorado mountains…according to Animal Planet! Based on our thorough and scientific analysis, this is the area of a lot of sightings! In fact, my buddy Richie asked if I knew where to find Big Foot…he wants to go Squatch’n!

In addition, this excellent loop trip through the eastern edge of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, has you passing by Littlejohns Cabin. The trailhead is about 10 miles northwest of Buena Vista, CO. Totaling a short 14.9 miles, the real difficulty is the altitude in that you’ll cross 13,000′ in route to the cabins.

The Frenchman Creek Trailhead is approximately 10 miles northwest of Buena Vista, Colorado in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Without a 4WD vehicle, you’ll add a couple extra miles to your trip as the final couple miles are a tough dirt road.  Trailhead elevation is approximately 9,400′ and high camp on day 1 is around 10,400′. Total loop distance is approximately 14.9 miles in 3 days of hiking (6.34/2.23/6.7).

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Here’s some Colorado Sasquatch Video for your enjoyment!

Rich Creek / Rough and Tumbling Creek Loop, Buffalo Peaks Wilderness – (Trip # CO-016)

guidetrails.com - Cutthroat

guidetrails.com – Cutthroat

Backpacking and fishing perfectly matched on this excellent loop trip through the eastern edge of the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, about 15 miles north of Fairplay, Colorado. Totaling a short 11.4 miles, the only difficulty may be encountered on the climb up on the first day to the upper reaches of Rich Creek. Fishing is reported as excellent on these creeks.

The Rich Creek-Tumble Creek Trailhead is approximately 15 miles southwest of Fairplay, Colorado in the Buffalo Creek Wilderness. Trailhead elevation is approximately 10,000′ and high camp on day 2 at Rough and Tumble Creek is around 11,200′. Total loop distance is approximately 11.4 miles in 2+ days of hiking (3.3.5/3.46/4.61).

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

The Grand Loop, Rocky Mountain National Park – (Trip# CO-015)

Long Peak

Rocky Mountain National Park, Longs Peak

This trip will blow your mind. A long loop backpacking trip that circumnavigates the interior of Rocky Mountain National Park (images). It includes off-trail travel, some class-3 climbing up the back of Longs Peak and a chance for a very unique and remote trip in with a very popular National Park. This is a high adventure, difficult trip for strong backpackers.

You will need to get your backcountry camping permit from the Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office. The permit application is found of page 7 of the national park’s brochure. You’ll need the following campsites in this order: (92) Renegade, (84) South Meadow, (68) Lake Verna, (48) Hunters Creek, (38) Boulder Brook. As with all national parks, they limit the group size to 6. You may have to get creative if sites are unavailable or your group is larger.

Starting from Bear Lake Trailhead you head up and over Flattop Mountain to Renegade Campsite.The trip totals 43.4 miles during which you’ll circumnavigate the park in a counterclockwise fashion. A short stretch along the road at the north side of Grand Lake will quickly put you back in the woods. You can also resupply here if you need to. Take note of the off-trail sections on the topo maps that are denoted by the dashed lines.

Download the Itinerary and or open a full size Topo Map or the 4 Sections Map. Right click and download the .gpx File for waypoints and tracks of this trip. BANG!!!

Mt. Sherman 14ner Camp/Hike – (Trip# CO-014)

Ridge climbing to Mt Sherman

guidetrails.com – Final Ridge to Mt. Sherman Summit

Great first time fourteener trip (climbs over 14,000′) into the high alpine environment. The trail passes through old mining buildings and equipment leftover from a harsher time. Trailhead is  southwest of Fairplay, CO and is near Denver. Elevation of trailhead is approximately 11,240′ at camp/trailhead and summit is officially 14,036′. Round trip distance is approximately 8 miles and route finding is straightforward…just follow the conga-line of people! Camp in the trailhead parking lot the night before for an early start. The high alpine environment is very unique and there are loads of marmots and pika along the trail. Updated conditions reports can be found on the 14er.com web page.

