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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are a couple of nice routes that are both doable in under 12 hours for those of us who just hike fast, likely under 6 for serious trail runners. Both require an early start as they cross over passes well above tree line and are exposed to lightening during summer afternoons. They should be clear of snow by end of June on an average year. With a few exceptions the trails are generally well traveled and runnable.<br><br>
PM me if you want more details & GPS wayponts.<br><br><b>Indian Peaks Loop</b><br><br>
Basics: 23mi, 7,800ft gain<br><br>
Summary: A beautiful loop in the Indian Peaks wilderness which crosses over the divide at Pawnee Pass (12,541ft) and back at Buchanan Pass (11,837)<br><br>
Start/Finish: Start at the Long Lake trailhead (10,500ft) near Brainard lake in the Indian Peaks wilderness an hour west of Boulder on the Peak to Peak highway north of Nederland.<br><br>
Fun Factor: Waterfalls on Cascade Creek, wildflowers, great views of Indian Peaks<br><br><div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/IndianPeaks1.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Early snow on Pawnee Pass, mid August 2007.<br><br><div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/IndianPeaks2.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br></div>
Lone Eagle Peak in the Crater Lake basin, as seen from Cascade Cr.<br><br><div style="text-align:left;"><b>Maroon Bells 4 Pass Loop</b><br><br>
Basics: 24mi, 7,800ft gain<br><br>
Summary: Arguably one of the best trail runs in Colorado, this route is a favorite of Aspen locals. The route crosses over four passes, all over 12,000ft, so get an early start!<br><br>
Start/Finish: Maroon Bells lake (9,600ft) 20 minutes west of Aspen on the Maroon Creek road (note that you will have to take a shuttle from Aspen Highlands if you get a late start- but that shouldn't be a problem, right?).<br><br>
Fun Factor: Spectacular views from all angles of some of the most photographed peaks in Colorado.<br><br><div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/MaroonBells1.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Looking from Maroon Pass back towards Crater Lake- Maroon Bells on the left, Pyramid Peak on the right.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/MaroonBells2.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><div style="text-align:center;">Looking down on Snowmass Lake from the top of TrailRider Pass<br><br><div style="text-align:left;">What are some of your favorite CO Trail Runs? Post them here!<br></div>
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A agree about the Four Pass Loop... it's stellar... my favorite run in Colorado so far!<br><br>
Here's my TR from a run of it this summer:<br><a href="http://www.chrisgerber.com/outdoors/trip-reports/aspen-4-pass-loop-20070728.cgi" target="_blank">Four Pass Loop</a><br><br>
Oddly enough, I've been all over the Indian Peaks but still haven't gotten around to that loop. It's been on my to-do list for years...<br><br>
A couple long traverses that I've enjoyed:<br><br>
1. <a href="http://www.swarpa.net/~danforth/wj/berthoudrollins.html" target="_blank">Berthoud Pass to Rollins Pass</a> - About 20ish miles with a lot of gain. We took side trips to summit all 8 peaks between Berthoud and and James, then had to duck low to avoid some T-Storms.<br><br>
2. <a href="http://www.swarpa.net/~danforth/wj/tenmile.html" target="_blank">Tenmile Traverse</a> - Peak 1 through Peak 10 of the Tenmile Range in Summit County. You could keep going south and collect additional peaks too.<br><br>
3. <a href="http://www.swarpa.net/~danforth/wj/jpwrun.html" target="_blank">Moffat Tunnel-Jame Peak-Rollins Pass Loop</a> - A nice 19 mile loop that starts and finishes at the Moffat Tunnel<br><br>
4. <a href="http://www.ericjlee.com/Trip%20Reports/LongsRadicalSlam.html" target="_blank">Radical Slam</a> - This one isn't that runnable since most of it is Class 2-4 Scrambling, above 13,000'... but it's a really great long day out. The loop tags the summits of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain, Storm Peak, Mount Lady Washington, Battle Mountain, and Estes Cone.<br><br>
The last four TRs are from friends.<br><br>
- Chris
 

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Wow! Thanks for posting. I've run the Barr Trail (PPM) and LT100 trails during the race. Any time I can get out to CO I go.<br><br>
