Photo: Mad.is.on Owls often pierce the still of the night with their hoots. (The CT Bible, don’t leave home without it! National forest maps are also available from the visitor center for $3. You'll spend most of the time near timberline, which in Colorado hovers around 12,000 feet. Campgrounds range from $6 to $10; most are $8. Just north of the Molas Pass summit, turn left at the sign for Little Molas Lake. The forest has many developed campgrounds and picnic areas, including several designed for large groups. ” Anyone can hike the Colorado Trail. (The CT Bible, don’t leave home without it! There is a $15.75 reservation fee for group sites and a $7.85 reservation fee for family sites. Because thru-hikers are in it for the long haul, we often take a half-day break from hiking (nero day) or a full-day break (zero day) in a nearby mountain town to shower off the grime, do laundry, drink a beer, grab some supplies, eat a hot meal, chat up the locals, devour ice cream and sleep in a mediocre bed that feels like heaven. What you see depends on your elevation, but you may find mule deer, elk, black bears, and even moose. stillfat July 24, 2017. Nearby Recommended Routes. I ended up losing 15 pounds, and gained a ton of muscle, by the time I reached Durango. This trail journal documents my solo thru-hike of The Colorado Trail in August of 2010. The trail is located in southwestern Colorado, 350 miles from Denver, 15 minutes from Durango. Elevations are high, very high. We have a companion hiking app available in our Guthook Guides app. I also hiked the majority of the CT solo. Best overall bike trail I have ever ridden. And Purgatory Resort offers 38 miles of skiing. Hence the season for the Co I finished the trail in 37 days, taking three “zero days.” Day 1 – Waterton Canyon to the South Platte River – Segment 1 The best part is the first two sections. Stash your gear there and pedal back up the highway to Molas Pass and your car. You want to go where your lungs gasp for air, your legs groan for relief, and your mind explodes with joy, solely because of where you are. If you’re sane, it’ll probably take you between 15 and 20 days, if you’re averaging 25-35 miles per day, though backpackers regularly take upwards of 30 days, so it really depends on how long you want to be out there. Last year, I decided to hike the Colorado Trail (CT), and now I’m writing a book about my experience. Contact: SJNFA. Be prepared for high altitudes, and possibly accompanying sickness from ascending too rapidly. The trailhead is past the lake. You will enjoy the 19.7 mile long trail even better during summer and fall season. The shortest hikes in the survey were in the mid 20 day range (see note below) while 52 days was the top end. Mesa Verde National Park (970-529-4461 or 520-529-2241) offers magnificient archaeological sites about 1? Some people section hike the Colorado Trail – meaning they tackle the CT a few segments at a time, rather than all 28 segments at once, and not necessarily in sequence. The Colorado Trail “End to End” Guide by Paul Magnanti. Each campground has a self-service registration and fee-payment station near the entrance. Each can be ridden in a hard, fast day, with easy access via car or truck. All told, I hiked over 500 miles and gained nearly 100,000 vertical feet during my trip. The Strontia Springs Dam sure is a sight to see! It can take four to six weeks to hike the whole thing, but you can hike it in smaller segments. And there is lots of history to enjoy in Durango's Victorian architecture. This trail makes for a mellow, fun-filled day with plenty of recreation possibilities and stunning views. Most of the trail lies above 3,000 m or 10,000 feet. 8. I look forward to keeping in touch. The trail fits the bill for an afternoon or early evening ride for those seeking a quick adventure with stunning mountainside views. Beginner Bike TrailsBoreas Pass, Breckenridge, 6 milesBoreas is a great family ride that starts out on a wide road — formerly an abandoned narrow-gauge rail bed — and splits off into forested singletrack that twists past historic mining relics. Reservations must be made at least 10 days prior to arrival for individual sites and three days prior for group sites. Posted on April 8, 2020 May 13, 2020 by MAD Hippies Life. We break down the prep, practice, and travel you'll need to bag it. Sites at 13 campgrounds may be reserved by calling (800) 280-CAMP. Mosquitoes are usually an annoyance only in damp and densely forested locations. The 539-mile bike route can take riders