Aspen on the Colorado Trail Segment 5

Five Fall Hikes Near Denver

People who know me, know I live in Colorado to enjoy the summer and the fall as I am not a cold weather person.  Specifically, I prefer from mid-July to early August for wildflower season and mid to late September for fall colors.  In fact, I’ve become a bit of a hiking snob, and no longer hike much outside of these time frames.  As a result, I try to find the best hikes in the state.

Below is a list of five fall hikes within 1.5 hours of Denver off the 285 corridor:

Happy Hiking!

The Colorado Trail: Segments 16-17

The last time we tried backpacking Segments 15-17 on the Colorado Trail, we got washed out about four miles into Segment 16.  It was time to make up Segment 16 and 17.  We decided to do two day hikes rather than camp again.  Segment 17 was 20.4 miles with an overall net declining elevation in the southbound direction which we completed first as it was longer than Segment 16 which totaled 16.2 miles.  We had to tack on an additional 0.4 to each segment in order to get to the car parked on the 4-wheel drive road. Continue reading “The Colorado Trail: Segments 16-17”

The Colorado Trail: Segments 23-25…Spectacular Scenery!

Danelle, Nandi, and I drove up to Lake City and camped at the hostel in preparation for our 57 mile backpacking trip which would knock out segments 23-25 over the next 5 days and give us time to make the seven hour drive home with a short hiking day on Monday.

We got to the trailhead around 8 after Danelle maneuvered her SUV over a rough four-wheel drive road. We planned on an easy first day as Danelle had fallen to altitude sickness on this segment the previous year for the first time, and I tend to be prone to it as well, though we exhibit entirely different symptoms! Continue reading “The Colorado Trail: Segments 23-25…Spectacular Scenery!”

The Colorado Trail: Segments 21-22

About ten days ago, we experienced an unpleasant backpacking trip in the rain.  After 17 hours of a non-stop drizzle coupled with gear failure, we aborted the trip.  With this recent challenge burned in our minds, we thought twice about backpacking Segments 21-22 this past weekend as more rain was in the forecast…80% chance Friday, 20% chance Saturday, and 80% chance Sunday. Continue reading “The Colorado Trail: Segments 21-22”

The Colorado Trail: Segments 15-17 Aborted After 20 Miles

What an adventure hiking Segments 15-17 of the Colorado Trail.  Seventeen hours of rain resulted in significant gear failure and a trip termination.

We drove three hours to Fooses Creek on Thursday afternoon to begin our hike.  Parked on Highway 50, we followed Fooses Creek Road 2.8 miles to our campsite located just before the main trailhead.  While it isn’t terribly fun to walk a road, it was part of the CT and to finish the WHOLE trail, we had to make the walk.  Fortunately, the dirt road narrowed through some aspen groves which made it somewhat scenic and the intermittent sprinkle wasn’t too much of a bother.  The rain continued off and on for the evening which was a little annoying while trying to enjoy an evening around the campsite, but is was nothing compared to what we had in store for us. Continue reading “The Colorado Trail: Segments 15-17 Aborted After 20 Miles”

The Colorado Trail: Segments 18-20

Day 1: Segment 18 Mile 0-12.4

I think we may have backpacked the easiest segment of the Colorado Trail yet (segment 18). We finished over 12 miles in about five hours and with the exception of one steep climb, it was mostly a stroll with many stops for pictures, snacks and adjustments.

Our trip began Thursday night with a road trip from Denver to Saguache where got a hotel room with three double beds for $120…not bad. The room was peppered with signs. My favorite was, “Hold toilet handle down until all material passes through. Then lift handle up. Thank you.” Continue reading “The Colorado Trail: Segments 18-20”

Soloed Segments 11-13 on the Colorado Trail

Day 1 – Segment 11 (Miles 0-2.1)

Tonight I started my first solo backpacking trip. I did a practice run with some of my new stuff and the help of David the prior weekend at Conundrum Hot Springs. I felt good about everything except for the possibility of getting lost and hanging my food bag in a tree and away from bears.

The trail is well marked in these sections, and it is also well traveled, so getting lost likely wouldn’t have been an issue, but it always feels better to know there are backups in place. David gave me a short lesson on his GPS, and I had the Colorado Trail app on my phone with a battery that required regular charging. I decided to purchase an Ursack to protect my food, so I was good to go, as I had already arranged a shuttle to the trailhead.


Labor Day Weekend on The Colorado Trail – Segment 6

We waited until the end of school Friday to tackle segment 6 of the Colorado Trail over Labor Day weekend. Our first stop was Gold Hill to drop off the pick up car. Then we shuttled to Kenosha Pass. It was 6:45 pm before we were able to start our hike. We planned on getting 3 miles under our belts so that we only had to average 10 miles a day the rest of the weekend.

Hiking at Dusk

Our hike began in large aspen groves. We were about a week or two too early for the magnificent colors, but the leaves were beginning to turn yellow. After emerging from the aspen grove, we enjoyed a nice view of South Park at dusk before we clipped on our headlamps.

We passed two small creeks, and likely the ideal campground in the dark. A car camping group with bright lights and music were situated near the suggested camping spots, 3.1 miles into the segment, so we continued on into the valley and set up camp just as sprinkles fell. Continue reading “Labor Day Weekend on The Colorado Trail – Segment 6”

me enjoying the view on mount massive

Engaged on Segment 8 of the Colorado Trail! Also Backpacked Segments 9 and 10…

David and I set out to hike segments 8-10 of the Colorado Trail (the “CT”) from Copper to Leadville over five days which averaged just under eleven miles a day after including our side hike to the fish hatchery. On the sixth day, we tackled Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado. It was an eventful trip! Continue reading “Engaged on Segment 8 of the Colorado Trail! Also Backpacked Segments 9 and 10…”