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Questions from a nube.

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Questions from a nube.

Postby planksh » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:22 pm

I'm looking at taking my wife to RMNP this summer (mid June - mid July). I think around a 4 - 6 hour hike/climb round trip would be right for us. Did a little research, maybe Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon? We're from out of state, never been to RMNP, probably stay in Boulder.
I would like:
Great views
Few people
Less than 90 minutes from boulder
Any suggestions?

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby Fisching » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:35 pm

planksh wrote:I'm looking at taking my wife to RMNP this summer (mid June - mid July). I think around a 4 - 6 hour hike/climb round trip would be right for us. Did a little research, maybe Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon? We're from out of state, never been to RMNP, probably stay in Boulder.
I would like:
Great views
Few people
Less than 90 minutes from boulder
Any suggestions?


I think figuring out your priorities on those aspects would certainly help. Going to any place in RMNP with few people in the summer months is a rarity. If that's one of your priorities you'd do better to explore the SW corner of the park (near Granby) than the Estes Park/Boulder area, but it'd take more than an hour and a half to get there from Boulder. Here's a decent website link I've used in the past for researching a hike that sounds interesting and meets your criteria: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/rockymountainnationalpark/1460028602.html
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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby peter303 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:38 pm

There are fewer crowds on the west side of park by the Grand Lake entrance. But that is farther from the Denver airport than Boulder. They are places to stay in Grand Lake.

You MUST make the drive over the Trail Ridge road in the middle of the park. It is one of the highest roads in the country. Lots of short hikes along that road. You should drive it in early morning before the hordes arrive.

Did you you know there are two 14ers you can drive to the top of? Or drive 3/4 of the way up and hike the rest. One of those 14ers is the famous Pikes Peak. Its entrance is about 90 minutes south of Denver. The other mountain is the not so well known Mt Evans, about a hour west of Denver.

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby iholdthepain » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:24 pm

Mt. Evans = not so popular by what measuring stick?!

Dude, just get to Bear Lake early... Plenty of parking at 6am. There are so many routes to take based on your hiking/climbing skills and fitness levels. The great scenic views are all around you, and the higher you go, the more of RMNP you see... You will not escape the crowds that time of year!!! [-(

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby jsdratm » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:39 pm

iholdthepain wrote:Mt. Evans = not so popular by what measuring stick?!

Dude, just get to Bear Lake early... Plenty of parking at 6am. There are so many routes to take based on your hiking/climbing skills and fitness levels. The great scenic views are all around you, and the higher you go, the more of RMNP you see... You will not escape the crowds that time of year!!! [-(


Yeah, Bear Lake is awesome and it is pretty empty at 6 or 7 am. I never have trouble finding a parking spot at that hour, even on summer weekends. Most of the tourists arrive late morning and stay on the lower trails like Bear Lake and Emerald Lake. If you go up the Flattop mountain trail and over to Hallett Peak, you won't see nearly as many people. Also, the hike out to Andrews Glacier is very secluded once you pass Loch Vale.

Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon are pretty easy too and I saw relatively few people up there on a summer weekend (most of the tourists stay on trail ridge road). Hiking out to Mummy Mountain is really good since few people have the stamina to make it 15 miles round trip and there are no trails to the top.

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby JimR » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:47 pm

I'd say the Chapin-Chiquita-Ypsilon hike is a pretty good choice, given what you're looking for. I did it on a fall weekend a couple years ago, and there were only a couple other people until I got back to Chapin on the way down. Some photos are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/JimRanda/MtYpsilon_2011102?authkey=Gv1sRgCLLa5qDwtPD2vQE#
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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby planksh » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:51 pm

Thanks for the quick responses.

I guess the my biggest priority would be the quality of the views on the hike, and being able to get there without too much road time. I think some high elevations would be cool. Like over 12,000. How long should it take an average hiker to get to Ypsilon Peak and back?

Bear Lake, Ouzel Falls and Trail Ridge Road sound good too.

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby cougar » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:01 pm

Indian Peaks are closer to Boulder than the park - a lot nicer in many ways, but still gets really busy on summer weekends. Lots of great hikes around there and some 13ers - Mt Audubon + Pauite, Isabelle Glacier, South Araphoe. Great views all around. This area is practically an extension of RMNP and is just as/more scenic than it. Parking around Brainard Lake area fills up VERY early in summer! (by 6:30-7am on weekends).

To avoid crowds, you need to get farther back on the trail in these areas - they taper off after about 2-3 miles or the first major destination on a trail. CCY in the park isn't too crowded (relatively). And Estes Park would be a closer/better base to see RMNP from than Boulder. The west side of the park sees less people on trails but takes a longer drive and more traffic.

Ypsilon would take half a day or so round trip (it's a 7 mile RT) - the trailhead starts just a bit below treeline. But most of it is 'unmaintained' trail and talus so it's a bit slower going than typical official park trails.

If your top priorities are views and short drive from Boulder, do Mt Audubon. Time permitting, you could add Pauite and loop down by Blue Lake. Or, in the same area, go to Isabelle Glacier or Pawnee Pass. Farther south is Arapaho Peaks and that's still fairly close to Boulder.

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby PaliKona » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:34 pm

+1 for South Arapahoe, Audubon, and Pawnee Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Gorgeous views, stunning really and wildlife! Saw two moose last summer while hiking near Lake Isabelle/Pawnee Peak.

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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby JimR » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:16 pm

Audubon, Pawnee Pk, or S. Arapahoe are all nice, and are all closer to Boulder than Chapin-Chiquita-Ypsilon. The C-C-Y trailhead is probably near the upper end of your drive-time range. On the other hand, Audubon, Pawnee, & S. Arapahoe are likely to have more people. Also, with C-C-Y, you get Trail Ridge Road on the way down.
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Re: Questions from a nube.

Postby siop » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:28 pm

I spent 4 summers doing research in Box Canyon and just outside RMNP near the American Lakes. In all that time I only saw a handful of other people. Mt Richthofen (12,940) had some great views and was a nice hike. I think it's the far side of RMNP from Boulder though. I always came in from Fort Collins so not sure how far from Boulder.
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