Trails traveled: Carpenter Peak Trail, Difficulty: Moderate (Blue)
Out-and-Back, 6.4 miles round-trip, 1,007 feet elevation gain
Time: 2.5 hours
Weather: Partly Cloudy
- Winter Hike
- Traction Device
- Red Rocks
- Scenic Overlook
This hike was a precursor to some of “bigger” hikes I plan on doing in April/May. It was a summit winter hike that tops out at 7,166 feet give or take with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. My AllTrails app lists the hike as a moderate (blue) hike, probably because of the lower elevation compared to other summit hikes in Colorado. There wasn’t any particular steep grades even though you are constantly going upward throughout the hike. It is a fairly gradual incline.
This hike starts in Roxborough State Park (admission fee $9/day) and for a Saturday the park was not empty, but probably less crowded than at other times during the year. I like to stay away from State Parks and National Parks in Colorado on the weekends except during the “offseason,” which falls outside of the days before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.
The trails at lower elevations were very muddy. One of the “puddles” I walked through splashed all the way up my legs and soaked my socks inside my waterproof hiking boots. I wore traction devices at higher elevations which were snowy/icy and really as the day wore on just slush. Unlike other city parks/open spaces, Roxborough does not close trails due to mud or snow. That was an important factor in deciding where to go today. The other nearby parks all had closed trails because of the muddy conditions at the tail end of Winter here in Colorado. What is kind of crazy is that here in Colorado, we typically get the biggest snow storms in March, so the same trail might be buried in a week or so if we happen to get a big storm.
The temperature reached upwards of 70 °F when I set out around 1:30pm today. I wore shorts and a t-shirt and neither needed to grab for my fleece I carried with me just in case. The hike was a good one with the elevation gain and the distance as it eclipsed 6 miles on the out-and-back hike.
I call this hike a “preseason” hike as it helps to keep me in good condition for longer hikes and has some good elevation gain. Typical fourteener summits in Colorado are 6-8 miles typically and can exceed 3,000 feet of elevation gain. I am pondering hiking Quandary Peak, a 14,265 feet summit featuring 3,450 feet of elevation gain and it is a 6.75 mile long hike in April or May before the hordes of people arrive.
The good thing about this hike for “training” was that I didn’t feel particularly pushed by it. I feel a little sore, but for the most part I could have gone farther and higher if required. The higher hikes are farther west as the mountains climb in elevation as you near the continental divide.
Overall, it was a great hike and great to get outside and enjoy the warmer temps.