After Will’s Mt. Evans Ascent on Saturday, we headed west to backpack Segment 7 of the Colorado Trail (CT). It’s a pretty modest segment of the 483-mile trail system through Colorado: 12.8 miles in length with 3,600 ft of elevation gain starting ~9,500ft with a segment peak altitude of ~12,500ft.
Since it’s mid-June already, we figured (hoped?) we’d have minimal issue with snowpack on the trail despite hiking around 12,000ft. Welp, I’m here to warn fellow CT hikers, the trails are not void of snow yet! Maybe in a couple more weeks!
We parked one car at the start of Seg 7, packed in 6 miles before camping for the night, then wanted to hike the rest of the 6.8 miles to the end of Seg 7/start of Seg 8 where our second car was waiting.
We weren’t able to through-hike the entire trail segment (from start to finish); instead, we hiked 6 miles into Seg 7, hit knee-deep snow on the trails around mile 6.5 (~11,500ft), and turned around to hike back the way we came. That was perfectly fine, we still had a blast!
We made the judgement call as a group at this point to stop and hike back. Being in the backcountry is meant to be a fun challenge but you gotta be smart. Once we stopped having fun and started risking injury (post-holing can be dangerous, as you could fall into a root/fallen tree sink and break your shin or roll an ankle), we knew it was time to call it.
So we turned around and enjoyed a lovely 6.5 mile hike back to our cars.
It’s just a matter of time until the CT will be clear of snow. Such is life with early(ish) season backpacking! In the mean time, we plan to through-hike below 12,000ft.
I love this time of year, it’s our absolute fave. If we’re not on the trails, we’re researching our next adventure :) Can’t wait to hit the trails again this weekend.
Fellow backpackers: any recommendations on snow-free 10-20 mile trails within 2-3hrs of Denver right now?