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Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

America's Best Day Hikes: Rockies

With alpine views, hot springs, wildflowers and wildlife, these hikes in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana offer the best of the Rockies.

by: Kelly Bastone

(Photo by Ken Archer)
(Photo by Ken Archer)
(Photo by Larry Ulrich)
(Photo by Larry Ulrich)
Castle Peak, ID (Larry Ulrich)
Castle Peak, ID (Larry Ulrich)

 

 

ALPINE VIEWS

Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln Loop, CO 7 miles (Difficult)
Tag three Fourteeners along this loop, a high-altitude tour de force. Most of the climbing comes at the start: From the trailhead (near Alma), hike north up a talus-strewn basin for 2,150 vertical feet to the 14,148-foot summit of Mt. Democrat. Then it's a roller coaster of above-treeline hiking as you trace the lofty ridgelines between Mts. Cameron and Lincoln. As of June 2009 Bross remained closed due to private land issues (call The Forest Service at 719-836-2031 for an update).
Season July-September
Info Colorado's Fourteeners, by Gerry Roach

Bears Ears Trail, WY 9 miles (Moderate)
Most trails in the Wind River Range stick to the valleys and forests, but this path quickly reaches a miles-long alpine traverse at 11,000 feet. Here you'll find sweeping views of snaggly spires and peaks, plus pinch-yourself solitude that's exceptional even in this remote range. Start hiking at 9,300 feet and switchback to treeline, then weave through rocks and wildflowers to Adams Pass (turn back here). Trailhead access requires a Wind River Indian Reservation permit (307-332-7207).
Season July-September
Info (307) 332-5460

Mt. Sherman, CO 4 miles (Easy)
An easy Fourteener with great scenery and no crowds? Believe it. This out-and-back starts just 2,000 feet below Sherman's broad 14,036-foot summit (without 4WD, add another two miles and 800 vertical feet). With 4WD, park right below the old Dauntless Mine and hike a rock-strewn roadbed to the ridgeline. Then head northeast along the ridge to Sherman's summit, where the views–including the Park Range and Tarryall Mountains–would amply reward triple the effort.
Season July-September
Info Colorado's Fourteeners, by Gerry Roach
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