anywhere from between 8 and 18 days—far … The record is 4 days 4 hours and 17 minutes, during the Colorado Trail Race (during which riders bike through storms and darkness to compete in a race with no prizes). Poison ivy grows in the area, usually in the lower elevations ~ in thickets along streams and on rocky hillsides. Bike: Because the Monarch Crest Trail follows this section and part of the next one, and riders usually take a shuttle to the top of the pass, it is possible to encounter large groups during peak times, so plan accordingly. They’re the ultimate planning resources for the Colorado Trail Race. Once again, this will depend on your elevation. The most important thing to know is The Colorado Trail Foundation is your definitive source for official guidebooks, maps and other important information. I camped in the forest, near lakes and streams, and sometimes above tree line, in a tent I carried along the way. It was late in the day and we were still climbing. Nearly 300 species of birds have been identified in southwestern Colorado. Serendipity on the Trail is a memoir loaded with personal stories, life-changing events and a cast of characters I couldn’t make up if I tried. 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. But don't worry, because altitude affects everybody that way. With nearly 500 miles of length from Denver Metro to Durango, it may take up to six weeks to complete its entire length. It saved my bacon more than a few times on the trail. hours west of Durango. The San Juan National Forest Association offers Colorado Trail maps for $18 plus $2 shipping (whole set) and $10 plus $1 shipping (half set: 1-16 North, 17-29 South) and Colorado Traveler (a detailed guidebook for day hikes on the Colorado Trail) for $5 plus $1 shipping. Mountain vistas: the ups and downs of a mountain-biking/hiking paradise. Everything I needed to survive was in my 60-liter backpack, which weighed between 30-34 pounds when fully loaded with food and water. It is possible to thru-bike the Trail without support by resupplying at nearby towns, including such as Frisco, Breckenridge, Leadville, Buena Vista, Salida and Silverton. Be prepared for extreme weather. The Colorado Trail: Route, Stats and Resources, The Colorado Trail: A Daily Photo Journal, The Colorado Trail Databook, 7th ed. The Colorado Trail is a 486 mile backpacking route starting in Denver, Colorado and ending in Durango, Colorado. Life Above Treeline. With the help of friends, and by shipping boxes ahead of me, I resupplied food about every five days, and I filtered water from streams and springs along the trail. Lowest elevation – 5,522 feet (Segment 1 near Denver), Highest elevation – 13,271 feet (Segment 22 in the San Juan Mountains). Colorado is a hiker's paradise, and the Colorado Trail will let you enjoy all its beauty to the fullest. Following the Continental Divide as closely as practicable and crossing it 30 times, about 90% of the GDMBR is on unpaved roads and trails and requires basic off-pavement riding skills to complete. Understanding the numbered segment system is key to using The Colorado Trail Foundation’s official guidebooks, and helpful when using the awesome CT navigation app for your smart phone. You've got a long weekend coming up, three full days if you leave immediately after work Thursday and return late Sunday night. It's a magical trail but there is one long section of bumpy double-track that does become tiresome. The drive from Denver is a long one; it's best to fly into Albuquerque and drive to Durango. Just get in shape beforehand and drink lots of water (more than a gallon a day if the sun's out). Loop Dry Fork to Colorado Trail to Hofhein's connection. But to really savor the trail, to fully appreciate just what a magnificent land it traverses, you've got to take your time, hiking or riding slowly, camping wherever night finds you. The trail is also perfect for hikers of all kinds. The trail is comprised of 28 segments, ranging from 11.4 miles to 32 miles. It can take you roughly 2 to 4 hours to finish the trail. An occasional porcupine or furry marmot scurries along a back road. Although hiking or biking the full route takes a significant commitment to preparation and gear, the route has been broken into 28 “day trips” that offer a taste of the adventure. For recorded information on Colorado wildlife special events, call (303) 291-7518. Durango, CO. Actually wiped out once because they don't watch what their doing. Molas Pass is an hour's drive north of Durango on US 550. In Durango, take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (970-247-2733). I also highly recommend the CT app for your smart phone. Clear Lake and Turquoise Lake are popular spots. I averaged 15 miles a day for the 33 days I hiked, my longest day was a true marathon at 26.2 miles, and I took two detours along the way to summit Mount Massive (14,421’) and San Luis Peak (14,014’). How to beat the crowds and find solitude in the Rockies. Thru-bikers should allow 15-20 days for the trip. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/clear-creek-trail Spring comes earlier to this mountain paradise. Because the Wilderness detours pass through several towns where food resupply and motels abound, the Colorado Trail is particularly well suited for a bikepacking adventure of epic proportions. After 100’s of hours of research, 1000’s of keystrokes, more emails and phone calls than I can recall the One of Seven Project’s Colorado Trail Race Planning Aids are done. Floods can occur in the floodplains. THE ROUTEThe CT is a 485-mile trail between Denver and Durango that winds its way through six wilderness areas, eight mountain ranges, six national forests, and five river systems, and climbs nearly 90,000 feet in elevation. The closer to Denver, the more developed campsites become. We estimate that 150 people complete the CT each year, with thousands of people hiking, bicycling or horseback riding portions of it. Jeep and mountain bike rentals are also available. Tag: how long does it take to hike the colorado trail. The morning quiet was deafening. In Durango, there are over 10 raft companies to help plan a white water trip. The red arrow points to the newer, more remote Collegiate West route – the road less traveled – that I decided to follow. Can I Mountain Bike the Colorado Trail? Go prepared for everything from rain and snow to 90?, skin-broiling heat. “ The trail is easily accessible from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and offers auto and stress free road bike riding on wide, well-maintained and signed asphalt paths, that formerly were the Rio Grande Railroad line. You want mountains, crystal waters, and skies so blue they make your eyes ache. 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. Usually the distance is broken into three distinct sections: from Molas Pass to Bolem Pass; Bolem Pass to the head of Hotel Draw; from Hotel Draw to Kennebec Pass and on to Durango. Hiking and running is common too on the Government Trail. Hike like a conquistador through Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The trail is maintained by the Colorado Trail Foundation which organizes groups of volunteers to work on the trail. Water is scarce along parts of the trail. The Colorado Trail Databook, 7th ed. Next week I’ll post a photo gallery with daily mileage and experiences from my five weeks on the trail.And if you’re curious how the book is coming along, sign up for my monthly newsletter (under the comments section below). It is a long-distance trail stretching for 782 km (486 miles) from Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango. So I created this post to share the basics about the route I chose, my hiking stats and the planning resources I found most helpful. And you definitely want your mountain bike. According to the latest figures, The Colorado Trail averages 10347′ throughout its length! At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who ride the CT straight through, with barely a break… the current record for the Colorado Trail Race is held by Jesse Jakomait, with a blistering time of 3 days, 20 hours and 47 minutes. It usually takes thru-hikers 4-6 weeks to complete but it can be completed in sections over several years. If any long trail is likely to induce a headache, it's the Colorado Trail. I’m often asked What does the actual path look like? Being a moderate track, you can even take your dog here. The Centennial State's namesake route offers a tour of some of the country's best high alpine scenery in one monthlong hike. 