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Funky Tide 8
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Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
I am going to Colorado for a bachelor party, and I am flying into Denver a day or two before everyone else because I want to do some hiking. The bachelor party will technically be in Breckenridge.

Any suggestions on must-do hikes with an hour or two drive of Denver?


These are a some I've been thinking about just upon some google research:

Mt. Bierstadt via the Guanella Pass
Lost Lake via Hessie Trail
Lake Isabelle via Long Lake Trailhead


Also, any musts in and around Breckenridge are welcome too. Thanks!


bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Early May or late May? Huge difference. They've had a warm March, but I'd say that anything above 10,000 ft could (probably is) off limits.

quote:

Mt. Bierstadt via the Guanella Pass

Starts above 11,000 and goes to 14,200 so that's probably out. Even if they get a good melt it's gonna be really muddy. It could also snow 2 feet during any given night in May at that elevation.
This post was edited on 3/29 at 12:07 pm


Funky Tide 8
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Member since Feb 2009
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re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Mid-May.

Just based on some reviews of some of the trails I listed, people were hiking them within the last few days without much problem.


bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

Just based on some reviews of some of the trails I listed, people were hiking them within the last few days without much problem.

I'm seeing that on All trails now. Color me shocked. I stand corrected

Further reading shows this:
quote:

I hiked this yesterday. I was 710ft from my first 14er! Rookie mistake thinking I'd be fine going up Mount Bierstadt without yack tracks, poles or snow shoes. My trusty Merrell Capra hiking boots filled with so many mini snow balls that it froze my feet. I had an internal battle with my "Be A Koch" attitude but decided I should turn around and come back with proper gear. And maybe be alil more fit.. my heart rate hit 191bpm.
This post was edited on 3/29 at 12:12 pm


Funky Tide 8
Alabama Fan
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Member since Feb 2009
40252 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

Further reading shows this:



Yeah, I noticed that as well. How much would that change in a month and a half? I'm not familiar with the characteristics of such large mountains.


bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

I'm not familiar with the characteristics of such large mountains.
Last year, in late July we had to reroute our Tetons backpack due to deep snow/ice. On an average snow year north facing mountains hold snow through July.

quote:

How much would that change in a month and a half?
This is completely unknown. It wouldn't be uncharacteristic for areas as low as 10,000 feet to receive 1-2 feet of snow on any given night in May.

I would plan on sticking to creek, canyons, and sub alpine lake trails...and hope to be able to summit a high peak, knowing that you might not be able to do so.

Example: This is Trail Ridge Road on 23 May 2011. Elevation 10-12,000 ft.
Image: http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site28/2011/0525/20110525_081119_27ep%2022%20foot%20drift%20trail%20ridge%20road_500.jpg
This post was edited on 3/29 at 1:02 pm


Funky Tide 8
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Member since Feb 2009
40252 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Awesome, thanks for the tips

I suppose I will just play it by ear.
This post was edited on 3/29 at 1:23 pm


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bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
No problem

I don't know what took me so long to think of this, but you don't need to look any further than the Bear/Dream Lake area of RMNP, which is within 2 hours of Denver.
If you choose this one, make sure to get the shot of Hallet's Peak above Dream Lake.

Image: http://imagesofrmnp.com/images/large/Halletts-Spring.jpg


Here's the same peak from Glacier Creek trail (this was July of 2015)...so much great hiking here.
This post was edited on 3/29 at 1:59 pm


ColoradoAg03
Texas A&M Fan
Denver, CO
Member since Oct 2012
4337 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
We're in another stormy pattern with more snow coming. It dumped up there last night, will again this weekend, and yet again early-mid next week. It's going to be a pretty active Spring. May and June are the meat of mud season. It's why early-mid June is prime rafting season. Follow the webboards closely before your trip. Expect to be post-holing, getting real muddy, or both depending on your hike. Might need snowshoes and/or mud boots, too early to say. Either way, poles are advised.

ETA: If you're staying in Breck, definitely hit Mohawk Lakes Trail. It's a series of lakes and waterfalls going all the way up into the cirque that the highest lake is nestled in. Depending on trail conditions and your group's condition, you may or may not be able to make it up to the highest lake in the cirque, but it's still a great hike. I've done it multiple times. you can fish for Brook Trout in the Lakes too. Sometimes even catch them by hand (without rock damning, that's illegal) in the outlet streams if you're good.
This post was edited on 3/29 at 5:48 pm


Funky Tide 8
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Member since Feb 2009
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re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

We're in another stormy pattern with more snow coming. It dumped up there last night, will again this weekend, and yet again early-mid next week. It's going to be a pretty active Spring. May and June are the meat of mud season. It's why early-mid June is prime rafting season. Follow the webboards closely before your trip. Expect to be post-holing, getting real muddy, or both depending on your hike. Might need snowshoes and/or mud boots, too early to say. Either way, poles are advised.



Good stuff do you have any suggestions of hikes that are less involved if the weather/terrain on mountain ascents are too much?


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LSUintheNW
LSU Fan
Here and there
Member since Aug 2009
30069 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

Further reading shows this:


Yeah, I noticed that as well. How much would that change in a month and a half? I'm not familiar with the characteristics of such large mountains.


Better to be prepared.
spring and late fall I pack more for just in case situations in the mountains.


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tigerfan247365
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Feb 2017
423 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

Example: This is Trail Ridge Road on 23 May 2011. Elevation 10-12,000 ft.


take this example with a grain of salt. 2011 was one of the most epic years of snowfall in Colorado history.


bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

take this example with a grain of salt. 2011 was one of the most epic years of snowfall in Colorado history.

