Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

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patrickm2k
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Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby patrickm2k » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:00 am

Hello 14-ers!

I'm hoping to get some good advice from yall as I'll be visiting from out of state. I'm not looking to tackle a 14er the proper way (several days of good backpacking), I hope you don't mind me coming to yall for help.

In 2 weeks I'm being dispatched to Colorado for a week, flying in and out of Denver. I love hiking and hike all the time on the east coast and wherever I travel (last year Maine, New Hampshire, Wyoming, South Dakota). Up until last week, I was going to Glenwood Springs and had some great ideas on where I'd get an afternoon hike in or a half day on my way back to the airport. But last last week my plans changed, and I'm now going to be in Colorado Springs.

Anyhow- on this trip I want to make sure I take in the best that is around and that can be taken in. I'm hoping yall might recommend anything that can reasonably be done in half a day? My limits are that I will be sleeping in Colorado Springs, and have a 530pm flight out of Denver- so I'd need to be back at the airport by 330... which means off any mountain probably by 1/130pm. I have no problem with early wake up calls though- and regularly wake up at 430/5 to hit the trails (which especially wouldn't be bad since I don't adjust my time zones when I'm on short trips).

I've found lots of information on hikes- but unlike here in Virginia- I have no idea how long it takes to get to any of these places, or what road conditions might be like, etc. Any of yalls suggestions for something that I should definitely try to do, and perhaps how I'd figure out road conditions (I saw the forum dedicated to that but thought I'd throw it in here too) would be more than welcome.

And if you're ever looking for hikes in Virginia- check out a website called Hiking Upward. A guy I've run into maintains it out of hobby- but it's incredibly informative as well.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby gonzalj » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:13 am

The 13ers sniktau, cupid or grizzly by loveland pass are avy safe & would fit the bill. The drive from C springs would be between 2 & 2.5 hours, but if you attempted sniktau and started at 8, you could be back at your car by 11:30 or so. Just watch out for the wind & cornices on the east side of the ridge.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby michelle » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:55 am

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/mt-rosa-trail

The link above has a good description of the drive to the trailhead. The trail is very straightforward.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby Doug Shaw » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:05 am

Unfortunately, with being out from sea level for only a week I don't know that I'd recommend a high peak - though people do it all the time.

If you want to maximize your hiking versus driving times, hike locally in the Springs. Barr Trail up to Barr Camp on Pikes Peak is cool - with a half day you shouldn't plan to summit, but Barr Camp is halfway (~6 mi one-way) and is a cool place to visit and will still get you above 10K'. If you really want to kick your sea-level butt, start this hike out by hoofing it up the Incline - 2200 vertical feet in a mile.

Blodgett Peak is a cool little leg-burner that starts right out of a neighborhood on the northwest side of Colorado Springs. Amazing views of the plains. Though as I write that I realize that I don't know if it Blodgett was closed as a result of the fire this past summer.

Lots of hikes to be found up in North Cheyenne Canyon on the south end of town, as well.

If you want to get off the beaten path (or really, any path at all), Thunder Butte (in SW Douglas County, ~1hr from the springs) will give you some impressive views of the Rampart Range area.

If you do want to drive farther you can get higher with the expectation that the altitude might kick your butt and leave you feeling crappy for your trip home.

The Loveland Pass group (mentioned in a previous post) are good entries to the above-treeline crowd.

Another option could be Grays and Torreys. There's a couple miles of walking up a snow-covered road before you really break out into the alpine but the gulch you're in once you're up there is astounding. Again with a half day I wouldn't plan to summit, but just getting up into the basin will be awe-inspiring.

St. Mary's Glacier is a popular choice in the winter, although the views won't be quite as spectacular as some of the other options.

Road conditions: cotrip.org
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Jim Davies
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:55 am

michelle wrote:http://www.everytrail.com/guide/mt-rosa-trail

The link above has a good description of the drive to the trailhead. The trail is very straightforward.

No way. Maybe in the summer, but in winter you'll have to add two miles to get to the trailhead, and the trail will disappear into the snow drifts above 11K'. Even in summer it takes an hour to drive to/from the trailhead from the Springs, and FS 379 requires 4WD. The trail is "straightforward" if you find the right turns, but there are several unmarked intersections along the way. Other than that, I agree that it's an excellent summit. :)

Sniktau from Loveland Pass would be a good experience without excessive risk (assuming you have warm enough clothing, gloves, good footwear, and the roads are good). You can drive the back roads (US 24, CO 9) up there from the Springs and see lots of scenery along the way (South Park, Hoosier Pass, Breckenridge, etc).
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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geoffirons
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby geoffirons » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:39 am

Hi Patrick,

I'd recommend some hikes on the west side of Pikes Peak. Depending on your vehicle and current road conditions, you could drive to the Crags TH and hike to the Crags, or if more ambitious up to Devil's Playground. Alternatively, drive a little further south on Hwy 67 to the Horsethief Park TH and hike to Pancake Rocks, or if very ambitious (and good at route-finding) climb Sentinel Peak. Depending on where you start in Colorado Springs, the drive time to these THs is about one hour. You can find more info on all these on this website and others, but if you have specific questions please PM me.

