Start early, especially if you're traveling from Avon/Vail area; hit the trail head just after 6:00am and finished just after 10:30am, but I'm an aggressive hiker and consider myself in relatively good shape. On my descent, I passed nearly everyone, which made for a peaceful trek back. Views are definitely worth it! May be good to bring a hat and gloves as it gets a bit chilly towards the summit, especially in early morning.
I also brought my 1.5yr old German Shepherd who did great!
Hiked on 7/31. Beautiful, challenging and long. I recommend starting early as it can be a very long trek. Also, we hiked through 2 hail and electrical storms on our way down. We had rain gear and I would recommend bringing a poncho or rain jacket. I agree with the previous posts about the false summits. It was important for me to get me head around those and keep moving upward. The final ascent to the summit is easy and the views are out of this world.
Great trail except for the steep part up the left side of the first false summit which we nicknamed The Devil's Slide. Loose rock made that part miserable both going up and coming down. Agree that this seems longer than the stated mileage and at 4,700 feet elevation gain it's no walk in the park. Still, a beautiful hike if you can steel your mind past the false summits and there's nothing better than standing on the highest mountain in Colorado.
It was a beautiful hike!
Can't state that enough, it was well worth the effort and an awesome challenge.
Being from Georgia, the altitude hit pretty hard. Muscles ached, had to take quite a few breaks around the false summit/crux portion of the trail.
A few tips that may be helpful.
1. Take more water than you think you'll need.
2. Layer your clothes, it gets hot, then cold with the wind especially at the summit, as you'd imagine.
3. Wear good boots and break them in.
4. Sunscreen and bug spray for the mosquitos, if you're planning to camp. Offered it to some people on the trail as they seemed to be very bothered.