Winter hikes/snowshoeing near Fort Collins

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Shirt357

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Been a bit since I posted but have been busy with a job transfer. I recently moved from the mountains of Northern NM up to Fort Collins for work. I finally have things situated enough that I am antsy to get back out and on the trails. NM hadn't really gotten enough snow really for any snowshoeing yet nor had it gotten very icy. Now that I am living in Fort Collins, I am ready to get out there again but being in a new area I was hoping for some good suggestions from any forum members that live in CO. I've been doing my research and looking over my maps, but not sure where to head first. I am fine with either hiking or snowshoeing, have all my gear and necessities ... so where would people recommend? Of course I could go down to RMNP near Estes Park and hit some of those areas. I have also been looking west at trails to American Lakes/Snow lake and some others... but hard to get a read on conditions over there. So anyone with suggestions? I would prefer to be able to go a few miles up to perhaps 15 tops for a day hike right now. Any suggestions much appreciated!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Nick
 

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Wanderlust073

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I just picked up the new 'Snowshoe Routes - Colorado's Front Range' book published by CMC (author: Alan Apt). It lists a lot of different routes in the area.

I've read some reports of people going out up by the divide (Herman/Watrous Gulch, Grays, etc). I like hiking Watrous and would love to snowshoe it (up to the avalanche zones anyway), but just haven't made it a priority yet. This weather keeps me hunting and fishing, lol.

Ping me if you're ever looking for some company. I'm down in Castle Rock.
 

mike_offerman

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Was just up by Longs Peak today and there is not much snow up in that area. Not sure that Cameron Pass would be very good snowshoeing either. Just not much snow around so far this year.

But with that in mind, that means that lots of hiking can still be had. The one bad thing about RMNP is that Hwy 34 is closed until May, so that means driving down to Lyons and back up to Estes. Lots of hiking opportunities up the Poudre. What kind of hiking area you looking for? Peaks, along streams, on trail, off trail?
 

Shirt357

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I just picked up the new 'Snowshoe Routes - Colorado's Front Range' book published by CMC (author: Alan Apt). It lists a lot of different routes in the area.

I've read some reports of people going out up by the divide (Herman/Watrous Gulch, Grays, etc). I like hiking Watrous and would love to snowshoe it (up to the avalanche zones anyway), but just haven't made it a priority yet. This weather keeps me hunting and fishing, lol.

Ping me if you're ever looking for some company. I'm down in Castle Rock.
Thanks for the book recommendation... I just ordered it from Amazon and will have a look.

I ended up going up Glacier Gorge Trailhead to Loch Vale and Sky Pond... was a great day and since I got a good early start I missed 90 percent of the late arriving "hikers". I'll be sure to message you in the future on hikes or trips... be sure to let me know if any good ones you are headed out on and wouldn't mind company.
 

Shirt357

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But with that in mind, that means that lots of hiking can still be had. The one bad thing about RMNP is that Hwy 34 is closed until May, so that means driving down to Lyons and back up to Estes. Lots of hiking opportunities up the Poudre. What kind of hiking area you looking for? Peaks, along streams, on trail, off trail?
I am pretty open on hiking honestly and have done alot of different kinds from hitting summits to heading out to nice quiet spots along a body of water. So, any areas or suggested routes I am up for. I do like to try to get in at least 5 miles and depending on difficulty rating am comfortable with up to 20ish a day tops. I did have a friend of mine suggest the Poudre area, though this weekend I went ahead and bit the bullet and took the detour to RMNP down 36. Hike was well worth it though.
 

mike_offerman

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Nurrgle

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I hike and snowshoe all over the Front Range but don’t often get up to Ft. Collins. There are some good trails up there from what I have heard, and a killer disc golf course. If you are going down to RMNP, I would suggest hitting Lumpy Ridge, it connects to other trails and is pretty great. As far as in the park, I usually use the Wild Basin entrance and that trail to Ouzel Lake and the Cascades, LOTS less people, great snowshoeing. And the Whole Wild Basin area is really pretty amazing.

We don't have any snow here in Broomfield but we should get a little tonight. The best kept secret about the Front range is how little snow actually stays around. We get like 300 days of sunshine a year, I just played a great round of disc golf a few days ago in a t shirt with shorts and cold beers in hand.
 

ImNotDedYet

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Thanks for the book recommendation... I just ordered it from Amazon and will have a look.

I ended up going up Glacier Gorge Trailhead to Loch Vale and Sky Pond... was a great day and since I got a good early start I missed 90 percent of the late arriving "hikers". I'll be sure to message you in the future on hikes or trips... be sure to let me know if any good ones you are headed out on and wouldn't mind company.
Glacier Gorge to the Loch and Sky Pond is fabulous - especially in winter. You always want to get there really early though to guarantee parking.

The Bear Lake area is great as well - taking that up to Dream Lake and beyond. Fern Lake in the park is great.

As mentioned above, Wild Basin is fantastic up to Ouzel Lake in the winter. Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls are nice in the winter.

A trip up to Chasm Lake from the Longs Peak trailhead is also a fabulous winter excursion. Bring windproof gear as you'll be above treeline and it gets windy there!

I haven't done Lumpy Ridge in the winter, but it's been on my list.

I'm sure there are some good things more local to you, but I don't get up that way often as a Denver-ite.
 

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