This year’s ALDHA-West Gathering is in Keystone, CO - one of our first Gatherings in a trail town! There’s lots of great reasons to extend your trip to the Gathering with some time outdoors. Hop on the Continental Divide Trail, Colorado Trail, and/or dayhike a 14,000 foot peak. Best yet, the free Summit Stage bus (which runs as late as 1:30 am!!) saves you from car shuttles so you can do a one-way trip without having to double-back.
Eagle’s Nest Wilderness:
This 21 mile trip is a CDT-alternate through the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, a place that gets a lot less traffic than the official CDT and CT routes. Start in Silverthorne and take the Mesa Corvina Trail to the Gore Range Trail, following a creek towards Red Buffalo Pass and then onto Eccles Pass. If you’re running low on time, take the Meadow Creek trail down to civilization (there’s a Summit Stage bus stop nearby). Otherwise, we continue on the Wheeler Dillon Trail down to the junction with the North Tenmile Trail. That’s another place where we can get back to civilization in Frisco (buses there, too). If you want more time, continue on up and over towards Uneva Pass down to Lost Lake and lastly down to Copper Mountain (where you reconnect with the official CDT and CT route). From Copper, you can pick up the shuttle that runs back to Silverthorne. Or loop up with the Ten Mile Range (the next hike below) and the bike trail to walk back to your car.
Ten Mile Range:
This 11-12 mile one-way trip (3,600 feet of elevation gain) is a CDT and CT classic. You can do it from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain or visa versa.
Hike to the Denver Airport via the Colorado Trail:
Why drive to the airport after the Gathering when you could hike there (kind of)? Hop on the Soda Ridge trail directly from the Gathering, hike 3 miles then take the Keystone Ranch Road Trail another 2.7 miles to the CT. Alternatively, take the bike path or free Summit Stage bus to the Gold Hill Trailhead on the west edge of Breckenridge and start from there. Jump on the Colorado Trail for the last glorious, 85 or so miles to Waterton Canyon. Aspens should be golden, bighorn sheep should be knocking horns, and the crowds and mosquitoes will be gone. From Waterton, you can grab a Lyft to the Littleton train station and ride it all the way to downtown Denver and the airport. If taking a Lyft sounds like cheating, take the Highline Canal Trail from the end of the CT to its end in the Green Valley Ranch subdivision—just 2.5 hour walk to the airport from there.
If you only have the time to sneak in a day-hike and are feeling the altitude, a trip on the CDT up Herman’s Gulch is a good bet. Yes—it’s still pretty high up, but the elevation gain isn’t as aggressive as some of these other hikes. While the wildflowers that make this area famous may be gone for the season, the aspens will be pretty.
Grey’s/Torrey’s 14,000 foot peaks:
Snag two 14ers and call it a day-hike. Visit the high point of the CDT on this famous Colorado hike—the trailhead of which you pass by on I-70 as you finish up the Gathering.