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  1. #1
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    Default Hitchhiking Route 149 to Lake City

    Happy New Year all. Planning on doing another section of the CT the end of August beginning of September this year. Wondering how easy or difficult it will be to hitch a ride from the trail on Route 149 to Lake City and back for a resupply? I know there are shuttles available but just looking to maximize our options. Thanks for any feedback.

  2. #2

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    To quote the CT guide book "..Lake City - 17 miles...probably too far for resupply...nor is hitchhiking especially good on this remote highway". But you never know if you can get lucky when you happen to hit the highway.
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    There is a regular, daily shuttle from a hostel in Lake City to/from the CO 149 crossing, something like noon or noon-30.

    Seems like it even ran last summer, but not 100% sure.

    And I have been both a hitcher and a hitchee (once each) from there into Lake city, both times not from the road itself, but the parking lot on spring creek pass (the CT walks through this parkin g lot).

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I did the CT this past summer. It took me about an hour to get a ride into Lake City. There's not much traffic on that road. Fortunately, getting a ride out of town back to the trailhead was a lot easier. If you are planning to stay overnight there, be sure to get reservations ahead of time. Getting a room in that town during the summer is next to impossible.

    By the way, the shuttle mentioned by rob was questionable this year and the hostel was closed. I didn't even try for the shuttle.
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  5. #5

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    Out of curiosity (and not much else to do) I took at Lake City and 149 to the CT on Google Earth. The view looks to be taken about noon on a summer day. What is remarkable is the town looks deserted. I saw one car on a road in town. There isn't a single car on 149 or at the trailhead parking lot. I guess it is kind of remote around there.
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    Thanks the info guys. Digging a little deeper, apparently the "noon" volunteer shuttle runs until August 31 and like Idsailor mentioned, if it even ran at all this past year. I do see two other listed for hire out of Lake City and one out of Creede. So one way or another we should be all set. Slo-go'en, interesting observation on Google Earth. Have a good winter in the northern portion of the 603. Hopefully you received some real snow this weekend. Some real sloppy wet stuff down here north of Concord.

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    I've three times hitched into Lake City from Spring Creek Pass on a CT/Lost Crk Wilderness High Route Loop hike, CT thru, and CDT thru all around mid Sept with Aspens starting to show color. Twice, with a little politeness and cajoling I had a ride from day hikers lined up before I got to the pass. The other time it took about 20 mins by asking at the pass parking lot and eventually with my thumb out. A ride is what is needed not necessarily a hitch in context of sticking a thumb out to traffic! This occasion my ride was turning off at the Hwy 50? junction. While I was exiting the vehicle a different car stopped and asked if I needed a ride to lake City as they lived there. On the return leg to the trail I always got a ride in town without paying for a shuttle by asking at the cafe/coffee shop. It shouldn't hurt hikers to be cordial and respectful by offering gas money or a payment to get a ride.

    "Lucky" or his wife at Ravens Rest Hostel may be able to offer a shuttle.

  8. #8

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    As Dogwood says, striking up a conversation with a potential ride often works the best. I've gotten more then a few rides that way. So, it sounds like getting into Lake City might not be as dire as the guide book infers. It could just take a while.

    Man, I really got to think about heading out there in August myself.
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    Not sure when that google earth shot was done, the shadows on the buildings look pretty long to me meaning not summer at noon, but in any case, the dozen or so times I've been to this trailhead in mid summer, it was pretty busy, plus CO149 has decent summer traffic, maybe not compared to the east coast traffic, but Lake City and Creede, connected by 149 are uber busy all summer. That being said, yeah, a hitch from there might take up to an hour, but would usually be less.

    When I passed through there this last summer in early August, the daily shuttle was running, at least according to some fellow hikers (I hiked through, didn't use it). A quick check on Guthook comments might help clarify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    As Dogwood says, striking up a conversation with a potential ride often works the best. I've gotten more then a few rides that way. So, it sounds like getting into Lake City might not be as dire as the guide book infers. It could just take a while.

