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  1. #1

    Default Snow unpassable- Ideas

    Arriving in Denver this weekend, but snow in segments 6,7,8,9,12,13,15,16,20-28.

    We have 12 days, hiking segments 1-5 will be too short.

    Any ideas flying from Denver?

  2. #2

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    Got a tip, at segment 4 leaving for a loop to Kenosha Pass. Someone have information like distance distance, navigation?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdscope View Post
    Got a tip, at segment 4 leaving for a loop to Kenosha Pass. Someone have information like distance distance, navigation?
    Seg 4+5 are in the Lost Creek wilderness where bikes are not allowed. There's a 71 mile bike detour around these sections, which I suppose could be used for a loop. Could be an interesting walk back that way and might actually see more wild life down there. The one thing I did like about the Lost Creek wilderness was the lack of mountain bikes and a look similar to NH.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Got your message Birdsong.... quick answer, yes kinda complicated, but I can provide plenty of details on how to do a nice loop that includes sections 1-5 as well.

    One issue: where to resupply? I don't think you want to carry nearly 2 weeks of food. You can resupply off of Kenosha pass at the end of section 5, by hitching to Jefferson. Or you can resupply after section 3 with a hitch into Bailey, but that hitch along a dirt road is tougher, plus it doesn;t get you much because you're only 2 days or so into your hiking if you start from Denver.

    In a nutshell, my original thought with your earlier post is to first simply hike sections 1-5, then resupply in Jefferson, then get back to the end of section 5 at Kenosha pass. From there, hike back towards the east along a dirt road, county road 872 (but might not be well marked) for a few miles up to above treeline to near a peak called North Twin Cone. From there you can do a nice tundra walk in between two more peaks, "Blaine" and "South Twin Cone" (or climb them, if you want) to a saddle where the Ben Tyler trail crosses.Turn left on this trail hiking a short way down where the Craig Creek trail branches off to the east. Follow this trail down into a nice green valley, plenty of water and camp sites, for about 8 miles. You'll eventually meet the Brookside McCurdy trail. You are basically hiking back to the east parallel to the CO trail sections 5 and 4. Take this Brookside McCurdy trail towards the south, climbing up to a saddle, then descending back down to the CO trail in section 4. Turn left on the CO trail, back-hiking along section 4 for a few miles, until the Brookside McCurdy trail branches off to the right, south. Take this trail for a couple miles until you reach the Lost Park campground. From here, you have many loop options, anywhere form 30 to 50 miles or more, through some absolutely stunning terrain, way prettier than anything you've hike so far to get to this point.

    I can supply map Jpegs and GPS routes you can load into your favorite phone app for all of this.

    The trails are marked, but sometimes not very well in places. If you do any of this, I highly recommend following a GPS, plus get ahold of a paper map, specifically this map:

    https://www.amazon.com/Tarryall-Moun...35498271&psc=1


    So let me know if you're interested, and I'll supply further details on this loops south of the CO trail. Another option, of course, is to do one of these loops along the way when you're hiking segment 4 the first time. But there is the resupply issue. There are no good places to resupply along the loops I'm taking about, unless you have a friend in Denver that can meet you at any number of places along the way. Actually, at the far south end of the outside loop south of the CO trail, there is a good paved road that leads north to Jefferson, about 25 miles. This road does get some decent traffic, might be a decent hitch.

    I'm attaching a general large-scale overview map of what I'm talking about. The thick black line is the CO trail, the colorful loops on the bottom are the various loop options. The orange line then green line towards the top are the back-hike trails to get you back to the loops.

    Coincidentally, we were doing a big 25 mile Lost Creek loop yesterday which included a bunch of the CO trail, and we met a guy from Florida who had hike the CO trail all the way to copper, through the "impassable" sections 6 and 7, then decided section 8 was too tough, so turned around and back-hiked towards Denver (again, through those "impassable" sections 6=7), and was about to enter one of these loops.
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  5. #5

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    Agree Rob, will resupply in Jefferson, makes no sense when still in 3 in Bailey. Then the trail till segment 4 and the loop. Will have Natgeo map 105 in Denver, and any navigation doubts will contact you from there. Thanks, and will keep posting.

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    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdscope View Post
    Agree Rob, will resupply in Jefferson, makes no sense when still in 3 in Bailey. Then the trail till segment 4 and the loop. Will have Natgeo map 105 in Denver, and any navigation doubts will contact you from there. Thanks, and will keep posting.
    I'll post a clear map and description this afternoon (I'm tied up until later this afternoon), and if you'd like, I can send you a GPS track and some waypoints (based on the map). Send me email address via private message if you want this GPS data.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    I'll post a clear map and description this afternoon (I'm tied up until later this afternoon), and if you'd like, I can send you a GPS track and some waypoints (based on the map). Send me email address via private message if you want this GPS data.
    Ok ,

    Sending

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    So here's my complete description of a possible add-on loop for when hiking the CO trail sections 1-5 (Denver to Kenosha pass). I have hiked all of these trails many times, the loops south of the main CO trail include some stunning terrain. I always see lots of wildlife, including deer, Elk and these days, Moose. I've yet to see bears in this area, but I think they are around.

