Longs Peak Trail is a 13.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Give yourself plenty of time to summit! Most people take around 14 hours to complete this. It has a history of being a very electric (lightning) mountain. The winds can be very strong at the keyhole, yet once you pass through a little ways, they become more gentle. Adding Chasm Lake onto this can be a nice reward, offering perspective as to the peak you just summited.
Through the key hole and up.
Peaks is a monster! but it's absolutely breath taking, and certainly worth it!
Amazing. Fantastic climb but it took all of me to do it!!! Be in good shape before climbing, well-acclimated and if you get dizzy from altitude sit down and head back down. Some dangerous areas. This mountain demands respect.
Sept 11th was my 4th successful summit of Longs Peak over the last nearly 30 yrs. I must get amnesia in-between making this climb as its a very mentally and physically tough one. One also needs to understand the true danger aspects you're exposed to in order to summit.
10 Strong suggestions:
1. Leave the trailhead no later than 2:30 AM to summit by 10:00AM latest.
2. Carry at least 4 liters water (or a RO filter/pump)
3. Avoid weekends and holidays as more people = more risk to you from falling rock and critical point traffic jams!
4. Understand it is summer conditions at the lower elevations and winter conditions where the climb is toughest. Never have been at summit where it's above freezing in Aug/Sept climbs.
5. Aerobically condition, condition, condition especially if you live at lower elevations like I do in KS.
6. Don't do it if you have a fear of heights as there are several places where you have a wall of rock on one side and an abrupt 2000 ft drop off on the other. I've seen people freeze and panic and have to be talked through step by step.
7. Have a contingency day and go on the best day forecast.
8. If the weather turns, abandon attempt quickly and get to tree line ASAP if thunderstorm forms! I learned the hard way in my 20's and the lightening was horrific in Boulder field! You could feel the static electricity literally like the wind and there is no where to escape up there!!
9. Do it once and move on!! Lol! Note to self: re-read point 9!
10. Revel in your successful climb of Longs as you are in a very elite group as most anyone can do 20 or more of the other 14'ers without most of the risks Longs throws at you!
Started at 2:00 am and summited at 10:00 am. This was my first 14er so anyone fairly fit can do this hike. It's much more mental than physical. We were lucky with good weather the whole way up and down, until the keyhole when we hit snow and rain (even though it was 80 when the sun was out). Between the three of us we packed about 8-10L of water. We were giving water to strangers around us who ran out but we're empty when we returned to the trailhead. All three of us thought this trail was very difficult and required a lot of concentration once you pass the keyhole because it's easy to lose footing or for the wind to throw you off balance. Definitely not recommended for people with high anxiety. This was a big bucket lister that I had to do but never again.
Very well marked and maintained trail. The trail gets more difficult past the Keyhole but doable if you take your time. Prepare for any weather and enjoy.
Started hike at 2:00 AM and summited by 8:30 with my buddy. Was fortunate to have clear weather in the morning. Don't feel overdetermined to summit if the weather is not clear and the sun is obscured by dark clouds. Even from Boulder field, it is another 2-3 hours AT LEAST to the summit and it would be a shame to be forced to rush an awesome break at the top in an effort to avoid getting struck by lightning.
Killer 360 views from the top. I would definitely recommend sturdy hiking boots and a gallon of water. Despite adding a few more pounds to the entire ordeal, the stability and ankle support in Boulder field, the trough, and narrows is a necessity. I'd also bring a little snack for a break at the keyhole.
Can't wait to go again
I wanted to do something epic on my 30th birthday. Well me and my friends will never forget this day as we climbed this beautiful Longs Peak hike. We started at 4.30pm. That was relatively early but we saw flashlights blinking way up along the trail. Our group of three was hiking at a steady speed and by 9am we reached the keyhole. Sun rose upon the north Denver valley and its rays reached us rite at the end of boulder field. Sun warmed us up significantly and lightened breathtaking views of keyhole front wall. It was fun and challenging to climb last hundreds feet to keyhole. Someone told us it will get flatter there so we were excited to finish hard climbing part. But once we reached the keyhole and peaked our heads to the other side we faced the giant drop, rocks were sliding thousands feet down. Imagine a big bowl or a crater and u on the very top of it. Now to reach the summit u have to scramble along the edge of this bowl, than climb up rite on the slippery cliff, go along the edge again and climb 45 degrees up again... Well and all of this without belay... Really? No thank you! Those people were climbing up and down and I was terrified how it's possibly done. Aren't they afraid of their life?! I would finish the hike if I knew someone will catch me if I fall down. Still amazing hike. We got down at around 2pm, hiked about 16 miles all together. It was sunny and clear. I will never forget this day and adrenaline rush I got climbing over the keyhole.
Very challenging to say the least. Gets harder and more dangerous as you go but never gets quite as scary as the pictures and some accounts lead you to believe. Of course there ARE plenty of "you fall you die" spots on the narrows and ledges, and if you encounter snow or ice it would be a whole different ballgame. I had good weather and dry surfaces and finished in a little under 12 hrs. Could have easily done in under 11 with less chit chat and rests. 48 yrs old, 215lbs in decent shape with 1- 1/2 days acclim. coming from OK. 15 lb pack. Several spots to filter water up to and including boulder field. Wore Salomon Speedcross 3's. Took heavy hikers for downhiking but never needed
Pilkes Peak is a great 14er for those who have done one before. It's a bit more difficult than most and is a long hike (a little over 13 mi round trip). The hike up to the Keyhole trail is similar to most 14ers, however, when you pass through the Keyhole the trail to the peak changes dramatically and can be a bit intense for those not ready for scrambling.
I highly recommend once you've completed a few easier to moderate 14ers.
So much fun! Lots of people on a weekend but still worth it. Took about 8.5 hours
Be prepared to spend 14hrs on this trail.
Very difficult to get there. We started at 2 am, would leave at 1:30 ish next time. The way there is dark so you don't see how uphill it is. It has lots of Rocky steps that never end, all uphill there. Coming down in the daylight made me realize why it's done at night- so you can't see how awful it is and quit. Realized Boulder field does have a slight trail, look for the stacked rocks! Getting to the keyhole is kinda like rock climbing towards the end. The rocks get big and very steep. Very little room in the actual keyhole to sit, it gets claustrophobic. Was too tired to attempt to summit- thought it would be hard to get back through Boulder field but it wasn't hard for me. Poles are a must and 4 big water bottles. Beautiful trail when the sun comes up, gophers and rocks everywhere
past the keyhole is when it becomes more then a hike. Absouluty breataking
Such a fun hike with breathtaking views. The hike to keyhole wasn't too bad, but past the keyhole can be pretty brutal, especially the trough. The homestretch wasn't as bad as when people explained it to me. Overall the best hike I've ever done.
Excellent but not for the unexperienced hiker. Conditions can be harsh and changes drastic (I was either freezing or burning underneath the sun). There are two points to stock up on fresh glacier water. It's delicious. Drink it. Don't eat the flowers. The death march over the boulders and up the final stretch of Long's Peak includes some "don't f*** up" 5.4 slab scrambles. Be smart. Get an alpine start. Bring both a fleece and a puffy. Bring plenty of snacks. Enjoy.