View Full Version : Southerner comin' up for a visit
02-15-2006, 11:51 AM
Hey fellow cruiserheads,
Im from Auburn, AL and for spring break I am coming up to Denver for a few days and then planning hiking the Colorado Trail with some buddies. I was wondering if yall could give me some advise on what sections of the Colorado Trail to go on and what the weather usually is like at the end of March and early April. We will be up there from March 25-April 1. Also any suggestions on things to do. I wish i was bringing my 60, but it would be a long as drive. Sorry i made a thread not about wheelin', but any advice would be great. Thanx!
War Eagle! :cheers:
Late March and early April we usually still have winter conditions at altitude. You will need skis or snowshoes, winter mountaineering gear including ice axes and crampons, avalanche beacons, shovels, ropes and harnesses. Self arrest and rescue skills would be important. I would highly recomend an avalanche awareness course as well as those two months are when we typically get most of our snow.
02-15-2006, 01:40 PM
I second what Ian says. We'd love to have you visit Colorado, but don't want to be putting you in a body bag next June when it melts down to where ever you end up. March and April can be big time snow months here.
02-15-2006, 02:13 PM
If you stay low enough you can still get a couple sections in that time of year however. Section 1 from southwest Denver to the Platte River *might* be hikeable, but it would be a good idea to have at least trekking poles/yaktrax or similar. It's also a six-mile hike up Waterton Canyon before it even turns to singletrack. Section 2 starts at the S. Platte River about 15 miles away as the crow flies, you have to go south on US Hwy 85 to Sedalia and turn onto CO 67 towards Deckers. After you drop down a big steep hill to the river turn right and the trailhead is a couple miles. You can either hike back section 1 up a steep 4 mile hill, or cross the river and go up and over another hill to the Buffalo Creek burn area. Again trekking poles/yaktrax are a minimum on these that time of year. Other sections of the CT are at higher elevations and/or have a bunch of shade, so they'd still be sketchy that time of year unless you're prepared to hike on snow. There are many sections, like some near Copper Mountain, that don't have steep-slope exposure and are nice hikes through the trees.
There are plenty of other trails near Denver that are always doable though - Deer Creek Canyon, Roxborough State Park, Mount Falcon, Lair 'o the Bear, Dakota Ridge, Red Rocks/Matthews/Winters Park, Green Mountain, Chimney Gulch from Golden, Apex Trail, Golden Gate State Park, Mount Galbraith, and White Ranch are all good options, some may/will have snow on them still.
I backpacked the Colorado Trail section up near Kenosha Pass on Memorial Day weekend in 1997. Had one hot day and one day that it snowed. That was late May. Be prepared for cold weather and lots of snow. March is the biggest snow month of the year in Colorado.
02-15-2006, 04:28 PM
WOW!, thanks for all the information, that all really helps a lot. One thing my group was thinking about was flying into Denver and then taking a bus or train to a southern more point on the trail and hike there and then go back to Denver to fly out. Would the southern part of the state have as much snow ? Would this be a better idea than hiking from Denver ? Is Durango a good place to start at the bottom and work up? sorry if these are stupid questions, i just dont know much about the area and wanna get evetything takin care of.
Honestly it is almost impossible to predict. If you have your heart set on a particular trail then think about waiting till warmer months. If you need to do it in the timeframe you mentioned then just stay open minded, show up, and find out what trails are open. Just keep in mind that any trail in the mountains can get rough that time of year and be prepared.
It gets warmer the farther south you go generally, but not always. You will have to watch weather reports and snowfall totals specific to the area you want to hike in closer to the timeframe you want to visit in. I have been in the high peaks chasing spring ice that time of year, and it can be 40 degrees and sunny one minute and below freezing with 100mph+ winds snowing sideways the next. Or my personal favorite, freezing rain, turning all rock faces into verglass covered death traps.
Don't feel bad about asking questions, its the smart thing to do. As Matt said, they pull hikers out in body bags every spring.
My personal recomendation would be to wait until June. In June the major storms are done (it can and still does snow at altitude though), pretty much all the trails/trailheads are open, the wildflowers are in full bloom, the wildlife is much more mobile so you are more likely to see them, but the high peaks are still covered with snow and stunningly beautiful.
02-15-2006, 06:38 PM
Durango would likely have more snow, but again it's hard to tell, I guess they really haven't gotten *as much* snow this year. If you want to do some hiking, I'd suggest go to the western slope, by Grand Junction, and do something like the Colorado Trail, or just go all the way to Utah to do some hiking. That's what I'm doing :D :cheers:
02-15-2006, 06:58 PM
I was raised in the south and can feel your westward itching pains! I thing you could still come out over spring break and have a great time. That said, I would think that covering a lot of ground in late march would be a bit of a task.
I would look into snowshoeing with a base camp/day trips in your plan. The terrain out here can be rugged, snow makes for really slow progress, and the altitude will tax your endurance like you can hardly imagine (I grew up in Florida and still feel like I am adjusting) add a pack and a group and stuff moves slow.
I would recommend leaving your trail goal for a summer trip. But like you said, if you are looking to get some backcountry time over spring break, I think it could be sweet to do a snowshoeing trip, and be flexible in your itenerary. I have friends flying out in March for that very thing.
Just my .02
02-15-2006, 08:17 PM
Don't forget about the Hut to Hut systems, this (http://www.huts.org/) one is from the 10th mountain division but there are others across the state. Do not know how hard they are to reserve.....
02-15-2006, 09:37 PM
meeting a guy with the handle auburnfjsexy, hmmm. seems like internet dating
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