Geoff

p.s. How is Old Rag Mountain? I used to do volunteer trail work there in the early '90s. It was always my favorite hike in northern VA.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby KentonB » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:40 am

I'll throw in my 2 cents about some of the suggestions mentioned and a couple thoughts of my own...

Michelle's suggestion of Mt. Rosa is excellent... but as Jim Davies clarified, it might be difficult this time of year. If you do decide to try it, be prepared for ~1.5 hour drive time each way (Old Stage Road can be a little slow with all its twists and turns). Also, you'll likely have some snow to contend with... so either some moderate post-holing or you'll need snowshoes. Still, Rosa is my favorite peak in the area!

Doug Shaw mentioned Blodgett. While I love training on Blodgett, it IS currently closed and will be until next Spring/Summer due to the Waldo Canyon fire.

I agree with Doug on Barr Trail or N. Cheyenne Canyon. In particular, a combo of Mt. Muscoco/Mt. Cutler and then Mays Peak in N. Cheyenne would probably fit what you're looking for nicely. All 3 could easily be done in a half day. Private Message me if you'd like details, GPS, tracks, etc.

If you like getting off trail and bushwacking a bit, you could also do Mt. Kineo in a half day... with some fun rock scrambling at the top (also in N. Cheyenne Canyon). Again, PM me for details.

Another nice one with a trail is Mt. Herman just a little ways north.

Oh, and on your way back to Denver, be sure to stop by the city of Castle Rock and climb its namesake to the top of the Class 3 summit overlooking the front range!
Last edited by KentonB on Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby My-Therapy » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:49 am

Chief Mountain would be a close option as well. Close to Denver, above treeline summit with some great views of Mt. Evans, and not too exhausting coming from around sea level. I have hiked this trail a couple of times in the winter and its a pretty straight forward hike and stays fairly packed and easy to follow in my experiences.

Trail head directions:
From Denver take I-70 west. Exit Evergreen Pkwy (exit #252). Go about 3 miles to Squaw Pass Road (Hwy 103). Go right on Squaw Pass for 12 miles to Echo Mountain Ski Resort. Look for parking area on right side of the road near mile marker 18. The lot is just past the ski area. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road (south side).

http://www.summitpost.org/chief-mountain/153817

http://www.rei.com/guidepost/detail/colorado/hiking/chief-mountain/12225
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby susanjoypaul » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:56 am

Raspberry Mountain (10,605') in Divide is one of my favorites. It's about an hour's drive and the trailhead is located on the same road you take to get to the Crags trailhead for Pikes Peak, so it's usually packed down.

It's about 6 miles roundtrip, and 1,200 feet of elevation, so it will give you a good workout without killing you (coming from low altitude). There's a little bit of scrambling at the top, and amazing views all around. Here are the details on SummitPost: Raspberry Mountain

If that's too much, do Mays Peak (8,283') in North Cheyenne Canyon - beautiful drive and a short hike with great summit views: Mays Peak

Also, be sure to drive through Garden of the Gods on the west side of Colorado Springs... and bring a camera :-)
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby Vermont Mike » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:05 pm

I'll second the suggestion of Mt. Muscoco. Easy access, airy summit with some of the best views in the area, and I've never seen anyone else along the trail once you leave the saddle with Mt. Cutler. Plus, you can make a loop hike out of it and even visit an old settlement via Daniel's Pass.
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:13 pm

If the weather's bad that day, consider hiking Red Rock Canyon. Road access is good, and it's right on the edge of the city. You can make a nice 5-ish mile loop out of the Contemplative and Roundup trails without getting too far from your car, and you get the same sort of rock formations as Garden of the Gods without all the wear and tear from the crowds.

Another good half-day edge-of-town option is the Palmer-Redrock loop. 5.5 miles, some steepish sections, good views of the Springs-area mountains, simple routefinding, stays below 9K' so not too exposed to the weather.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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Re: Best view suggestion for 1/2 day needed near C. Springs

Postby patrickm2k » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:41 pm

Thanks so much yall. I really appreciate it. While I'm not a huge fan of traveling for work- I'm a huge fan of taking advantage of the time to get outdoors- my past time. I'll keep checking back here for more replies- but yall have been super helpful so far!

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