day hiking wonderland of the Colorado Rocky Mountains has 54
peaks which rise above 14,000 feet.
Longs Peak is one of the more famous and rigorous "Fourteeners" and
a "must do" for the extreme day hiker.
However, like the other hikes described on this site, be prepared
mentally and physically for this day trek of 16 miles round trip and
4850 feet of elevation climb.
Situated in the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Long's
Peak is a photographer's dream with Bear
Lake often providing a scenic foreground.
high altitude venture, plan to start your hike about 1-3 in the morning
to reach the summit and be down below tree
line before the afternoon thunderstorms. I (Dayhiker)
did this hike on July 29,1999 ... we left at 2:45am, were on top by
9:00am and down by 3:00pm. My hiking buddy and I were fortunate
to have good weather ... however, check out this description two weeks
another hiker, where high winds were a problem. Also
note: Three people died the first two weeks in August 1999 hiking
this mountain! Be careful!!
starts at 9,400' and climbs to 14,255'. The first
two miles weave through the woods passing the Alpine Brook several
times before reaching the treeless alpine world. The junction
to Chasm Lake is at 3.5 miles. The lake is another 0.7 miles
from here and sits at the foot of the awesome East Face of Longs Peak.
the Longs Peak route heads in the other direction towards Granite
Pass. By this spot, you will have traveled 4.2 miles
and climbed to just over 12,000'. Work to find a steady pace
that doesn't take up too much energy and try to keep the rest stops
brief. A steep section after Granite Pass is followed by nice
views of Longs Peak. If you left early enough, dawn should
be breaking as you pass through the alpine tundra with elk grazing
nearby the trail.
the Boulderfield, starting the all-rock terrain for the remainder
of the hike to the
summit. Getting through this will be a mental
and physical challenge, but once this is done, you will have hiked
6 of the 7.5 miles and climbed over 3/4 of the elevation gain. You
are now sitting at the Keyhole, an interesting rock opening on
the mountain ridge, where a constant wind brings the temperature down
to requiring another layer of fleece and wind pants. To be safe,
if you are to have a chance at the summit (and return to tree line
before thunderstorms), you should be at this spot by not much later
than 7 a.m.
the famous Keyhole (picture above), tread carefully on the narrow Ledges,
and traverse up the Trough, another mental and physical challenge. There
is not a trail in the usual sense as one picks through a continuous
series of yellow circles with a red dots in the center of large rocks. The
Trough is a formidable, steep stretch of several hundred feet which
can be covered with ice. It's important that a non-ice path is
found since going down is all but impossible on a slick ice surface. The
top of the Trough is the Narrows, including a 10 foot fun rock
climb. Around the corner, then, is the Home Stretch, another
few hundred feet of challenging rock scrambling. With the summit
view in sight there is no turning back as each step get you closer. It's
no Mt Everest but it feels like it the last
100 feet (that's me in the blue wind breaker). The top is a large
flat surface with incredible views of the lakes and mountains around
carefully. Must accidents seem to happen then. Look
out for wet and/or polished rock going down the Home Stretch.
Returned to your plush accommodations and toast a beer to the fact
you took on one of the toughest non-technical hikes the Rockies has
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