    See the two attached pics for reference. One pic is the north and west ends of this total area, the other is the southern end, with the loop hikes. The CO trail sections 4-5 are shown as the black line east to west in the 1st pic.

    Anyway, as previously discussed, my thought is to hike the CO trail sections 1-5, resupply in Jefferson, then get a ride back to Kenosha pass and hike back sort of parallel to the CO trail, making your way to the Lost Park campground where these loop options start. This campground and trailhead is shown on the first pic in the lower right corner. It is also shown on the second pic in the upper left corner.

    If you want to keep it simple, you can just retrace your hike along sections 5 then part of section 4 to a 3 KM connector trail that will take you to the Lost Park Campground. This connector trail is shown in the first pic in blue in the lower right corner, heading south to the Lost Park campground. This is a developed National Forest campground, usually full this time of year, Iím not suggesting camping there, though you could if thereís a spot and youíre willing to pay the fee.

    A prettier and more exciting option would be to take a different path back to this point, hiking some new terrain. The start of this option (from Kenosha pass) is shown with the orange line in the upper left of the first pic. To get on this orange path, from Kenosha pass, walk the short dirt road back to where section 5 ends in the small parking lot, south of the highway. Just beyond (south) where the CO trail comes out of the woods, there is a dirt road. Walk this dirt road for quite a distance, maybe 10 KM, ascending a good 600 meters (2000 feet). Make sure you stay on the main road, there might be some side roads. It is a rough dirt road, but easy walking. The road eventually fades out as you approach a peak, called North Twin Cone. No need to summit this peak (there is a weather station on top), better stuff ahead.

    At this point, head east, still ascending, aiming for a saddle between two peaks (Blaine and S. Twin Cone). See map for reference. Feel free to stroll up one of these peaks, easy tundra walking, stunning views from either.

    Keep walking east until you get to a trail that crosses north/south. This is the Ben Tyler trail. Turn left (north) on this trail, and follow it down for less than 2 KM (red line on 1st map). There is another trail, the Craig Creek trail, that branches off to your right, southeast, the green line on the first map. Make sure you donít descend too far on the Ben Tyler trail. Donít miss this Craig Creek turnoff. You can now hike this trail for about 16 KM all the way back to a junction with the CO trail in section 4, labeled "Junction 1" on the map.

    Once you're at "Junction 1", hike towards Denver (east) along the CO trail for a few KM until you get to a trail junction, turn right and follow the blue line south to the Lost Park Campground, about 3 KM. Here is where you can start a fantastic loop hike. The second pic shows the loop options. You can go either direction from the campground, I cannot think of any reason to go one way or the other.

    Let's assume clockwise, so you'd head east from the campground along the Wigwam trail for 17 KM (red line). Plenty of water and lots of camp spots all along here. BTW, I nearly always see moose along this section. Be wary of Moose, they can be dangerous if spooked.

    After finishing this red line 17 KM, you'll get to a junction, and you'll have to make a decision to stay left and continue on the yellow line called the Goose Creek trail (10 KM) followed by the Hankins Pass trail (7 KM) then the Lake Park trail (7 KM) and a short connector (Purple, 1.5 KM). Total of about 26 KM for this bottom loop segment.

    The other option is to turn right on the McCurdy trail and hike through the stunning Refrigerator Gulch. 12 KM will get you to the same spot as the 26 KM on the other option. It all depends on your itinerary, food supply, etc.

    Once you hit that junction (blue, purple, yellow), head west on the yellow Brookside McCurdy trail, itís 17 KM back to the Lost Park Campground. Total if you do the lower loop would be 60 KM, or if you take the blue line McCurdy trail, it would be about 46 KM.


    As you hike along the Brookside McCurdy trail, the yellow line, consider a side trip and hiking up Bison Peak. It is truly some incredible terrain. The black dotted line is a route.

    Note: Sometimes, there is a definite lack of water sources along the Brookside McCurdy trail, the yellow line. Iíd carry plenty for this section. As of a couple days ago, there is still some snow up high in north-facing crevices/gullies that you could melt for water if the high sources are dry.

    I know this is all pretty complicated. Perhaps itís just easier to add the loop as youíre passing by the trail junction the first time on segment 4.

    The third pic attached was taken yesterday, along the high route (orange line).

