how long does it take to hike the colorado trail

Built by Fred Barr over several years in the 1900s and re-done by the U.S. Forest Service in the late 50s, it provides a well-maintained route that takes you 13.5 mile to … Dogs are allowed along most of the Colorado Trail, with some exceptions. Note: Dogs are not permitted in Waterton Canyon.Stats: 16.8 miles; 2,830-foot elevation gainAccess: From Denver, go south on Wadsworth Boulevard past Chatfield State Park. Each summer, The Colorado Trail Foundation offers several weeklong professionally guided and fully supported treks. A: The South Kaibab Trail is 6.8 miles to Bright Angel Campground and the Bright Angel Trail is 9.3 miles. (Hiker with a 29 day trip). It will take most hikers between 4 and 5 hours to get to the campground on either trail. The Colorado Trail, one of the nation's premier long-distance hiking trails, spans 500 miles from Denver to Durango, and it's arguably one of Colorado's greatest outdoor recreation and education achievements. Obviously every hiker has varying motivations and a different pace of backcountry travel, which is illustrated in the hiker quotes from the survey. This article examines the average length of a thru hike on the Colorado Trail as well as other factors including hiker age, gender differences, and whether hikers wished they had budgeted extra days for their trip. How long does it take to thru-hike the Long Trail? Scroll to the bottom for a summary of the survey results. #4 – Stage Road Loop Hike Anyone can hike the Colorado Trail. Before we dive into the survey results, here are some characteristics of the survey population. Follow the road .2 miles to the Colorado Trail link up. Over eight mountain ranges, along five river systems and traversing six national forests and six wilderness areas, the Colorado Trail is truly a natural wonderland. New grads to new retirees hike the trail … Any questions or opinions? It can take four to six weeks to hike the whole thing, but you can hike it in smaller segments. Colorado’s 14ers are an iconic hiking challenge, but if you’re looking for a slightly easier introduction to these immense mountains, this … This article came about after completing the Colorado Trail this fall, and is part of a little web series about my trip along with advice aimed to help other mountain bikers (and possibly even hikers) plan their own adventures on the trail. The majority of thru-hikers (those who hike the entire trail in one trip) hike from east to west. It was late in the day and we were still climbing. The free Summit Stage bus — which runs between Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and Copper — gives you even more flexibility: you can hike farther without doubling back. The male population in the survey had an average age of 43 years. The shortest hikes in the survey were in the mid 20 day range (see note below) while 52 days was the top end. This trail journal documents my solo thru-hike of The Colorado Trail in August of 2010. This data was collected out of curiosity to see how much variation there is in trip length, and is intended only as a rough starting point to go from as you start planning your own thru hike of the Colorado Trail (now get the Colorado Trail Guide and start planning)! The first half to Indian Garden took us about 3 hours, where we stopped for lunch. However long you take, plan on finishing before winter’s inhospitable weather strikes. There were quite a few comments in the survey, and a few of them might prove useful to others planning a thru hike on the Colorado Trail: In general I found it more helpful to plan the number of hiking hours per day based on elevation gain rather than a constant mileage per day. Step 1: Get Colorado Trail References and Maps. It can take four to six weeks to hike the whole thing, but you can hike it in smaller segments. Of course conditions change each year, but a trip start date somewhere in that time range should be a fairly safe bet. The Colorado Trail just past Copper Mountain, overlooking the Tenmile Range in the distance. Along the way, dip your feet in Chalk Creek. This segment is popular for mountain biking, too. What is the easiest 14er in Colorado? You’ll need Colorado Trail references both while planning your trip and on the trail. If you want to stop and enjoy the views along the way or have a picnic at the top, it can easily add up to over 7 hours on the trail. The Colorado Trail Foundation states that the average thru hike typically takes 4-6 weeks so 33 days falls almost squarely in the middle of that range. I originally intended to analyze bikepacker trip length, but I created an online survey and 91% of the responses came from thru-hikers (59 out of 65 responses). (Hiker with a 36 day trip). It takes most hikers 4-6 weeks to hike … The total elevation gain for this hike is about 900 feet, with the elevation at Emerald Lake just over 10,000 feet above sea level. I put down 5 (extra) days just so I could have taken it a bit slower and been able to stay at some nice campsites that I hiked past. This is theoretically possible so I didn’t remove that data point, but it does skew the average trip length slightly lower. Here are some popular segments throughout the