    Man, I really got to think about heading out there in August myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Not sure when that google earth shot was done, the shadows on the buildings look pretty long to me meaning not summer at noon, but in any case, the dozen or so times I've been to this trailhead in mid summer, it was pretty busy, plus CO149 has decent summer traffic, maybe not compared to the east coast traffic, but Lake City and Creede, connected by 149 are uber busy all summer. That being said, yeah, a hitch from there might take up to an hour, but would usually be less.

    When I passed through there this last summer in early August, the daily shuttle was running, at least according to some fellow hikers (I hiked through, didn't use it). A quick check on Guthook comments might help clarify.
    Goes to show not all things are like the AT. Who expected to develop their hiking skill set(s) by developing their ability to get a ride or somehow getting where ya want to go? It's the nature of travel. Hiking involves travel.

  11. #11
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Out of curiosity (and not much else to do) I took at Lake City and 149 to the CT on Google Earth. The view looks to be taken about noon on a summer day. What is remarkable is the town looks deserted. I saw one car on a road in town. There isn't a single car on 149 or at the trailhead parking lot. I guess it is kind of remote around there.
    The main attraction in that area is off road vehicles and quite a few come from Texas (it seems that is somewhat of a joke in those parts - tourists from Texas). During the day, I'm sure everyone is out in the mountains with those off road vehicles. There were numerous cars at the trailhead, which I saw coming in as I tried to get a ride.
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    It has been several years (my thru was in 2014), but the Lake City hitch was the most difficult of the hike for me. I spoke to people at the trailhead but they were heading in the opposite direction. After about an hour with my thumb out, I started walking and eventually got a ride after a few miles. The hitch back was very easy. I’d just be aware that it might take a bit longer than normal to get into Lake City but wouldn’t stress too much over it. It’ll work out eventually like many things seem to do on long distance walks.

  13. #13

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    I hiked through there this August on a Monday morning around 9AM. There was very little traffic on the road, but the TH was pretty active. I went into Creede instead of Lake City, but I don't think getting a ride into Lake City would have been hard in the morning. Everyone at the trailhead was friendly, and one couple offered me a ride.

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    The variability in experiences is what makes long distance hikes so interesting - but Lake City usually comes up as a harder hitch. But the concept of serendipity is alive on trail. I've found that things do often "just work out" and when they don't it's a manageable setback. For example, I knew that the Lake City hitch was likely to be harder than most others so I intentionally night hiked for a few hours and got to the trailhead early enough to walk the 17 miles to town if I absolutely had to. And that's what I started doing after having no luck hitching at the trailhead and parking lot. But then magically I got a ride and was enjoying town food by mid afternoon.

    BTW, Lake City is definitely a worthwhile stop - I enjoyed taking a zero there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The variability in experiences is what makes long distance hikes so interesting - but Lake City usually comes up as a harder hitch. But the concept of serendipity is alive on trail. I've found that things do often "just work out" and when they don't it's a manageable setback. For example, I knew that the Lake City hitch was likely to be harder than most others so I intentionally night hiked for a few hours and got to the trailhead early enough to walk the 17 miles to town if I absolutely had to. And that's what I started doing after having no luck hitching at the trailhead and parking lot. But then magically I got a ride and was enjoying town food by mid afternoon.

