Recommendations for Colorado Backpack?

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Our group of 4 was originally planning to backpack the Elk Park-Needleton loop in the Weminuche Wilderness for 5-6 days starting at the end of June. Unfortunately, though, this won't be possible, as the wildfire near Durango has closed the San Juan Forest and we need to choose a different trip. We know people love Maroon Bells, but since this will be the week leading up to July 4 I'm assuming that will be super crowded. Am I assuming correctly? If so, what about Lost Creek Wilderness? Or others??? At this point, I don't think we can get permits for campsites along the CDT loop in RMNP. This is our one backpacking trip for the summer, so we're hoping for beautiful scenery, perhaps 30-35 miles over 5 days or 6 days max. Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!
 
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#2
LCW is nice but (relatively speaking for CO) doesn't really deliver on the views imo.

Rawah Wilderness is worth checking out. Lots of lakes, alpine vistas, large animals.
 
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#5
Thanks so much for your reply. Is there a particular route that you like that we should consider?
You could spend a night each at Island lake, Twin Crater lakes, one of the numbered Rawah lakes, and one of the Camp lakes. That would loop you in/out of the west branch trailhead, but there are a lot of options in there if you check out a map. I have a trip report on here from last fall you can check out. Great place. Lots of moose. It’s on my list of places to return to.
 
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#8
Our group of 4 was originally planning to backpack the Elk Park-Needleton loop in the Weminuche Wilderness for 5-6 days starting at the end of June. Unfortunately, though, this won't be possible, as the wildfire near Durango has closed the San Juan Forest and we need to choose a different trip. We know people love Maroon Bells, but since this will be the week leading up to July 4 I'm assuming that will be super crowded. Am I assuming correctly?
The Four Pass Loop is usually pretty crowded, and with the closure of most of the Weminuche, I've heard a lot of people who were planning on going there are now looking at the Four Pass Loop, so I bet it will be even busier than normal. I can't wait for the Forest Service to implement a permit system next year, because then maybe I'll finally go back!
 
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#10
After some thought, the Uncompahgre might be very smoky. Have you considered going north, like up into the Winds?
 
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#18
Couple of other suggestions...circumnavigation loop around Capitol and Snowmass peaks, starting at Capitol Creek trailhead west of Aspen. This loop utilizes part of the same trail as the Four Pass loop. Another might be a loop around Mount of the Holy Cross starting at Halfmoon campground, southwest of Vail. Full disclosure, I've not done either of these routes but they look enticing.
 
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Couple of other suggestions...circumnavigation loop around Capitol and Snowmass peaks, starting at Capitol Creek trailhead west of Aspen. This loop utilizes part of the same trail as the Four Pass loop. Another might be a loop around Mount of the Holy Cross starting at Halfmoon campground, southwest of Vail. Full disclosure, I've not done either of these routes but they look enticing.
Thanks so much - I noticed Capitol Creek online but the route I saw showed 40 miles and I don't think we have enough time for that. I'll look further and see if there's a shorter way we can do that. I'll check out the other one as well.
 

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