Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby Heinz-Wanderer » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:51 pm

We are living in NC and I spent a few days in RMNP two weeks ago and want to come back to do about two weeks next summer using may tent in campgrounds (i'm not planning on backcountry camping). My initial thought is to spend maybe up to a week in the RMNP and do up to 10-15-mile hikes and slowly getting adjusted to the altitude, maybe topping it off with some 13er and 14er hikes. After that, I plan to move my tent to another campground and would like to get a few more nice 13ers and 14ers done. Since my wife doesn't handle long hikes and high altitude too well, I am planning to do this by myself.

Maybe somebody can help me with a few questions I have:

What would be the best time for doing this in terms of weather for hiking and chances of getting into a decent campground?

If I can’t get a spot for one of the campgrounds in RMNP, what are decent campground alternatives in the Estes Park area?

What are the best 13er/14er hikes in and around RMNP (can be long, but not too difficult, maybe up to a 3)?

What would be the best area for my planned second week with suggestions for campground and of course for hikes?

Thanks much in advance for your help.

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Re: Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby gdthomas » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:21 pm

Moraine Park and Glacier Basin campgrounds take reservations. Consult RMNP's website for specific details.

Long's Peak is the only 14er in the area (it's in the Park). It's a class 3 climb, 4,900 vertical feet and 15 miles RT. It's a tough climb but doable. Late August/early September is the best time to climb it. There are many 13ers in the park as well. The next closest 14ers are Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, Grays and Torreys. Evans is the harder of the four by its standard route.

Estes Park is riddled with private campgrounds but I'm not a big proponent of them. Outside of RMNP and Estes Park, you'll have to travel a minimum 75+ miles to get close to Evans, et al. I'm partial to National Forest Service campgrounds. You can go to the NFS website to find campgrounds close to the aforementioned 14ers.

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Re: Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby MtHurd » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:47 pm

Consider the San Juans. If you are flying in, sometimes you can get a good price flying into Durango. If not, Albuquerque is only 3.5 hours from Durango. There are some easy 14ers in the area such as Handies, Redcloud, Sunshine, Uncompahgre, and Wetterhorn. There are pleny of campgrounds throughout the San Juans.

If you are dead set on the RMNP area, Mt. Audobon is a good one in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

The best time of the summer to hike with less crowds and less chance for severe weather is early September. Obviously Labor Day weekend would not fit into the less crowded criteria, but after Labor Day is usually great.

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Re: Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby somethingrandom » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:06 pm

Barry Raven wrote:If you are dead set on the RMNP area, Mt. Audobon is a good one in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Nothing wrong if you are set on the RMNP area as there are a number of great hikes/climbs there. As Barry said, the IPW is right down the street and along with Audobon, Pawnee, Toll, N/S Arapahoe, Niwot, etc are all great high altitude hikes/climbs.
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Re: Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby Heinz-Wanderer » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:40 pm

Thanks for you your suggestions so far.
I know that camping reservations for RMNP can be made, but I'm just not sure how quick the spots go and if there is much of a chance to just show up and hope for the best. It sounds like a good idea to look into the NFS option since most comments about the private campgrounds in Estes Park were not very encouraging.

I'm not really fixed on RMNP, it just seems an easier starting point to get going since now it is at least a somewhat familiar area to me and there are plenty of hikes to get used to the altitude. Still, I'll check out the San Juans to get an idea what hikes I could do initially (just for clarification, I'm planning to drive over from NC, otherwise I don't think tent camping will be an option).

From what I've meanwhile read in some of the trip reports, I think Mount Bierstadt (maybe together with Mount Evans?), Grays and Torreys would be good 14er to try first. I'm not so sure about Longs Peak, maybe I'll check out Mt. Lady Washington as an easier 13er to get used to the altitude and then see how things go.

After that, the IPW sounds interesting, I better start reading up on it.

Thanks again for the help so far. More suggestions on areas, hikes and especially on campgrounds are more than welcome.

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Re: Suggestions for 2-weeks hiking next year

Postby Cool Hand Luke » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:15 pm

The Mummy Range in RMNP has some great 13ers (Fairchild, Hagues, Mummy and Rowe) and there are campsites near Lawn Lake. This would entail hiking in about 6 miles to Lawn Lake though, but well worth the consideration if you are spending a week in the Park.

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