Anyone hiked the Colorado Trail?

I have always wanted to walk for a long period. Appalachian Trail being the first long hike I was curious about. I read Bill Bryson's book years ago and got the bug. I live in the west and love the west so CDT is my ultimate. I'd also love to do PCT. I guess seeing it on paper I really want to do the "Triple Crown". Alas at this stage in life and business taking months and months off to walk isn't feasible. I recently discovered the Colorado trail and saw that the average time is 5 weeks to thru hike. Now that I could possibly do within the next couple years.

Anyone done this? I appreciate any input as this is at this point just the "dream building" consideration phase.
Will
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I've ridden it and can only offer I've known people who have through hiked it (more of us have ridden it in my circle though).

From what I know a month or so is absolutely doable via foot. It takes about 10 days to ride at a moderately aggressive pace.

You will want to factor in acclimation for yourself potentially, at least a couple of days up front to get used to Denver elevation.

515179
 
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Thanks for the graphic! Man there are some high stretches! I live at about 4400ft and I generally do well at high elevations. It's nice to get out of the heat in the summer, one month walking in the mountains sounds like a dream. I have a buddy who's always bugging me to go ride MTB with him we have tons of trails here at Franklin Mountain State Park, maybe I should take it up? 2 weeks would be very doable time from work wise.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the graphic! Man there are some high stretches! I live at about 4400ft and I generally do well at high elevations. It's nice to get out of the heat in the summer, one month walking in the mountains sounds like a dream. I have a buddy who's always bugging me to go ride MTB with him we have tons of trails here at Franklin Mountain State Park, maybe I should take it up? 2 weeks would be very doable time from work wise.
Keep in mind that was taken on the bike route, not the hiking route. We bicycles have to detour a few spots so it ends up being about 50 miles longer.

You will get out of the heat for sure once you leave Denver. You will want a 20°F bag (I use a quilt and insulated pad) even in July or August just to be safe. You live high enough that starting in Denver won't take acclimatizing. I only mention it because you will see people fly in and start the next day, which is pretty tough on your body and after a few days climbing they are worn out.

Should mention if you are considering it this year that it'll be a late opening. You can technically do it any time of the year but the "season" is generally June to September and most people time it based on snow melt on the high passes so you don't have to use crampons, snowshoes, skies or the like. Gotta think that it won't be completely snow-free at all this year but if so it'll be a short window and it'll likely be some post holing.
 
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You will get out of the heat for sure once you leave Denver. You will want a 20°F bag (I use a quilt and insulated pad) even in July or August just to be safe. You live high enough that starting in Denver won't take acclimatizing. I only mention it because you will see people fly in and start the next day, which is pretty tough on your body and after a few days climbing they are worn out.
What about lightning? That's one thing that makes me a little nervous, being exposed and having a storm roll in on me.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
What about lightning? That's one thing that makes me a little nervous, being exposed and having a storm roll in on me.
Funny you mention that, I got into a seriously bad storm on Marshall Pass (near Salida and Poncha Springs if you're trying to locate it) on segment 16. I was prepping to cross the pass, which is exposed above tree line for a few hundred feet over few miles just as the rain turned hard and the lightning started.

I got pushed back and hunkered down for a couple of hours with a few really close strikes above me. I didn't dare stand up to go down and just laid there getting soaked and pelted with hail.

Most of the time it's manageable like that, can time exposure. Still, from segment 17 all the way to the end (going to Durango) you spend more and more time above tree line and exposed, so it's good to watch weather and try to time things assuming afternoons will see building thunderstorms.
 
Funny you mention that, I got into a seriously bad storm on Marshall Pass (near Salida and Poncha Springs if you're trying to locate it) on segment 16. I was prepping to cross the pass, which is exposed above tree line for a few hundred feet over few miles just as the rain turned hard and the lightning started.

I got pushed back and hunkered down for a couple of hours with a few really close strikes above me. I didn't dare stand up to go down and just laid there getting soaked and pelted with hail.

Most of the time it's manageable like that, can time exposure. Still, from segment 17 all the way to the end (going to Durango) you spend more and more time above tree line and exposed, so it's good to watch weather and try to time things assuming afternoons will see building thunderstorms.
Cool thank you for that. I got caught out on the water in Florida a few times and it put lightning in the front of my mind. In the boat it was easier to stay away from than when we'd kayak.
 
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