Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

Colorado 14ers: Longs Peak via Keyhole Route

This stiff but non-technical ascent leads to the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park with unrivaled postcard views.

Rating

Its blunt crown beckons above every other summit in Rocky Mountain National Park, and its massive silhouette holds a hallowed standing among summitmongers. The “easiest” and classic route, the Keyhole charges 4,800 vertical feet past Tolkienesque features such as Goblins Forest and Chasm Junction, passes through the namesake Keyhole, and demands a serious scramble up The Trough. This nearly 14-mile out-and-back can easily chew up 16 hours, taxing your legs, lungs, and mental vigor. But the high is all Colorado: alpine lakes cupped by glacial rubble, an outrageous mountain skyline, and the noblest lunch spot of your life.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season). nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/backcntry_guide.htm

CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206; nps.gov/romo

-Mapped by Kris Wagner

To Trailhead

From Estes Park, take CO 7 E. Turn R toward Longs Peak Campground (marked by brown National Park sign). Turn L @ Y, and park in trailhead lot.

Leave a Reply

W3 Total Cache is currently running in Pro version Development mode.