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recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby quattordesch » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:53 am

I might be able to take a few days off in early March and am considering heading to Colorado. Would like to do some skiing/snowboarding (resort) and maybe a nice snowshoe hike.

Logistics should be easy (minimize travel time, maximize time int he snow). The time frame is arriving late at night at DIA, have three full days in Co, travel back on the fourth day. I will be traveling solo and I have no experience with Colorado winter (but grew up in the Alps skiing, hiking, climbing). I have appropriate equipment for the winter, know how to use it, and I am in shape for long winter hikes (you never know when you get a chance to visit the mountains, so better be in excellent shape). Will need to rent skis and snowshoes. I am mainly looking for "winter, snow, and mountains" (my job has me living outside my natural habitat). No need for a fancy resort.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby peter303 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:43 pm

First , 1-2 days Rocky Mountain Park and Estes Park. Go via 36 though Boulder. There's swallow-your-heart vista view of the Rockies just before you descend into Boulder. And 75 minutes after that you will be at the viewpoint. Have a meal in Boulder then continue to the Park. Estes Park is the gateway city and relatively uncrowded at this time of year. There are hotels of all prices there. Rocky Mountain Park has a winter campground too (Moraine). But I dont know if that is worth dragging a load of winter camping gear on the plane. Hit all the main stops in Park. The Long Hike I recommend is the first four miles of the Longs Peak trail to the Chasm Lake intersection. You may need something like yaktrax or microspikes on the forest trail snow, because that gets icy. The trail descending to Chasm Lake itself gets very icy and not recommended unless you have spikes and ax.

Next work your way south to I-70 via Peak-to Peak Hwy 72/119. There's a snowshoeing/dayhike Park called Branaird Lake. There are several lakes beyong - Longs, Isabel, Blue ... progressively higher up the mountains. The pull-off to the BL parking lot is easy to miss, so count the miles carefully. Beyond Brainard there is a quaint hippie/mining town called Nederland - a meal stop. Beyond that is the mining/gambling town called BlackHawk. Its is kind of turning into a mountain Las Vegas. Then you are on I-70, the freeway to the ski resorts.

I recommend leaving I-70 at exit 216 to drive up Loveland Pass. I only recommend this if it hasnt been snowing for 24 hours. Else the pass closes or becomes scary-icy-snowpack. At the top of the pass thaere are wonderful vistas of the snow-capped Rockies. And you can hike a 3er called Sinaktu to the southwest. Most of the time you may not need snowshoes or traction. After descending the pass you in the Summit County ski-zoo. Five ski resorts full of drunken spring breakers. It is a place to find lodging if you want.

I'd bypass Summit County and head another hour to Leadville to sleep. Much less hectic. And you get wonderful views of Colorado's tallest 14ers. There several nice snowshoeing places like the Mineral Belt and Turquoise Lake.

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby pseudoghost » Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:19 pm

quattordesch wrote:I might be able to take a few days off in early March and am considering heading to Colorado. Would like to do some skiing/snowboarding (resort) and maybe a nice snowshoe hike.

Logistics should be easy (minimize travel time, maximize time int he snow). The time frame is arriving late at night at DIA, have three full days in Co, travel back on the fourth day. I will be traveling solo and I have no experience with Colorado winter (but grew up in the Alps skiing, hiking, climbing). I have appropriate equipment for the winter, know how to use it, and I am in shape for long winter hikes (you never know when you get a chance to visit the mountains, so better be in excellent shape). Will need to rent skis and snowshoes. I am mainly looking for "winter, snow, and mountains" (my job has me living outside my natural habitat). No need for a fancy resort.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!


Probably want to stay in the Silverthorne/Frisco/Breckenridge area. Lots of resorts in that area, so you can change it up from day to day, and you can stay in some pretty barebones accomodations too if you'd rather save some money. The skiing at those resorts isn't fantastic right now, but it's probably about the best you can get without driving for 7 hours. You can even hit Vail depending on how long you're willing to drive as a day trip.

Plenty of snowshoe hikes in that area too. Mohawk Lakes, Mayflower Gulch, Ptarmigan Peak, Hoosier Pass, etc. are all within a 30 minute drive if you stay there.

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby quattordesch » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:21 am

Thanks a lot for the detailed recommendations!

Any particular recommendations for accommodation in Estes Park and Silverthorne/Frisco/Breckenridge area? Barebone is fine (just don't feel like lugging winter camping gear on the plane).

Also, any recommendations for places to rent skis and snowshoes? Skis at the resort, but what about snowshoes if I might do multiple hikes?

Thanks!

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby powhound » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:26 pm

You didn't mention which days of the week you will be here, so I don't know if this applies. AVOID the weekend skier traffic on I-70. Sat. and Sun. morning going west (Fri. evening can be bad too). Sat. and Sun. afternoon/early evening going east. It can be a nightmare and will certainly suck some time (and fun) out of your short vacation.

Snowshoes can be rented at Wilderness Sports in Dillon.

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby quattordesch » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:51 pm

Good point about traffic. Days are Wednesday evening to Sunday.

How is the traffic from the Boulder area to Denver on Sunday?

[edit for typos]

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Re: recommendations for 3-day trip in March

Postby aleugers » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:36 pm

Traffic between Boulder and Denver on Sunday is no problem.

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