    Enjoy, and holler back with any questions. I'll email you a GPS file (.gpx format) with these tracks and waypoints.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I told you. All he needed was a stage. You're lookin good CR.

  10. #10

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    Glad having kept the hike to CT, instead of a last minute option, thanks a lot CR. Arrived here in Denver, it's hot! What do you think will be the temperatures till segment 5, and the loops, the lows at night?
    Waiting to return the courtesy in Brazil, Dogwood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdscope View Post
    Glad having kept the hike to CT, instead of a last minute option, thanks a lot CR. Arrived here in Denver, it's hot! What do you think will be the temperatures till segment 5, and the loops, the lows at night?
    Waiting to return the courtesy in Brazil, Dogwood.
    Yeah, it got kinda hot, finally. Those first couple segments are going to be toasty, try to get early starts, especially Waterton Canyon (the 1st 10K of segment 1). And again in segment 2, most of it (maybe 8 of 11 miles) is exposed and hot, due to a massive forest fire 16 years ago. It's actually kind of pretty, the new growth, lots of flowers, etc.

    It's supposed to cool off a few degrees over the next few days, should be a high of around 30C in Denver, not too bad.

    Once you get higher, past segment 3, expect the lows in the 40's F, maybe low 50's F, what's that in Celsius... let's say 7-12 C, this assumes camping below treeline which is about 11,500 feet or 3500 M. Lots of radiative cooling at night the higher you get, on clear nights if you're exposed and above treeline, feels really nice this time of year.

    Enjoy! I just might ramble around in those parts one more time this early summer, patiently waiting for more snow to clear up in the higher CO mountains, if you see an old grey-haired fart, that might be me!

  12. #12

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    Sure we will CT, hoping to meet you on the trail and chat.

    See you,

    Birdscope

  13. #13

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    CR,
    So many thanks. First made till segment 6, resupplied in Fairplay. Nice little town, felt very good vibe, had dinner there. hitchhiked back to kenosha pass and made segment 6. From there to Breckenridge, next day ride to Lost Park.
    Man, what a loop.... Did clockwise ( all others we meet did opposite direction ) The begin, meadow at Wigwam, then Goose Creek, opted for the Refrigerator gulch. The southern part, between Mc Curdy and Bison Peaks, was simply unbelievable , nothing to lose for the CT itself. Many species are blooming up there, and the views outstanding . The fire you mentioned 16 y. ago took also those peaks? Nights are still surprisingly cold. The only thing I regret not having seen you on trail. But we'll fix this next time.
    All the best,
    Birdscope

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdscope View Post
    CR,
    So many thanks. First made till segment 6, resupplied in Fairplay. Nice little town, felt very good vibe, had dinner there. hitchhiked back to kenosha pass and made segment 6. From there to Breckenridge, next day ride to Lost Park.
    Man, what a loop.... Did clockwise ( all others we meet did opposite direction ) The begin, meadow at Wigwam, then Goose Creek, opted for the Refrigerator gulch. The southern part, between Mc Curdy and Bison Peaks, was simply unbelievable , nothing to lose for the CT itself. Many species are blooming up there, and the views outstanding . The fire you mentioned 16 y. ago took also those peaks? Nights are still surprisingly cold. The only thing I regret not having seen you on trail. But we'll fix this next time.
    All the best,
    Birdscope
    Outstanding! I'm so glad this all worked out. Isn't that terrain unbelievable? The burn area around McCurdy and Bison is a different fire, much earlier I think, before my first visits in that area. Did you see any Moose in those meadows just south of Lost Park? We have the last few times there, probably the same ones each time.

  15. #15

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    I didn't see young trees near those 2 peaks .Perhaps it'll take a long time for that area to regrow.
    I saw an elk on the last miles back. He saw me first, and was running along the meadow. We hitchhiked from the camp, and already on the highway , we saw a moose with her calf.
    Rob, what kind, Fahrenheit sleeping bag/pad you use when out there, was cold.

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    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdscope View Post
    I didn't see young trees near those 2 peaks .Perhaps it'll take a long time for that area to regrow.
    I saw an elk on the last miles back. He saw me first, and was running along the meadow. We hitchhiked from the camp, and already on the highway , we saw a moose with her calf.
    Rob, what kind, Fahrenheit sleeping bag/pad you use when out there, was cold.
    I started hiking in that area around Bison and McCurdy in 2001, it looks the same today, same dead, grey, gnarled cool looking old trees. I haven't noticed any new growth up their either. I suppose it's too high.

    I generally use a 20 degree F bag in Colorado high altitude backpacking. Sometimes, if the forecast is warm and I'm only out for a few days, I'll carry a 30F (0C) bag.

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