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peak Wilderness (Trip #CO-013)

If standing before pointy grey granite spire-like peaks blows your hair back, than this is the trip for you. Photos of this beauty are all over the internet…just look here! This trip is a backpacking out and back to the base of Lone Eagle Peak, one of Colorado’s most striking mountains. The Indian Peaks wilderness shares a border with Rocky Mountain National Park and has the mountains to prove it.

This is an excellent backpacking out and back  trip through the western Indian Peaks Wilderness, about 10 miles northeast of Granby, Colorado (fairly near Denver). Totaling 14.0 miles, the only difficulty may be encountered on the climb out of the trailhead  to Crater Lake. Also, given that the trail is near Denver, significant numbers of people may be on the trails.

The Monarch Lake Trailhead is approximately 10 miles northeast of Granby, Colorado in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Trailhead elevation is approximately 8,400′ and high camp on day 2 at Upper Cataract Lake is around 10,375′. Total distance is approximately 14.0 miles in 2+ days of hiking (3/4/7). If you’re feeling burly, you can make it to Crater Lake in one day and have extra time for exploring. Fishing in the alpine lakes in this loop has been known to be fairly good.

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Eaglesmere Lake/Cataract Lake Loop, Eagles Nest Wilderness, CO – (Trip #CO-012)

This is an excellent backpacking loop trip through the eastern Eagles Nest Wilderness, about 25 miles north of Silverthorne, Colorado (fairly near Denver). Totaling 14.6 miles, the only difficulty may be encountered on the climb out of the trailhead up to Eaglesmere Lake. Also, given that the trail is near Denver, significant numbers of people may be on the trails.

The Eaglesmere Trailhead is approximately 25 miles north of Silverthorne, Colorado in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Trailhead elevation is approximately 8,700′ and high camp on day 2 at Upper Cataract Lake is around 10,770′. Total loop distance is approximately 14.6 miles in 2+ days of hiking (3.5/5.5/5.6).  A guy named Dondo has some interesting photo in his blog post about the area which you can see here. Fishing in the alpine lakes in this loop has been known to be fairly good.

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Dark Canyon Loop, Ragged Wilderness, CO – (Trip #CO-010)

Dark Canyon, Raggeds Backpack Trail

guidetrails.com – Dark Canyon, Raggeds Wildernerss, CO

High, long, remote and moderately challenging loop trip through the Raggeds Wilderness in  Central Colorado. Totaling 22.5 miles, the miles and the first day climb up the Devil’s Staircase make this a bit more challenging of a trip. Alternately, the mileage can be reduced by camping at the lower Silver Creek and not completing the loop.

The Anthracite Creek Trailhead is approximately 60 miles south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in the Raggeds Wilderness. Trailhead elevation is approximately 6,800′ and high camp is around 10,250′. Total loop distance is approximately 22.5 miles in 2+ days of hiking (4.7/10/8.5).  Did I say this trip is remote? 60 Miles south of Glenwood Springs doesn’t see much traffic. As a result the area has abundant wild animals including elk and deer.

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.

Rainbow Lakes-Red Canyon Loop, Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, CO – (Trip #CO-008)

Mt. Zirkel

guidetrails.com – Red Canyon Topo

High, long, remote and challenging loop trip through the Mount Zirkel Wilderness in North Central Colorado. Totaling 23 miles including a long stretch on the Continental Divide make for a high and rugged trip.

The Rainbow Lake Trailhead is approximately 20 miles west of Walden, Colorado in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. Use this Google Navigation for driving directions from near Granby, CO. Elevation is approximately 8,700′ to a little over 11,800′ feet. Total loop distance is a whopping 24 miles in 2+ days of hiking (3.8/12/8). Views of Morning Light on Mt. Ethel and the deep Red Canyon are striking on this trip. Did I say this trip is remote? As a result the area has abundant wild animals including elk and deer.

Download the Itinerary and or open a Topo Map. Right click and save the .gpx File.