Great pics as well. 3 weeks prior to LT100 this year I am hoping to hike/run the trail to <a href="http://www.hikingincolorado.org/masv.html" target="_blank">Mt. Massive</a> as well as a double crossing of <a href="http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=35202" target="_blank">Hope Pass</a>.<br><br>
I'm set to run the <a href="http://www.collegiatepeakstrailrun.org/" target="_blank">Collegiate Peaks 50M</a> race in May near Beuna Vista. <b><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Can you tell me anything about those trails?</span></b><br><br>
Here are some of my LT100 pics. Maybe I'll get the monkey off my back after a DNF in 2006 and 2007.<br><br>
Near Treeline on the way to the Half Moon Aid Station<br><img alt="" src="http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q278/cmerun100m/2006%20Leadville%20Trail%20100M/100_0106.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Coming into the Twin Lakes Aid Station<br><img alt="" src="http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q278/cmerun100m/2006%20Leadville%20Trail%20100M/100_0111.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Coming into the ghost town of Winfield at the 50M turnaround<br><img alt="" src="http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q278/cmerun100m/2006%20Leadville%20Trail%20100M/100_0117.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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A couple friends of mine have run Collegiate Peaks. I'll try to remember to ask them about the course this weekend. I'm under the impression it's mostly jeep/4wd roads though.<br><br>
Hopefully I'll see you at LT100 this August <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
- Chris
 

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I ran the 25 mile last year. As you know, the 50 mile is the 25 mile loop ran in both directions.<br><br>
My first disappointment, it does not run through the peaks themselves. If I had looked at the map a little closer, I would have noticed the trails were on the wrong side of Buena Vista. However, you do get some wonderful views of the Collegiate Peaks through the run.<br><br>
I liked the 2 x loop format as I got to see the 50 miler leaders as they were running in the opposite direction.<br><br>
Chris is correct about the course: mostly good jeep roads. Nothing technical.<br><br>
I did not think any of the longer climbs were bad. The hill around the 20 mile mark I should have run but I like to talk to other runners too much. I think it looks worse on the elevation chart than it was. I never pay attention to downhills so the opposite direction could be a lot worse.<br><br>
Overall, I would do it again this year but its the week after Zane Grey*. I have a friend who wants to run a 50 miler and I have recommended it as a good first Colorado 50.<br><br>
Chris G<br><br>
* Everything seems to be a week after Zane Grey or the same weekend as San Juan this year. Why can't RDs plans around my schedule?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wasn't going to comment on the Collegiate Peaks race because I haven't done it, but then looking at the map I realized I have mountain biked most of the route.<br><br>
- First mile out of BV is steep single track<br>
- The next section is along the old Midland railroad grade- a nice even grade except for a couple of places where washes cut through the grade and the old trestles are gone; in those places there is single track wandering around the wash<br>
- After the railroad grade (Where Midland Cutoff road turns off) you are following dirt roads which are generally pretty good- not many rocks, with some sandy spots in places. That is the majority of the course.<br>
- The last mile or two is easy pavement back into BV.<br><br>
Given the date of the race I can understand why they choose to hold it on the east side of the Arkansas river, opposite the Collegiate peaks. Most of the trails under/around the peaks themselves are still snowed in that time of year.<br><br>
Great views from the race course, though- I have camped in those hills many times! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That looks like a fun route- I have XC skiied most of it on separate occasions. Traversed Rollins Pass in a blizzard once:<br><br><div style="text-align:center;"><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/EMGT/blizzard.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Navigating by GPS in a whiteout on Rollins Pass<br><br><div style="text-align:left;">Rollins was part of training for the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse- gory details here:<br><br><a href="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/EMGT/EMGT.html" target="_blank">http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/EMGT/EMGT.html</a><br><br><br>