    BTW, Lake City is definitely a worthwhile stop - I enjoyed taking a zero there.
    Thanks. Agreed, how things work out on the trail continues to surprise if not amaze. A couple of years ago we hiked the Collegiate Peaks Loop and had flown into Aspen from NH. My hiking partner had lived in Aspen 30 years earlier. We hitchhiked from Aspen to Twin Lakes to start our hike and who picks up but a woman whose best friend is the daughter of my hiking partner's boss and the owner of the architectural firm he worked at in the 1980's. Then as we were finishing the loop and at the end of a long hot day going up and over Hope Pass back to Twin Lakes, we were not looking forward to standing out in the hot sun trying to get a ride to Leadville. Not a half mile from getting back to the trailhead on Route 82 we meet a couple taking a break who was heading out and going to Leadville and readily offered us a ride - not to mention a couple of cold beers they had back at the Jeep.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The variability in experiences is what makes long distance hikes so interesting - but Lake City usually comes up as a harder hitch. But the concept of serendipity is alive on trail. I've found that things do often "just work out" and when they don't it's a manageable setback. For example, I knew that the Lake City hitch was likely to be harder than most others so I intentionally night hiked for a few hours and got to the trailhead early enough to walk the 17 miles to town if I absolutely had to. And that's what I started doing after having no luck hitching at the trailhead and parking lot. But then magically I got a ride and was enjoying town food by mid afternoon.
    How do we think this further plays into the Law of attraction? Do we think as a result of these perspectives Coffee experiences more interesting things, serendipity, and things working out on hikes or less? Think it carries over into off trail life or has been carried over from off trail life to trail life? Do we think it makes him more patient and alters his behavior to being even more positive? Do we we think it makes Coffee more of a likeable person others want to be around? Do we think his attitudes can influence others? Speaking for myself knowing Coffee for some yrs his beliefs, behavior, and attitude have positively influenced me. Bravo.

  17. #17
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    One more tiny little push for Creede vs. Lake City. Two utterly different towns, maybe Lake City is slightly more popular w/ CT hikers because of the Hostel and daily ride.

    But Creede has everything a hiker needs and it is a super-cool little neo-hippie artsy/fartsy town vs. Texan/Jeep Central Lake city. Both have their charms, but different charms! I slightly prefer the vibe of Creede. It's also a very compact city, Lake City is more spread out.

    So standing on Spring Creek pass trying to hitch into Lake City, think about also sticking your thumb out for cars/jeeps heading towards Creede as well, though it is about 2X the distance of a ride (33 miles vs. 17), but chances are 95% of the cars heading towards Creede are in fact going all the way to Creede.

    Another option, and the one I will most likely do in the future is to hitch into Creede 10 miles from near San Luis Pass, the intersection of sections 20-21 (vs. 21/22 on spring creek pass). I can't remember exactly the distance, maybe 1.5-2 miles from this point down a side trail to the Equity Mine.

    On weekends, this is a very popular place and should afford an easy hitch into Creede. Weekdays, maybe not so much though. This is also a very popular trailhead for climbing the 14er San Luis, so towards the end of the day there will be climbers descending and driving back to Creede, and in the early morning, climbers driving out of Creede to the trailhead to climb San Luis. Again, much more so on a weekend.

    Lastly, section 21 (between San Luis pass and Spring Creek pass/CO149) is one of my favorite sections. Time it to camp at the beaver pond, maybe 6 or so miles into the section heading south. Gorgeous spot, though popular. We camped with no less than 20 SOBO CT hikers there last summer, but well spread out so it's really not any problem. We had a grand time watching the beaver do his thing and chatting with CT thru hikers (we were just doing a couple days).

    Anyone recognize any of these folks? great groups of "kids". There's also a resident family of Moose there often (2 out of three times I've camped there).
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  18. #18
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    I can verify what Colorado Robs posted (Creede from San Luis pass) as it is the option that I chose. It is 1.0 mile to the upper TH and 1.5 further to the lower TH, from the trail. There were so many people at both trailheads that I can't imagine this ever being too difficult of a hitch. Even if you are early and the hikers aren't heading back yet there still should be plenty of 4x4ers driving through the area.
    Lonehiker

  19. #19
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    Thanks Rob and Lonehiker. Rob, your advice was spot on when we hiked the Collegiate Peaks Loop so I often find myself reading your posts with extra interest. I have looked at resupplying via Equity Mine and Creede (love that name as compared to Lake City) and with both of your comments, I will certainly consider it even more seriously. Always great to have options.

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    Thanks very much for your kind words, Dogwood. I'm sure that I've benefited much more from your posts over the years, especially on hiking mindset.

    2020 was a year devoid of backpacking for me due to COVID and family issues, but this year will be different since I'm again close to the AT!

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