state: This is a moderate and very scenic route near Denver. Hike your own hike, not a race, take rest days. Hiking anywhere from 10-20 miles a day is the norm, but most people walk faster in the dessert and slower in the snow. Officially, the average time is 5-6 hours. That being said, here are the other articles in the series if you’re interested in reading about my trip, learning about bikepacking logistics, or just viewing some pictures of the Colorado Trail! Thru-hiking the Colorado Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end. The mountain peaks are just starting to feature a white dusting. I finished mountain biking the Colorado Trail in early October and definitely pushed hard on some days to stay ahead of winter weather. Like this post? After completing an AT thru-hike in 2013, I decided it was time to start hiking again this summer and began my trek of the Colorado Trail on July 23rd. Posted on April 8, 2020 May 13, 2020 by MAD Hippies Life. Sign up below for an email newsletter from the site. The shortest hikes in the survey were in the mid 20 day range (see note below) while 52 days was the top end. I only took one zero day and two half days but overall happy with my pace and time out there. Trail Description: The standard route to the summit of Quandary Peak begins from the Quandary Trailhead, located just north of Hoosier Pass. I also stopped in too many towns. Disclosure: Some of the following links are affiliate links. This is the second article in a series about bikepacking the Colorado Trail, and it covers basic planning and logistical aspects of the trip. The treks are still rigorous with hiking days averaging around 15 miles. Out of the 2016 group of hikers the earliest start date was a June 20th hiker with a 36 day trip and the latest start was a hiker who started September 1st with a 35 day trip. At 485 miles, the CT starts near Denver and ends in Durango. The Official Site of Colorado Tourism © 2020 Colorado Tourism Office. Life Above Treeline. Start dates vary yearly according to snowpack and seasonal temperatures. The trail is follows a 28 miles route to the river, and most hikers will find that it takes 2-3 days to reach the river. I outline those pieces of gear here along with a comprehensive bikepacking trip gear list. Do not be discouraged by the first part of the trail! You know yourself best, so if you enjoy a leisurely pace with lots of time to soak in the view then add days to the average trip length (35 days). Once I got going I realized 20 miles per day was a better average for me. It is an advanced level trail because of the 12+ mile distance to the Pikes Peak Summit and its 7,800 feet altitude gain. Each year, additional bridges, switchbacks and markings are added, making the trail more and more accessible to backpackers and hikers.However, because of its length, altitude — and in many places, sheer ruggedness — the Colorado Trail can be hard to get your hands around at first. The average age of the responding female was 36 years. Looking at length and elevation gain is a good way to gauge each segment's difficulty. I'd love to hear from you, just leave a comment below. This route to the summit of Mount Bierstadt (via the West Slopes) is11.6km long and takes approximately 6-7 hours. I posed this as a simple question on the survey: “Would you have wanted more days?” By no means does this mean the trip was a poor length, but in hindsight someone might have wanted an extra day to take pictures or have a rest day at a beautiful campsite. If I did it again I think I would actually take less time. Females made up roughly 42% of the survey population with 25 females entering their hike data. In the end, it will depend on your physical condition, experience level, and the weather conditions to know exactly how long it will take to hike Pikes Peak. The scent of roasting green chilies is in the air...Read more, Hikers hit the trail in Colorado amid fields of wildflowers, Your Ultimate Guide to a Colorado Family Spring Break, How to Make the Most of Your Colorado Springs Vacation, Find Your Perfect Fall Adventure in Colorado. I’m interested in trying to figure out the average amount of time that users take on the trail, and the amount of time they wish they had since that can be used as a reference tool by people planning their own trips in the future. The train can drop you off or pick you up from Elk Park, a point on The Colorado Trail. Even at a quick clip, Longs can take 10 hours to hike and many people will spend 12 - 15 hours on the mountain. The trail is comprised of 28 segments, ranging from 11.4 miles to 32 miles. Along the way, hikers pass through many wilderness areas and towns while spending a lot of time hiking the continental divide. A good warm-up, the first 6 miles climb gradually along a dirt road, then turn onto rolling and climbing singletrack trail. As a whole the survey population reported wanting an average of 2 extra days on the trail. Figure 10 miles a day in the beginning increasing to around 20 by the end. One man offers his sage advice on how to tackle the 486-mile Colorado Trail, piece by piece. You should budget at least 4 to 5 hours for the hike. On the flipside 58% of results were from males with 34 responding to the survey. Meals are provided and gear shuttles enables trekkers to travel with just a day pack. Want to have a look at the raw data from the survey? Now that survey population characteristics are out of the way, how long did these people take to hike the Colorado Trail? And for post-hike aching muscles, try the nearby Cottonwood Hot Springs or Mount Princeton Hot Springs farther south on U.S. 24 (go west at Nathrop).Stats: 22.8 miles; 4,296-foot elevation gainAccess: On U.S. 24 in Buena Vista, go west onto Main Street, which turns into County Road 306. Oddly enough, very few people ask how long the return hike will take. Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates. Stats: 25.4 miles; 3,823-foot elevation gainAccess: From Denver, take I-70 west past Frisco to Copper Mountain resort. Can I Hike the Colorado Trail With my Dog? I finished bikepacking the Colorado Trail in the fall of 2016, and quickly became interested in the average trip length of other trail users. The morning quiet was deafening. By J.B. Bissell • July 24, 2018. Hikers have completed it in 5 hours or less, but many take 9 hours or more. This is an introductory article, the first in a series about bikepacking the Colorado Trail. about Stunning Places to Picnic in Colorado, about Exploring Colorado with Kindness & Care, about Your Ultimate Guide to a Colorado Family Spring Break, about How to Make the Most of Your Colorado Springs Vacation, about Find Your Perfect Fall Adventure in Colorado, volunteer opportunities on this trail and Colorado's other long-distance trails. My first thru hike but definitely not my last. Elevation gains along segments span from 1,040 to 4,520 feet. Here are a few things to take into consideration when … Learn about volunteer opportunities on this trail and Colorado's other long-distance trails. For the average hiker, it takes about 4-6 months. Look for the Colorado Trail sign in the woods alongside the highway. Thru-hiking (hiking a trail its entirety in one season) is a long-term commitment. Colorado is a hiker's paradise, and the Colorado Trail will let you enjoy all its beauty to the fullest. The Vermont terrain is rugged, and different hikers spend differing amounts of time in towns or have different daily mileage preferences. I originally intended to analyze bikepacker trip length, but I created an online survey and 90% of the responses came from thru-hikers (57 out of 63 responses). It’s important to remember though that this is an out and back trail, meaning that if you try and hike the entire Hermit Trail the round trip trail length is actually 17.8 miles and would take about 9 to 11 hours of hiking to complete. Neither respondent mentioned anything about excessive snow in their comments. The Colorado Trail Foundation states that the average thru hike typically takes 4-6 weeks so 33 days falls almost squarely in the middle of that range. Barr Trail is the main route to hike Pikes Peak and the only trail that will take you to the summit. The Pikes Peak Barr Trail is one of the most difficult hike you will find in the Pikes Peak region. (Hiker with a 35 day trip). Thanks for your support - it wouldn't be possible without you! Hermit Trail is an out and back trail that hikes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon all the way to the Colorado River that usually takes around 4 to 5 hours to hike one way. Females tended to spend more time on the Colorado Trail, with an average trip length of 34.6 days while males averaged 32.4 days in trip length. Among a massive cluster of 14,000-foot peaks known as the Collegiate Parks, and near the towns of Buena Vista and Salida, are several great segments of the Colorado Trail. While the rest of this online series was written to be specific to bikepackers, this article will pertain to hikers. A note on fast hikes: one 54 year old hiker reported doing an 18 day thru-hike in the survey. This guide is geared towards bikepackers, but much of the information could also be beneficial to backpackers. Ultrarunner Bryan Williams set the current Fastest Known Time for the Colorado Trail in 2017, finishing the route in eight days and 30 minutes with the help of a support crew. Additionally, the female respondents reported wanting an average of 2.1 extra days on the trail while males reported an average of 1.8 days. The Decalibron: Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross The San Juan Mountains is a rugged, Alps-like range that is often considered the state's most stunning. All rights reserved. I like the idea of hiking more, and camping less. Obviously hiking speed is a very personal thing, so that accounts for the wide range of trip lengths. Take 1-70 West from Denver to access several more Colorado Trail trailheads. Make sure to take in the scenery: summer wildflowers followed by changing aspens, waterfalls and awesome views of Engineer Mountain (so high, engineers once used it on their surveys).Stats: 20.9 miles; 3,779-foot elevation gainAccess: For the best parking, head south on U.S. 550 about 5.5 miles past Silverton to a dirt road marked Molas Trail. The CTF publishes some rough date ranges, but as gear changes and the trail becomes more popular it’s very possible to see some