New to this, need ideas!

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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New to this, need ideas!

Postby RSG1211 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:03 am

Hello everyone, I am new to this site as well as to Colorado. I moved here about 2 months ago (but have been coming to the Mountains since I can remember). I am looking for some good info here and I am hoping that you guys have good ideas for me. My fiance and I are itching to start hiking/camping the 14ers, however, we are new to backpacking and would love to get some info. Basically all of the time that we spend in the mounatins is during the winter, so I am looking for some guidance on where to start with the 14ers. We are in good shape, and aren't worried about the physical part of the hikes. We are just looking for some help on good places that we can go for a weekend hike that would involve hiking, camping, and fly fishing all in one trip. We also have a dog that would love to come along. Hopefully that is enough info that will allow for you guys to open me up to some good ideas.

I really appreciate any help/tips you can offer.

Thank you!

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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby RSG1211 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:50 am

I should have been more clear. Most of the time we spend in the mountains is when we go to Copper Mountain to go skiing. We don't hike/climb in the winter.


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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby SeracZack » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:26 pm

East of Walden, CO. Hike up the hillside, camp at the top, lakes to fly fish. Not giving you my honey hole though. Just kidding, but there are all kinds of high altitude lakes and streams in that area to fly fish and get some k=hiking and camping in. Talk to the guys at North Park Anglers and get some input from them for any kind of fly fishing in the North Park area.

Also, RMNP is a good place as well, but I personally do not have any experience there.
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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby peter303 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:24 pm

Get your feet wet camping at Rocky Mountain Park in the winter or spring. Two of their campgrounds are open year round in 2012. Although I think you have to snowshoe/snowmobile/ski into the west-side Timberlake campground.
You can explore some of the hiking trails in the parking or the nearby cities of Grand Lake and Estes Park.

One drawbacks is there fees to enter and camp. And second is the park not very dog friendly - they cant go on trails. I think you can walk them on winter closed roads like Trail Ridge.

Most of the formal high country campgrounds are open June - August. Other people here can better tell you about winter forest camping. Moab is a good spring location before the mountain snows melt.

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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby bking14ers » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:56 pm

Wild Basin in RMNP is awesome. If you hike up to Lion Lakes, there are several camp spots along the way. Need a reservation though. And you are required to have a (pain in the ass) bear canister if you camp anywhere in the park. You can rent one at the motel/store in Allenspark for about 10 bucks. Mt. Alice is a great 13er to climb. It's a tough class 3 peak, and it's all the way in the back of Wild Basin, so you get to see most of the basin if you combine it with the Thunder Lake trail and make it a long loop back to camp.

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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby MtHurd » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:02 pm

I don't fish, so I can't tell you if the lake or stream has any fish in it, but Willow Lake Below Kit Carson is an awesome place. Even has a nice waterfall going into it.

The meadows below Mt. Lindsey in Huerfano Valley is an amazing place. No lake but there is a stream.

Lead King Basin on the west side of Snowmass is an awesome place with a lake and a stream. No crowds as opposed to the nearby Maroon Bells. Will require a 4x4.

Mt. of the Holy Cross standard route crosses East Cross Creek with a lake. Awesome view of the peak from there.

And there are plenty more places that are as good if not better with only 13ers. Here is an example.

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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby steelfrog » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:12 pm

Was at Willow Lake this summer--appeared to be barren of fish. Me and others tried to fish it.

Sand Creek Lakes are choked with fish (other side of sangres) and have great hiking!

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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby Cruiser » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:16 pm

No 14ers there, but the Lost Creek Wildeness ought to give you what you're looking for in terms of hiking, camping, and fishing.
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Re: New to this, need ideas!

Postby bigtrout » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:00 am

Get yourself a map of the Sangres, close your eyes, and pick a spot. Every basin has a stream coming from it, meadows, and mountains to climb. Lots of high lakes, too. Some challenging, some easy. Some loaded with fish, some barren. Some basins and lakes are rarely visited, some see heavy traffic (South Colony, Sand Creek). Do a little research; there are lots of guide books for the hiking and fishing the Sangres.
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