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Need Colo. High Adventure suggestions

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Hope the fire is hot and the coffe good.


The troop that I serve has been planning a high adventure trip (backpacking) in Colo for this year. However, the pine beetle infestation has closed the area that had been planned for (fire hazard and ugly) by the National Forest Dept.. We are looking for suggestions for high adventure in Colorado outside of the pine beetle insfestation area for backpacking/ hiking of easy to moderate level.


Your suggestions will be passed on to the adventure group and as always will be greatly appreciated.



red feather

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Red Feather-


I don't know the Pine Beetle infestation area, but I'd highly recommend a couple hikes I took as a scout.


1) Easier of the two - Notch Mountain (west of Col Springs area). basecamp to summit is about a 10 miler round trip (if I remember correct). Anyways, I made it as a Tenderfoot with both parents and 8 y/o sister in tow. Its an all day hike and will get you above the tree line. Summit looks over a valley at the south face of Mt of the Holy Cross (named for the summer snow formation on the mountain's face). Good hike - leave @ 7 a.m., spend about 2 hours at summit, back at basecamp before dark. Top elevation around 12,300ft.


2) More challenging - Later in my scout career, we summitted Mt of the Holy Cross. Its a more advanced climb and should be reserved for hikers that have some expirience. A couple scary ridge runs on the way to the summit if I recall. Top elevation is just around 14K I think.


I'd have to break out the old maps to double check and I'm not sure were they are. I KNOW you can find Mt. Holy Cross on google earth, or google maps, then get the USGS quad from that.


BTW - I know St. Joe - did my undergrad at MWSC in chemistry there. Also, where I got the itch and joined up w/ ROTC. Fun times.


Hope you find a locale and hike that will meet your needs.





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I think the access road to the Holy Cross Trailhead has been closed for a year. Not sure when it will reopen. Also, they closed the East Creek (midway point on HC) camping area due to excessive damage so you can't camp when climbing HC anymore. That makes it a very long 14 mile round trip, uphill both ways (I'm not kidding).


Pine beetle infestation is almost state wide. The FS has closed some campgrounds due to it (and budget cuts), but most access to the wilderness areas are still open.


Other options: Tahosa High Adventure base. Run by the Denver Area Council is a Philmont style back-country adventure into the Indian Peaks Wilderness.


Lost Creek Wilderness west of Denver (my favorite secret cache). You could do a 50 miler loop or shorter in and out hikes. Terrain much like Philmont. Average elevation 9000 ft.


Colorado Trail Trek. Starts in SW Denver, ends up at the Four Corners. Like the AT, most do it in segments. Requires some support to lay food caches or pickups.


Continental Divide Trek. Trail follows the divide from north and south state borders. Most of the trek would be above timberline.


Pikes Peak Barr Trail. 13 mile trail up the front side of Pikes Peak. Camping midway at Barr Camp. 7000 elevation gain, but if you break it into three days (one to midway, one to summit and return to midway, one to hike out), its an easy hike up the peak. Hot Cocoa at the top too.

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My sons troop takes their older boys on a high adventure trip to the Weminuche Wilderness Area. They tell me it is fabulous. Last year before going I found a book A Falcon Guide Hiking Colorado's Weminuche & South San Juan Wilderness Areas A Guide to Southwestern Colorado's Greatest Hiking Adventures. My husband said it was quite helpful and in talking to friends who are real backpacking fans they told me this area is ranked according to the Backpacker magazine as a great trek. My son is looking forward to this trip again this summer. The photos my husband brought back last year needed to be on a calendar they were so breathtaking.

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  • 1 month later...

All of the above are excellent suggestions, especially the Weminuche trip. If you hurry you could get reservations on the Durango to Silverton narrow guage railway and get off at Elk Park and hike around to Chicago Basin, a fantastic trip.


14ers in Colorado are lots of fun. If you wanted to knock off 14ers for your whole trip, here is a good website http://www.14ers.com/. I took my troop on 4-5 of these including Crestone Needle, and Gray's, which we did as a winter ski ascent. All are fun, though Crestone may require ropes, as it is a 5.1 or so.


I would also suggest the Rawah Lakes Wilderness Area in the N Central part of the state. It is not as traveled, is an easy backpack and has lots of lakes to fish and play in. Another favorite is West Elk, and another one is Sangre de Cristo. See: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&sec=stateView&state=co


For a completely different trip, I teach a class in the fundamentals of whitewater river rafting where the youth learns all the things necessary to run their own rafts. I also teach the fundamentals of snow and ice climbing (early June) as well. You can catch me at johnmbowen@yahoo.com if you have an interest in those.

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