deviation. Or maybe just...Read more, Our communities love sharing their wealth of natural beauty and outdoor experiences with you, which is why you’ll find us eager to recommend an...Read more, You could stay up late reading online travel reviews, start a group email chain with your friends and family for...Read more, Tucked at the foot of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, the Colorado Springs area showcases the best of Colorado: endless opportunities for adventure,...Read more, The aspen leaves are changing. Of course this metric is going to include both the faster thru-hikers and those sauntering along, but my hope is there will be a happy medium in between. Lots of factors play into trip length including work, money, weather, and other constraints. Go CT!!! Download the Excel document below! It usually takes thru-hikers 4-6 weeks to complete but it can be completed in sections over several years. (Hiker with a 37 day trip). According to the latest figures, The Colorado Trail averages 10347′ throughout its length! You'll look down at Lake Dillon and settling ponds at Climax near Leadville. The final part of the Long Trail thru-hike is only 14.3 miles long. Most of the trail lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet. Underneath the Eagle Lift of Copper Mountain resort, look for the white rock with the Colorado Trail logo. The trail is maintained by the Colorado Trail Foundation which organizes groups of volunteers to work on the trail. (Hiker with a 27 day trip). I added a question to the survey asking what their start date was, and received 37 responses. The foundation's site lists guidebooks and maps to help you navigate the trail safely. Looking for a great fall drive for leaf-peeping, with golden aspens fluttering in the breeze and snow-capped peaks as a backdrop? Head up through Copper's cross-country ski trails, past Janet's Cabin (a backcountry hut that you can reserve through the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association), and over two passes. Average estimate: 20 to 30 days Each person hikes differently. This choice of direction is preferred partly because snow typically melts earlier in the year on the eastern portion of the trail than on the higher western portion. Watch for bighorn sheep, elk and deer. The trail is managed by The Colorado Trail Foundation. In addition, the east-to-west hike allows a thru-hiker to start with more gradual elevation gains and build up to the more rugged terrain of the western portion of the trail in the San Juan Mountains. I finished bikepacking the Colorado Trail in the fall of 2016, and quickly became interested in the average trip length of other trail users. He ran between 54 and 89 miles a day. We don’t advise heading to this beautiful place to … You can access The Colorado Trail from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. If you haven’t already you should read the introductory article which gives a brief overview of the trail as well as my experience bikepacking the trail in the fall of 2016. Keep in mind that this is the least-challenging trail on North Rim. Follow it 9.5 miles to the Avalanche Trailhead. Tag: how long does it take to hike the colorado trail. This would bring the total desired trip length to roughly 35 days. With the re-route of this section, you can access the trail from the west side of Highway 9. The 6.5-mile hike gains 3,800 ft, with most of the elevation gain over the first three miles of the trail. See the Trekking sectionon this website for more information. Starting high above the town of Silverton and sandwiched between two high-alpine passes, this segment is a hiker's paradise. It took me 35 days to complete the Colorado Trail, taking two zero days and four nero days, leaving Denver on July 6, 2016 and arriving in Durango on August 10. I loved the trail. I did pick up the pace at the end so that I could get out of Waterton Canyon (I was a NOBO hiker) on a weekend (as it was closed during the week in September). In a perfect world I would have taken more time if weather wasn’t a concern. Number of thru hiker respondents: 59Average age of female hiker: 36 yearsAverage female trip length: 34.6 daysAverage age of male hiker: 43 yearsAverage male trip length: 32.4 daysCombined average trip length: 33.3 daysAverage number of extra days wanted: 2Overall average trip length (with extra days included): 35 days or 5 weeksRange of start dates in survey: June 20th - September 1st. Packing for an extended bikepacking trip isn’t drastically different from that of a hiking trip, but there are a few critical pieces of gear that can make a world of difference. The other hiker to have completed this hike in two months is Josh Garrett, who broke the supported record in 2013 with a time of 59 days and 8 hours and 14 minutes (Joe “String Bean” McConaughy broke this record the following year).. To complete the PCT in two months (or less) you will need to average approximately 43.6 mi / 70.2 km per day (this was my longest day on the trail). Hikers traveling the full length of the trail from Denver to Durango will climb a cumulative 89,354 feet. The hike to Inspiration Point is about 1.5 mile round-trip, and takes approximately one hour