Another beautiful trail race that I have done is the Golden Leaf Half Marathon:<br><br><a href="http://www.utemountaineer.com/GoldenLeaf.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.utemountaineer.com/GoldenLeaf.aspx</a></div>
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I believe that the Devil's Backbone trail has been mentioned before in other threads, but I thought I would post some more info here, along with connecting trails.<br><br>
This is a great trail system in the hogbacks between Loveland and Fort Collins. I was out running these trails yesterday (3/21/2008 ) and they were all dry and in great shape for running. These are all multi-use trails, so keep an eye out for horses and bikers (they would be great MTB trails as well).<br><br>
Here is the website:<br><br><a href="http://www.co.larimer.co.us/parks/openlands/os_devils_backbone.htm" target="_blank">Devil's Backbone & Coyote Ridge</a><br><br>
Trailheads:<br><br>
Devil's Backbone: From the intersection of Hwy 287 and Eisenhower (hwy 34) in Loveland, drive 4.1 miles west and turn right on Hidden Valley drive just before the water tanks at the top of the hogback; parking is on the left.<br><br>
Coyote Ridge: From the intersection of Hwy 287 and Eisenhower (hwy 34) in Loveland, drive west to Wilson Av; turn right and drive 5 miles north; parking is on the left.<br><br>
Trails:<br><br>
The trail map provide by Larimer county shows trails of different names connected end to end. Keeping it simple I just show three trails, and a run along Glade road:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/LovelandTrails.JPG" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
1) Devil's Backbone to Coyote Ridge intersection (in <span style="color:#FF0000;">Red</span>)<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/Devil.JPG" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
A nice 5.6 mi trail with one big hill and a moderate climb up to the intersection. The trail in my map encompasses both the Devil's Backbone trail and the south end of the Blue Sky trail. You can add another 2.1mi and a big hill climb by branching off on the Indian Summer trail near the north end. Note that there are several different places where the trail splits for different uses. Generally the distance and elevation are similar for each side of the split. In the map above I took the split marked for "Hikers" or "Hikers & Horses". All of the splits and side trails are well marked.<br><br>
2) Coyote Ridge Trail (in <span style="color:#FFFF00;">Yellow</span>)<br><br>
NOTE: NO Dogs allowed on this trail.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/CoyoteRidge.JPG" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
A nice 3.5 mile trail with a gradual hill climb up to the first hogback, then down steep, across a valley, and up to the second hogback. The three way trail intersection is just below the second hogback, down some stairs. There is a split in the trail just before the second hogback; either way will get you there.<br><br>
3) Blue Sky trail from 3-way intersection to Horsetooth.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/BlueSky.JPG" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
2.9 miles, first half gradual up, second half gradual down, all good trail following the west slope of the hogback. At the road, continue under the underpass and there is road access (but no parking) on the north side of the road. From here there are many options:<br><br>
3a) Continue north on the Inlet trail to other open space trails, linking to Horsetooth Mountain Park trails or further north to Lorry State Park trails.<br><br>
3b) Follow the road west for about a mile up a hill to Horsetooth Mountain Park trails (fee required)<br><br>
3c) Follow the road west 3.5 miles to Glade Rd (25E), then follow that south to hwy 34 and east a bit to the Devil's Backbone parking. This route is marked in <span>Green</span> on the map:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://users.frii.com/mrobbins/Hikes/Glade.JPG" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Cheers all! Enjoy the great spring weather and have fun on the trails!<br>
Mark
 

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Agreed, I love running the Devil's Backbone/Coyote Ridge trails. Adding on the climb up Tower trail to the top of Horsetooth (or near the top, I guess) is nice too... puts a big climb right in the middle. We did a nice 36 miler up there about a month ago.<br><br>
I haven't done Glade Rd... that would be a good way to keep from having the run be an out-n-back.
 
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