for free!

The Best Hikes in Roosevelt National Forest

35 Triplog Reviews in the Roosevelt National Forest
Most recent of 13 deeper Triplog Reviews
41.75 mi • 2,000 ft aeg
Colorado Fall Colours - Sep2015
Colorado Fall Colours - September 2015
Making an attempt this time at combining business with pleasure with my Team making a presentation and "ask" from our R&D Council meeting in Boulder CO followed by a Life Sciences Investor Conference in Vail CO that alternates between Arizona and Colorado :next: Given the time of year in the Rocky Mountains, we were hoping to find some fall colours. Also wanted a chance to check out Independence Pass :next: [ Independence Pass ]

Ahwatukee AZ to Boulder CO is 894 miles, 13 hrs, 9 min per Google Maps
Boulder CO to Vail CO is 107 miles, 1 hrs, 58 min per Google Maps
Vail CO to Ahwatukee home is 761 miles, 12 hrs, 30 min via Durango

Itinerary goes here...

Colorado – September 2015
Saturday 9/19 – prep day…

Sunday 9/20 – BEST WESTERN PLUS Boulder Inn, 770 28th Street, Boulder, CO, Phone: 303/449-3800 – confirmation number 515929770, King 400 sqft Master Suite Pet Friendly Patio Room. Drive from home to Boulder CO is 894 miles via Santa Fe NM, 13 hrs 9 min per Google Maps

Monday 9/21 – BEST WESTERN PLUS Boulder Inn, Boulder CO – explore Boulder and surrounding mountains :next: [ photo ] Reservations Sunday to Wednesday.

Tuesday 9/22 – BEST WESTERN PLUS Boulder Inn, Boulder CO – explore Boulder and surrounding mountains :next: [ photo ] Reservations Sunday to Wednesday.

Wednesday 9/23 – ANTLERS at VAIL RESORT, 680 Lionshead Place, Vail, CO 81657 USA, (970)476-2471 - confirmation number 153442. 1 Bed Room condo, pet friendly condo Morning presentation to R&D Council @ legacy Covidien facility in Boulder CO. Evening reception at Vail Marriott Lionshead Village, 715 West Lionshead Circle, Vail CO. Boulder Inn to Antlers at Vail Resort is 107 miles via Golden CO, 1 hr 58 min per Google Maps.

Thursday 9/24 – ANTLERS at VAIL RESORT. Rocky Mountain Life Sciences Ventures @ Vail Marriott Lionshead Village Resort. ... ?id=593660 Registration ID: 5004146

Friday 9/25 – ANTLERS at VAIL RESORT – explore day

Saturday 9/26 – check out ANTLERS, Vail CO – drive home is 761 miles via Telluride CO, 12 hrs 30 min per Google Maps

Sunday 9/27 – recover at home…

Sunday September 20th - Ahwatukee to Boulder CO
Fitbit distance = 2.47 miles, 150 AEG (15 floors)
Made an early morning getaway via AZ87 to Payson and Holbrook to pick up the I-40. Missed my planned turn at Laguna Pueblo to capture a couple of images (HAZ Hike :next: [ Laguna Pueblo/Mission View Point ] ) so we pushed onto Albuquerque NM for our leg-stretcher break. Helped a stranded motorist near Las Vegas NM – clogged air filter! Karma fulfilled, had our Antelope herds appear on cue to usher in the New Mexico sunset…
Couldn’t get a “dog friendly” cottage reserved at Chautauqua this time :next:, so resorted to “plan B” using the Boulder Best Western Plus as base camp.

HAZ hikes
1. Fort Union National Monument NM :next: [ Fort Union National Monument ]
2. Wagon Mound NM :next: [ Wagon Mound ]
3. Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge NM :next: [ Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge ]
Monday September 21st – Boulder CO and Surrounding Area
Fitbit distance = 7.37 miles, 410 AEG (41 floors)
Quest for some local Fall Colours – explore Flatirons and travel up Flagstaff Road to Gross Reservoir and onto Nederland and Brainard Lake area in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Roosevelt National Forest…