to complete from the top of the falls. The trail to Emerald Lake is 3.3 miles roundtrip. It is a long-distance trail stretching for 782 km (486 miles) from Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango. Turn left on Waterton Road (just before the entrance to Lockheed Martin) and park there. When I started researching the Colorado Trail I had a lot of questions and I hope this guide can both help to point you in the right direction and get you stoked as you start planning! (Hiker with a 30 day trip). To be honest I would have been happy to just keep on hiking instead of finishing in Durango. Grays and Torrey's Peak [CLOSED] is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back At the end of the SOBO hike, you will pass Harmon Hill, Consultation Peak, and Seth … While the trail continues to gain elevation to … In fact, the route described here has been traversed solo and self-supported in an astonishing 3 days, 23 hours and 38 minutes by Jefe Branham of Gunnison in 2012. Aside from that 18 day hike the next fastest three trips were 24 to 26 days long. When planning for this trip I didn't want to carry more than 5 days supply and I planned 15 miles per day. The return hike may take twice as long, though 7 to 8 hours seems to be average. I had a great time looking through all the responses from hikers, and I hope it’s helpful to you as well! That means if you click a link and end up purchasing an item through Amazon, this site receives a small commission. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition Survey Demographic InformationNote: all numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number, except where a decimal has been used. The Colorado Trail is a 486-mile-long greatest hits collection of the Centennial State’s most picturesque scenery, from wildflower-strewn meadows to sky-high rocky ridges, that runs from Denver to Durango. I finished the trail in 37 days, taking three “zero days.” Day 1 – Waterton Canyon to the South Platte River – Segment 1 A Basic Guide to Bikepacking the Colorado Trail, Logistics and Planning Advice for Bikepacking the Colorado Trail, Gear Recommendations and Packing List for Bikepacking the Colorado Trail, 28 Beautiful Photographs of the Colorado Trail in Fall, average thru hike typically takes 4-6 weeks, Colorado Trail Hiker & Bikepacker Trip Length Survey. The CDT and The Colorado Trail share the same treadway for 234 miles; over 300 if you take the Collegiate West option. However, because of its length, altitude — and in many places, sheer ruggedness — the Colorado Trail can be hard to get your hands around at first. This hike is a must-do for any Rocky Mountain National Park vacation. It usually takes longer going up – often as much as double the time it takes to go down. The trail is comprised of 28 segments, ranging from 11.4 miles to 32 miles. For respondents that chose 10+ extra days I edited that to 10 days to make taking an average easier. This number represents total reported trip length including both rest days and hiking days. To reach the trailhead drive 8 miles south on Colorado 9 from Breckenridge, or 14 miles north from Fairplay, and turn west onto Blue Lakes 850 Road. In a vacuum, meaning that pack weight, finances, and work and all those-type factors wouldn't be an issue, I would prefer to do about 10 miles a day (or even less). This branch will take you high on the flanks of Mount Yale, where you can summit the 14er as part of your journey. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. Overall the average trip length reported in the survey was 33 days. We hiked up and took our time, taking lots of photos along the way. However, you will also have to follow 3.8 miles of the Appalachian Trail to get to Williamstown or North Adams. Here, hikers can take in views of the Great Plains as they stretch out to the East and of views of the city of Colorado Springs below. Bored of lots of numbers? How Much Time Does it Take to Hike the Colorado Trail? No spam, I promise! It traverses six wilderness areas and eight mountain ranges with an average elevation of 10,347 feet. So, how long does it take to hike Bear Peak? I started on August 1st in Denver and finished in Durango on September 6th. Doing about 20, like I did, meant that time decided many things like wakeup time, campsite selection, how long I could linger in neat areas, and how nasty weather was dealt with - rather than personal preference. The trail is well-marked and is traveled often, providing packed dirt and rocks and an easy trail … Most visitors to Barr Camp hike up Barr Trail from the trailhead in Manitou Springs. My key references were the The Colorado Trail Foundation website, the Colorado Trail Databook (pocket-sized, lightweight, and a must-have for planning and as an on-trail reference), and the Colorado Trail Hiker app (as another on-trail reference). The silence of the alpine void of wind, foliage and wildlife, just two weary travelers making passage across the top of the world. Information about the train (you need to purchase a ticket in advance) can be obtained from their website or by calling 970-247-2733. If nothing else, I think it will be interesting!

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