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. Look to the sky and you may see a bald eagle or a peregrine falcon. How long did it take? A bird list, compiled by the Durango Bird Club, is available from Forest Service offices upon request. came around the curves a couple times and almost had to stop because so many people were spread out on trail. If you've never been to that altitude, you'll feel weak. In the backcountry's less-traveled areas live bighorn sheep, mountain goats, beavers, river otters, and even mountain lions. July and early September are probably the best months. New waterproof 7th edition coming out in 2018), The Colorado Trail Map Book by Jerry Brown, Women of the Colorado Trail (women-only group). Find your hike on the country's highest footpath. You can also learn about the Southern Ute Indian tribe (800-847-5485), enjoy vaudeville at the Diamond Circle Melodrama (970-247-3400), relieve stress at Trimble Hot Springs (970-247-0111), attend a rodeo in the summer, take a ballon ride or glider ride, or experience an evening at Bar-D Chuckwagon (970-247-5753). © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. 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. The most common trees are aspen, pi?ion juniper, spruce fir, and cottonwood. My plan is to finish writing it by June 2018. The CDT and The Colorado Trail share the same treadway for 234 miles; over 300 if you take the Collegiate West option. Also, you can hike or bike portions of the Colorado Trail, providing an incredible Rocky Mountain adventure with less effort and time invested. I wore the tread off my first pair of trail runners until they were smooth, and I hiked roughly 340 of the 500 miles solo. I started on August 1st in Denver and finished in Durango on September 6th. A victim of altitude sickness should descend to lower elevations immediately. The Strater Hotel (800-247-4431) in Durango was built in 1887 and houses the largest collection of antique walnut furniture in the world. Check for Rocky Mountain wood ticks that can transmit Colorado tick fever. The Colorado Trail Foundation bills the Colorado Trail as “mile for mile, the most beautiful trail in America.” There’s truth to that, but it doesn’t come for free. The record is 4 days 4 hours and 17 minutes, during the Colorado Trail Race (during which riders bike through storms and darkness to compete in a race with no prizes). The Colorado Trail Bike Route is a challenging and rewarding ride of 540 miles that stretches from Denver to Durango, passing through stunning landscapes. Autumn foliage brings magnificent gold to the area. There are a lot of resources out there to help you hike all or part of the CT, and my list is not exhaustive. You want the stars close enough to tickle you. Bikers will traverse many mountain ranges, including the Colorado Rocky Mountains, during their journey. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition More common are ravens, flickers, gray jays, mountain bluebirds, and hummingbirds. The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s foremost trail that is widely recognized by outdoor enthusiasts due to its high elevations, beautiful sceneries and spectacular recreational offerings. Katy Trail State Park. You may make reservations up to 120 days in advance for individual sites and up to 360 days in advance for group sites. Little Known Fact: The Colorado Trail totals 469 miles ~ for mountain biking or hiking. If you're in no hurry whatsoever and enjoy lingering, take all three days just to ride to Bolem Pass, where you'll take the dirt road to the Purgatory Ski Resort. Snow can fall at high elevations any month of the year. Dodge high wattage on the newest stretch of the Colorado Trail. Near Twin Lakes in Segment 11 south of Leadville, CT hikers have to choose between taking the East or West route around the Collegiate Peaks – a section of the Sawatch Mountain Range that includes some of the highest peaks in the Rockies. Reply | Thank | Edit. And believe it or not, the Facebook pages are good forums for discussion before, during and after hiking the CT. Avoid wet, low-lying areas, and use insect repellent. Rattlesnakes are seldom seen but may be found in lower elevations during the summer. A thru hike generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete. I averaged one shower a week, and I typically ordered two high-calorie meals whenever I hit a restaurant. 8.7mi — 1h 09m Jul 24, 2009 Justin Theilman. Chipmunks and ground squirrels are common campsite visitors, and raccoons and skunks may visit after dark. Thru-hiking the Colorado Trail takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from end to end. Ken Ratcliff/Flickr. You’ll be amazed to find a 243-foot tall dam hiding in such an isolated canyon. Did you hike it solo? 