HAZ hikes
1. Chautauqua / Bluebell Mesa CO :next: [ Chautauqua / Bluebell Mesa ]
2. Royal Arch Trail CO :next: [ Royal Arch from Enchanted Mesa TH ]
3. Flatirons 1 & 2 CO :next: [ Flatirons 1 & 2 - Boulder Mountain Park ]
4. Panorama Point CO :next: [ Panorama Point ]
5. Meyer Homestead CO :next: [ Meyer Homestead ]
6. Gross Reservoir CO :next: [ Gross Reservoir ]
7. Barker Reservoir CO :next: [ Barker Reservoir ]
8. Brainard Lake Loop Trail :next: [ Brainard Lake Loop Trail ]
9. Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail :next: [ Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail ]
10. Jean Lunning Trail :next: [ Jean Luning Trail ]
11. Lake Isabelle Trail :next: [ Lake Isabelle ]
12. Red Rock Lake Trail :next: [ Red Rock Lake Trail ]
13. Boulder Canyon Trails :next: [ Boulder Canyon / Creek Trails ]
Tuesday September 22nd – Boulder CO and Surrounding Area
Fitbit distance = 5.82 miles, 530 AEG (53 floors)
Early morning stroll at Chautauqua. Good laugh seeing Chryssie take on all the squirrels. Dry run with my Team before heading the Avery Brewery for dinner.

HAZ hikes
1. Chautauqua / Bluebell Mesa CO :next: [ Chautauqua / Bluebell Mesa ]
Wednesday September 23rd - Boulder CO to Vail CO via Nederland CO
Fitbit distance = 5.16 miles, 180 AEG (18 floors)
Team made our presentation to the R&D Council and I headed back to our Boulder base camp to hit the road to Vail CO. Checked into our next base camp at the Antlers Resort and headed to the Rocky Mountain Life Sciences Investor Conference reception…

HAZ hikes
1. none
Thursday September 24th – Vail CO
Fitbit distance = 5.53 miles, 70 AEG (70 floors)
All day at the Rocky Mountain Life Sciences Investor Conference…

HAZ hikes
1. Eagles Loop Trail :next: [ Eagles Loop Trail ]
Friday September 25th – Vail CO to Minturn to Leadville to Aspen to Glenwood Springs to Vail CO
Fitbit distance = 10.66 miles, 490 AEG (49 floors)
Enjoyed many Colorado Rocky Mountain mini-treks, but the hi-lite was Independence Pass...

HAZ hikes
1. Camp Hale Ruins :next: [ Camp Hale Ruins ]
2. Tennessee Pass :next: [ Tennessee Pass to Hagerman Pass Road - CT #9 ]
3. Twin Lakes Reservoir :next: [ Twin Lakes Reservoir & Colorado Trail ]
4. Independence Pass :next: [ Independence Pass ]
5. Independence Ghost Town :next: [ Independence Ghost Town ]
6. Hanging Lake :next: [ Hanging Lake ]
Saturday September 26th Vail CO to Durango CO to Ahwatukee AZ
Fitbit distance = 4.74 miles, 170 AEG (17 floors)
Primo Fall Colours providing eye-candy all along the route home...

HAZ hikes
1. Crystal Lake CO :next: [ Crystal Lake ]
2. Molas Lake CO :next: [ Molas Lake ]
Sunday 9/20 = 2.47 miles, 150 AEG
Monday 9/21 = 7.37 miles, 410 AEG
Tuesday 9/22 = 5.82 miles, 530 AEG
Wednesday 9/23 = 5.16 miles, 180 AEG
Thursday 9/24 = 5.53 miles, 70 AEG
Friday 9/25 = 10.66 miles, 490 AEG
Saturday 9/26 = 4.74 miles, 170 AEG
TOTAL = 41.75 miles, 2000 AEG
233 iPhone photos
142 Canon 7D photos
298 Canon 6D photos
171 Canon Rebel XT photos
TOTAL = 844 photos
13.75 mi • 5,387 ft aeg
rarely, if ever, have i anticipated a hike so much. i have literally been looking at this mountain and route repeatedly for years. based on weather forecasts, we made last minute switch to go for this one on this given day and it worked out wonderfully.

started in the dark with frigid gale force winds howling down from granite pass. bobby had his rockets on and skyrocketed out of the parking lot. the sun rose along the shoulders of mt. lady washington and the winds seemed to calm a little? treated to a magnificent morning view of the rockies at granite pass. bob was waiting for me at the base of the boulder field and we picked our way to the keyhole wondering what the raging wind had in store for us as it blasted through the keyhole. we encountered a number of people that had turned back because of it. once at the shelter we took a minute to rearrange stuff and bob went out to "check it out"...which made me pumpkin because i knew that meant, wind be damned, it was showtime. i climbed up to the keyhole and looked at bob. he gave me the 'ol come hither gesture, and i thought "holy smokes i'm finally gonna do this...i hate you bob" and off i went onto the scary Ledges and beyond.

