CT Seg 7 Trip Report

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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!

Pictures!

Start of Seg 7
Start of CT Seg 7
The CT is an east/west trail that runs 483 miles across Colorado from Denver to Durango
The CT is an east/west trail that runs 483 miles across Colorado from Denver to Durango
Less than a mile into Seg 7
Less than a mile into Seg 7
Snow above treeline in the distance
My favorite backpacking buddies; Snow above treeline in the distance
Around mile 5 (of 12.8)
Around mile 5 (of 12.8)
Patches of snow at 10,500ft (if there's snow, Cabo will play in it!)
Patches of snow where we camped the night at 10,500ft
One tired pup after a day of backpacking!
“Oh, you need footspace in your sleeping bag? Sorry, dad.”
Day 2: before the snowpack around mile 6
Day 2: before the snowpack around mile 6
Plenty of water access btwn miles 3.2 and 6
Plenty of water access btwn miles 3.2 and 6
Crunchy ankle-deep snow around mile 6.3
Crunchy ankle-deep snow around mile 6.3
Hit or miss hard pack snow on the trails around mile 6.3
Hit or miss hardpack snow on the trails around mile 6.3
Post-holing at mile 6.5
Post-holing at mile 6.5

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.

Back at the start of Seg 7 // 13 miles of gorgeous backcountry hiking
Back at the start of Seg 7 // 13 miles of gorgeous backcountry hiking

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?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessica says:

    Y’all are so adventurous!! Love it

  2. kaitwatts says:

    Snowshoes would be handy. We almost carried them for the 14er, but heard that it was doable in the ankle deep crusty stuff that totally tore up my calves. Looks like a fun weekend all around for you.

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