Depending on the basin, 2017 has as much or more snowpack than 2011 through as of this month.


Funky Tide 8
Alabama Fan
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Member since Feb 2009
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re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
What are the best trails in Boulder?


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Nodust
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2010
20902 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Colorado trail and Contrnemtal Divide trail pass through Breckenridge.

You could hike to Copper Mountain from Breckenridge and shuttle back. Not really sure how far you are willing to hike in a day. Many 14ers real close to Breckenridge. Micro spikes aren't that expensive.


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Lsupimp
Colorado Fan
The Mean Streets of Baton Rudge
Member since Nov 2003
58301 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Such a bad, bad idea for a flatlander to go to elevation in May for a diffcult hike. Here is what you do. Go to Boulder. Park at Chautauqua. Hike the 2nd Flatiron or Gregory Canyon or Saddle Rock to Green Mountain if you are feeling ambitious. You get views of the Front Range and the back range and you still get a 3 k elevation gain but at a more flatlander-friendly altitude.

If you are feeling really ambitious, again, drive to Boulder, park at NCAR LINK and hike all the way to the top of Bear Mountain. It's a challenging hike, but again under 9000 feet and that makes a huge difference if you are not acclimated.

The advantage of Boulder is you are less than an hour from Boulder and the weather is FAR more predictable. Plus when you are done you have your choice of every bar and restaurant in town. Trust me on this.

Edit-The link I gave you has the best trails in Boulder. I have hiked every square inch of Boulder County 1000 times. If you get a cold day-try Mt Sanitis, as it is south facing and snow and ice very seldom accumulates on the trail. It's a great hike, you go up "the steps" from the main trailhead and go down the front side onto a really nice trail. This is more step than trail and can wear ya out for a short hike if you aren't used to it. All of these hikes are the kind of hike you take in shorts, a layer or two and a fleece.
This post was edited on 4/3 at 9:03 pm


bayoubengals88
Wisconsin Fan
LA
Member since Sep 2007
11237 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
quote:

The link I gave you has the best trails in Boulder. I have hiked every square inch of Boulder County 1000 times.
I envy you (listen to this guy)
This post was edited on 4/3 at 9:24 pm


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Funky Tide 8
Alabama Fan
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Member since Feb 2009
40252 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Thanks for the post, pimp. I'm apparently underestimating the difficulty of a "easy" or "moderate" 10,000+ elevation hike for someone unacclimated. This is good info.

I will definitely check out the trails in Boulder. I am sure they will suffice for what I am looking for(beautiful scenery, somewhat challenging hike.) Got any ideas about hikes in/around Breck?
This post was edited on 4/4 at 11:37 am


mechatiger
LSU Fan
The Pen
Member since Aug 2014
37 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
As a recent transplant to Colorado, I'll second what Lsupimp said. Even after being at elevation for 6 months or so, I still get winded on some moderate-rated trails. "Moderate" is a relative term- some of the hikes around here are very strenuous and unless you're in excellent shape, you may struggle. Take plenty of water, you'll get thirsty.

I've yet to make it to Breck so I can't offer help there, but some of my favorite hikes in the Boulder area have been:

NCAR trails (especially the hike to Mallory cave) which are all relatively easy. Lots of connecting trails as well, so potential for longer hikes.

Miller rock via Ceran St. Vrain trailhead. The Ceran St. Vrain trail follows a meandering trout stream, which is a very easy hike, and then you have a steep climb up a jeep trail to Miller Rock, which has unimpeded views of the eastern plains and the Continental divide. The view from the top of the rock alone is worth the hike.

Hiking to Eldorado Falls. Accessed from the Ethel Harrold trailhead, it's only about a 500' elevation drop with a new trail that's very easy to walk along. There is also a decent loop and a few other trails that connect here so you can easily turn this into a longer hike. The drive up here from Baseline/Flagstaff road is excellent, and there are lots of trailheads along the way.

Chautauqua Park. As pimp said, there are some really good trails here but it tends to get very busy. The path to Royal Arch is awesome but may be too strenuous. If you're looking for solitude, this is definitely not the place. I usually avoid the trails here, driving a few hundred yards further to gregory canyon or heading to NCAR for my quick hikes.

Rattlesnake Gulch trail at Eldorado Canyon State Park. Eldorado Canyon has stunning views, a great stream running through it, and world-class rock climbing. The trail is an out-and-back, but has about 1200' elevation gain if you take the small loop up to the railroad tracks.
Along the way, you pass by the ruins of an old hotel, and can keep going to a scenic overlook that has great views of the divide and the plains. The trail itself isn't a spectacular hike, but the views are what makes this one.
Most of the trail has views of the climbing walls, so it's pretty neat to watch and listen to the calls of the climbers belaying up and down. Added bonus- stay till dusk and watch the climbers coming down the mountain by flashlight as you enjoy a cold local beer by the stream.



Funky Tide 8
Alabama Fan
Tittleman's Crest
Member since Feb 2009
40252 posts

re: Denver/Breckinridge in May-best hikes?
Great post, thanks for the info.


I'll be honest, the fact that yall are telling me to avoid the 10,000+ ft ascents makes me want to try one, as stupid as that sounds. Believe me, I am taking yall's advice to heart, especially with my trip being while the weather can still be very tricky, but I really want to try. The most strenuous hikes I've done are Angel's Landing, and hiking in Bryce Canyon, which were pretty easy. I know those don't compare to hiking up one of those bad boys.

I'm definitely going to use a day to hike some of the Boulder trails.

This post was edited on 4/4 at 7:30 pm


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