bob was essential for me throughout these parts and kept me focused and calm. the Ledges were initially scary then awesome, the Trough kicked our pumpkins, the Narrows were awesome and occasionally creepy and the Homestretch was bleeping steep (and scary on the way down :o ). the summit was totally fantastic.

we had a great trip down, highlighted by some incredibly cool and calm lady basically saving a dude who had got crazily off course and cliffed out on the Ledges. the rest of the trip down was pleasant and the weather was fabulous.

this one goes immediately into my hall of fame. just :pk: awesome!!
13.75 mi • 5,387 ft aeg
My stats were way high.... over 15 miles and 5,700 Aeg. I'm posting stats from the official route.

This one was :y: :y: :y: :y: :y: . Probably will update my top ten favorites soon.

A lot of people turned back at the Keyhole because of the winds. I'm sure Nick will write up an awesome triplog for this one, so I'll end it with this final thought. The coolest thing was this woman rescuing a cliffed out hiker. She not only calmed the guy down, she also soothed all of us down below with her calmness in such a stressful situation :app: . Coolio route
15 mi • 5,000 ft aeg
This is the year I hit the big five-oh, and when my son offered to do "something big" with me to mark the milestone, Longs seemed like it would be a worthy goal and a good challenge. With a 330AM start to minimize the chance of getting caught in afternoon thunderstorms we cruised it under sunny skies, with strong gusting winds above the Keyhole and just a few small patches of easily avoided ice. Good to know that 50 is just a number.
6.4 mi • 2,295 ft aeg
To clear up confusion... There's Greyrock Trail #946 and Greyrock Meadows Trail #947. Both trails start shortly after crossing the Poudre Canyon Highway and the Cache la Poudre River. You can make a loop out of both trails as they meet again at the foot of Greyrock Mountain. A spur trail which takes you to the summit also takes off from there. I believe the whole monty makes up Greyrock National Recreation Trail, but I'm not sure about that... Either way, fun hiking in the Front Range.
11.55 mi • 2,880 ft aeg
Peacock Pool Chasm Lake & Eugenia Mine
Day 7
Trailhead elevation = 9,300‘ Destination elevation = 11,825’
My last day of hiking up here. Had a couple recommendations for the Chasm Lake hike, so that made it an easy choice. After breakfast at Mickey D’s I was on the trailhead at sunrise. This hike uses the same trail for the first 3.5 miles as the Longs Peak hike/climb. In those 3.5 miles 2,200’ elevation were gained. On a lot of the trails to stop erosion the park service has created steps from either logs 6 to 8 inches in diameter, or rectangular rocks with 4 to 20 inches sticking above the ground. On this hike there were literally a thousand or more step-ups with a median height being about a foot. Very exhausting going up and coming down with those.

Pretty typical start of the trail, in the forest then breaking out above the tree line. A nice stream in the lower elevations. The first stop at 11,500 was a good view of Peacock Pool. So named because of all the colors seen in the waters. Then a beautiful waterfall followed and a bit of a climb up and over a rocky wall.

The lake was fantastic. When I first got there was a unique time. It was one of few times when there was really no wind. Making the lake look like a mirror. It was reflecting the most magnificent cliffs and walls. Some walls were thousands of feet high straight up from the lake. Longs Peak had a good 2,000’ cliff then a steep scree pile ending at the lake.

Within half an hour after my arrival a breeze started up obscuring the reflection.

All in all this was my favorite destination for the seven days.

There were half a dozen elk eating the plants at the ranger station at the trailhead when the hike started. Pikas and chipmunks were running all over the area above tree line.

At the bottom of the trail there was a side trail that led to the Eugenia Mine site. A gold mine that was operated by the Eugenia family in the early 1900’s. Records show that the tunnel had reached 1500’ into the mountain by 1910. There was no record of any gold actually extracted. The park service blasted the entrance several years ago so all that’s left is the ruins of a cabin, a steam boiler and the tailings pile. There are also rotted posts in the nearby stream that used to hold a sluice.

By the time I headed for the trailhead it had started to rain, lightning and thunder. A notable end to a good week.

