Hiking the Colorado Trail


In July 2020 I will be setting off on another thru-hike—the Colorado Trail (CT).

As much as I wanted to hike it northbound in September of 2019, I soon realized that it would be in my best interest to start earlier in the year (July) and hike in the traditional southbound direction with manageable daily mileage goals (15-17 miles/day). September, although beautiful with the golden quaking aspen, has uncomfortably frigid nights that can drop down in the 20s when above 10,000 feet (no fun to wake up with frost, hail, and snow on tent!).

I’ve decided that I need to allow sufficient time to complete the hike with some extra built-in “zero days” to recover and enjoy the time in trail towns without rushing through—time to process the moment.

The terrain, elevation gain and loss, and altitude, are all significant factors on the Colorado Trail that effect daily mileage goals and ample time must be given for walking at a manageable pace as well as time for physical recuperation. I want to take what I have learned (hiking about a 100 mile section of the CT from Durango to Stony Pass Rd—Segments 24-28) and use it to set myself up for a successful thru-hike in 2020.

So upon re-evaluation, I have chosen to start in July 2020 and hike south from Waterton Canyon Trailhead (Littleton) to Junction Creek Trailhead (Durango). For resupply, I’ll be stopping in at least 3 trail towns (Frisco, Twin Lakes Village, and Creede) and taking the Collegiate West alternate route (conditions permitting).

Back when hiking the PCT in 2018, I decided that the Colorado Trail would be my next long-distance hike.  Stretching 485 miles from Littleton to Durango, this trail moves through some remarkable terrain with 75,000 feet of elevation change. This drama of elevation on the trail gives the hiker who walks upon it some wonder-filled scenery.  The highest point of the Colorado Trail is 13,334 ft. above sea level (Coney Summit in the San Juans) and the vast majority of the trail is above 10,000 ft.  Completed in 1987, the trail begins at the mouth of the Waterton Canyon (Northern Terminus) and finishes near Durango (Southern Terminus).  There are 28 segments to the Colorado Trail.

Yes it’s a bummer that I am delaying the hike another year but a little patience might just pay off.

Unlike the previous long-distance hikes I did in 2018 (Bibbulmun Track and Pacific Crest Trail), this near-to-home trail will provide the opportunity to explore more of the state I live in and enjoy the serene beauty of which I am surrounded.

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1 thought on “Hiking the Colorado Trail

  1. Will be waiting for the adventures and pictures. More time off of work?

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