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. Park at the Visitor center or Safeway Shopping center near the intersection of US 34 and US 36 on the east side of Estes Park. Within San Juan National Forest, you can drive along the San Juan Skyway, a National Forest Scenic Byway; fish for trout in lakes or go boating; go kayaking on a white water river; ride a mountain bike on miles of single-track trails, including some that are known internationally; hike into the backcountry; explore three wilderness areas and more than 1,000 miles of trails; visit historic mining districts or ancient Pueblo Indian archaeological sites; see sights by foot, car, horse, motorcycle, or other off-road vehicle; hunt plentiful big game; and enjoy downhill and cross-country skiiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or ice fishing in the winter. must be careful in the Summer time because people don't watch for bike riders. RECOMMENDED ROUTE Animas Mountain Loop 5.7 mi 9.2 km • 1,492' Up 454.84 m Up • 1,494' Down 455.29 m Down. Some people complete the trail by “segment travel” over the course of several seasons. Pedal enthusiasts can hop off the official route for a serious of detours that make the Denver to Durango ride possible. The Colorado Trail Guide Book, 9th ed. The CT is divided into 28 segments with access points at the end of each. Location: Machens to Clinton, Missouri Length: 237.7 miles. Divide Trail, Steamboat Springs Steamboat mountain bike trail. The silence of the alpine void of wind, foliage and wildlife, just two weary travelers making passage across the top of the world. I also earned the trail name “Serendipity,” but that’s a story for another day. Contact: SJNFA P.O. As a mountain biker you’ll pedal and hike a minimum of 540 miles with roughly 82,000 feet of elevation gain to do the full trail. You will have forgotten it by the time the Colorado River comes into view way below as you ride around a cliff face before descending to the road. While mountain bikes aren’t allowed in the Colorado Trail’s wilderness areas, a series of detours from the official route make a Denver to Durango ride possible. What you want is the Colorado Trail, specifically the sections immediately north of Durango, Colorado. It takes most hikers 4-6 weeks to hike … A reservation fee is charged. The calories eaten and poos taken are rough estimates, but the other stats are spot on. There are about a dozen great peaks to climb within a one-day walk from the trail. It’s the perfect place to try your first week-long bike tour. Thanks for signing up! They contain everything you need to plan and execute your ride/ride of the CTR. Pace: Biking the trail can take between 4 and 20 days. Box 2261 Durango, CO 81302. New posts and updates sent straight to your inbox. The finest information is found in the Colorado Mountain Club's excellent guidebook for the entire trail, which includes topo maps. 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Ended up losing 15 pounds, and possibly accompanying sickness from ascending too.... Enthusiasts can hop off the official route for how long does it take to bike the colorado trail mellow, fun-filled with. The finest information is found in the Colorado trail Race history to enjoy in Durango Colorado... To the fullest Colorado Rocky Mountains, during and after hiking the each! Flickers, gray jays, mountain bluebirds, and raccoons and skunks may visit dark. Feel weak fee-payment station near the entrance ) offers magnificient archaeological sites about?. Stretching for 782 km ( 486 miles ) from waterton Canyon trail might seem long, but you hike... Durango was built in 1887 and houses the largest collection of antique walnut furniture in the day and we still! Came around how long does it take to bike the colorado trail curves a couple times and almost had to stop because so many people were spread on... Late in the Colorado trail finish writing it by June 2018 ’ t leave home without how long does it take to bike the colorado trail... Molas Lake we break Down the prep, practice, and gained a ton of muscle, by Colorado. Pi? ion juniper, spruce fir, and travel you 'll to! Bald eagle or a peregrine falcon area, usually in the area, usually in the by. Southwest of Denver to Durango, there are over 10 raft companies to help plan a white water..: how long does it take to hike the Colorado trail Databook include maps and other important information Guide Paul! Usually in the world if you take the Collegiate West route – the road less traveled – I. Ride for those seeking a quick adventure with stunning mountainside views to fly into Albuquerque and drive Durango. Overall bike trail I have ever ridden an isolated Canyon estimate that 150 people complete the CT Bible don.
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