The Rocky Mountain National Park has over 355 miles of trails. If you don’t mind a lot of elevation gain I heartily recommend hiking there. The scenery, views, wildlife, streams, and waterfalls are some of the best I have ever found. The mornings are usually clear with the afternoons clouding and possibly raining. So early morning hikes are best.
6.3 mi • 1,950 ft aeg
It was a beautiful and surprisingly uncrowded day on this normally extremely popular dayhike. The Fourth of July mine ruins aren't much to see, but the wildflowers are still good for this late in the season and the view from Arapahoe Pass is gorgeous. We enjoyed a long break on the shores of Lake Dorothy before heading back down, so that trip time includes two hours of lounging. Despite nearly 2 kfeet elevation gain, this is a nice, gradual, undemanding trail. It also has some interesting geology.

A note on access:
The road turns pretty bad a little past Eldora, and there's so much congestion at the nearby Hessie TH that a shuttle bus now runs between there and Nederland. The Fourth of July TH (where this hike starts) is a little past there, up a couple miles of dreadfully rocky and rutted road.

Elephant Heads, Sickle-top Lousewort, Rose Crown, Alpine Gentian, Monkshood
13.75 mi • 5,387 ft aeg
The gps route I posted a couple of days ago is for a loop up the Loft (past Clark's Arrow) and down the Keyhole. Heck of a hike. We started at 4 am with head lamps and ended at 4 pm. Six of us made the loop on a "bluebird" day, but the loop has numerous places where serious scrambling is a must, up and down. Watch the wet patches. The Loft route intersects the Keyhole route along the bottom of the "Home Stretch" and skirts a small area of snow near the intersection, before going to the summit.

There is additional great information and a waypoint for Clark's Arrow at ... longs-loft. The pics I am also posting show the arrow, but denverdeavis has a great shot showing an exploding view from across the way on the Keyhole route.

This is a serious hike for serious hikers. Thanks to Mike for setting it up.
13.5 mi • 4,100 ft aeg
Ben and Andrea made it to the area, so we decided to attempt Longs. The forecast called for clear skies all day, and winds up to 10-16mph. Unfortunately, long before we got to the Keyhole, the wind was swiftly blowing anywhere from about 30-45mph (estimated higher by others). A good number of people were turning back at the Keyhole itself, with some adventuring through the Ledges and up the Trough, but most turned back once reaching the Narrows. The winds on that side were reportedly much worse, and with very little room to err in that section, to move further seemed like a death wish. We did talk to a few people who had gone all the way to the summit, and most of them were glad they'd survived the winds. One man did say he didn't think the wind was that bad, however. All I know is that it was far beyond anything I'd have liked to have been competing against while hiking the Narrows or the Homestretch.

We took a break at the Keyhole for a while, and then started back. The wind seemed a bit nicer at this point, but with it getting so late in the day and weather being so unpredictable, we continued down the mountain until the Chasm Lake turnoff. We hung out there for a bit and had some lunch, then hiked to the lake. It was beautiful! The lake sits somewhat beneath the Diamond, so we sat and searched for climbers on the wall. We could hear the echoes of voices shouting out commands and other communications, but couldn't locate any moving climbers for sure.

It then started to sleet and rain a bit. I was really glad not to be up on any sort of wall or smooth slabby surface at that point. We headed down the trail and got back to the trailhead early afternoon-ish. A ranger thanked us for not continuing farther on the trail during the adverse weather conditions. Everyone turned out safe that day, including one girl who had suffered altitude sickness, but it only takes one mistake to change that.

We went back to camp for naps, and woke up surrounded by cows. Tore down camp at that point and headed into Boulder for some well-deserved foods.
14 mi • 5,100 ft aeg
We'd actually attempted this a couple days prior, but when we pulled up to the TH, we'd been tired, cranky, achy, sick, and just generally not in the mood. So we'd decided to spend the day in Estes instead, walking around and trying on various hats in various stores, and eating foods with my family, and having just a general good time.

So this time, we parked the Subi on a nice, bumpy dirt road and "car camped" inside so that we could wake up early and get 'er done.

Our early start turned into a late 5am start, but we barreled up the trail and found ourselves at the keyhole. After the keyhole, things got a bit more interesting. We used our hands almost constantly, occasionally had to climb, and then squished ourselves against the walls of the Narrows before scurrying up the cracks along the Homestretch... all this while we watched the clouds slowly accumulate and rise to meet us.

We didn't stay long at the summit, but Janelle did take a few pictures here and there of the whole trip. Had to take a couple days off after this one, as the knee pain (IT band?) has started to return again. Soooo, back to building up that CO brewery list!

end of page marker