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on Mount Belford

3 hours ago

Challenging hike, but so worth it! Three of us from Kansas City were able to make it to the top- it did, however, take us all day. Beautiful views the whole way. We hiked up the Belford standard route and came down through Elk Head Pass. Added about a mile, but saved our knees from the switchbacks.

The road to the trailhead is definitely crazy - our 4x4 Pathfinder took it like a champ! But, you definitely need a 4x4 vehicle to get through.
We pulled into the lot at 5am on Wednesday and there were only a few cars at the top parking lot.

This was my first 14er and it was the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life! Definitely worth it! We had our 7 year old with us... and it was pretty difficult for him. We all summited Grays and enjoyed the breathtaking views. We didn’t summit Torrey’s. One was enough for us.
We took a lot of breaks with our son - it took us about 6/7 hours to reach the summit. We made it back down to the parking lot in about 2 hours.

What an amazing hike! It’s a tough one for sure. The road is definitely scary, but we took it pretty slow. My Jeep Patriot did great. Got to the TH at 530am on a Wednesday morning still spots in the parking lot, not too busy on the trail, was perfect. Took 8 hours with a lot of breaks. Did Grays and Torreys, worth every second!

I arrived on a Monday evening around 6:30pm - there were 2 other cars by the trailhead, by 10pm the parking lot was about half full and when I headed out at 6:30am the next morning the lot only had a few spots left but there was still another 8-10 spots on the side of the road by the beginning of the trail. There are a few sporadically positioned camping spots by the trailhead with firepits - I counted 5 but there may be more. I highly recommend arriving the night before and sleeping in your car or camping as it takes the stress out of wondering whether there will be a place to park once you finally get up the dirt road. Plus you get to see some amazing stars and get to start your climb at whatever time you choose.

The road is as described by many others - rough. I have a 4x4 Jeep and found it tricky in places and slow going 5-10mph for most of the ride to avoid damaging my vehicle. I did see a Prius and several low clearance 2 wheels up at the trailhead which I would not advise unless you're in a rental or just don't care about wrecking your car (or inconveniencing others if you get stuck).

The hike is fun but challenging. I'm in my early 40s - active, above average fitness and live in Denver so not coming directly from sea-level and found it tough above 13k. There's a lot of rock and scree. The views are worth it. I did Torey's first by veering right where the trail splits and then Gray's - which seemed to be against most of the traffic so I'm glad I did. Overall it was busy (especially for a Tuesday morning) but not to the point where that affected the pace of my climb or my enjoyment of it - just plenty of people to say hello to.

Time wise I got up to the top of Torey's in 2-1/2 hours, it then takes about 45 mins to go down, traverse and summit Gray's. I took my time at the top of Gray's and came down fairly casually. I was back down at my vehicle in 5 hours 40 mins (8.6 miles, 3,107ft of elevation gain).

The weather was great - clear all morning. It was chilly at the top of Torey's so I was glad for a nano-puff and pair of lightweight gloves.

It's a fun, challenging hike - that will take your breath away in more ways than one.

hiking
3 days ago

As with many others, this was my first "fourteener" and it was a blast. Couldn't of asked for better weather. Stayed in Georgetown, and got to the Guanella pass parking lot at approximately 0600. Yes, it was already full, however the summit overlook parking lot still had spaces left.I'm a flatlander from northeast Ks. but went prepared. Took my time, with frequent breaks, especially the higher I got. The scramble to the top was probably the toughest part, but by that point you've gone to far to not do it. While many folks, myself included, do Mount Bierstadt because their research reports it as being the easiest fourteener. Be forewarned - if you are a flatlander, even one who is in decent shape, there is nothing easy about trying to breathe at altitude.However do not let that dissuade you from doing this hike, as I can assure you that you will not be alone. Start to finish approximately 6 hours, half hour to 45 minutes on the summit.

To reiterate others' comments, the road is an absolute mess -- without a SUV, pickup, or Jeep, there's no way you'll be able to drive to the upper (summer) trailhead. We managed to get about half a mile in a Honda Civic before parking on the shoulder and walking the rest of the way (~2.5 miles). By 7:00 AM on a Sunday, the parking lot was completely full. Don't expect much solitude, especially on the weekend - at least a few hundred people summitted the same day we did.

All that said, the hike itself was a lot of fun, though certainly difficult even after a few days of acclimation at RMNP. I'd recommend doing Grays first, going down the saddle, and then heading up to Torreys. Grays is all steep switchbacks; from the saddle, Torreys is a short but very steep climb. We thought the views were slightly better from Grays. Despite being rained on, hailed on, and briefly snowed on (yes, in August), the trails themselves weren't difficult to follow. Definitely a good experience for our first 14ers!

First, the road: NEVER AGAIN! What an awful beast of a road. I think I have PTSD from driving those 3 miles from hell. (And yes, I was in a high-clearance 4x4 truck.)

Next, the trail: Just wonderful all around. Mostly moderate in difficulty but hard in some places. The trail up to Torreys is steep and a lung-buster. Hiking poles highly recommended for the descent.

My tenth 14er and goes down as my favorite because the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little deceiving because you’re surrounded by a forest and creek for about half the climb and you can’t see the exposed tree line area at all, but it’s nice this trail spoils you a little bit before the hard work starts. The trail was nice until the very top of the summit where there were big boulders. We had a Boston Terrier who struggled on this part a bit, definitely more class 3 terrain at the top. We only saw 4 other people and had the summit to ourselves, a first for me! The descent was nice and easy since it’s not too steep and you also end in a beautiful forest to reward yourself from the tough climb! Highly recommend.

hiking
4 days ago

Absolutely AMAZING time hiking up Quandary on Sunday. After camping near Blue Lake just down the road, my girlfriend and I got started up the trail at about 6:20am. The trail had lots of friendly folks on it, but i never felt that it was overcrowded. I can honestly say, this wasn't easy. However we didn't feel it was extremely hard either. It was the perfect balance. Total roundtrip was just about 6 hours from the lower lot and that was with spending about 20-30 minutes at the summit. The Summit experience was very rewarding! So many people up top smiling, taking photos, and sharing stories. The hike down was extremely hard on my knees, but trekking poles made it a bit better.

As a side note, I believe I accidentally left my light blue Camelback backpack in the lower lot so if anyone happened to find it, please contact me at jasondlyman@gmail.com.

hiking
4 days ago

I tackled Quandary for the second time on Saturday. I’m a moderately active 38-year-old from Kansas City. We arrived in Summit County on Thursday, hiked Shrine Pass in Vail on Friday to warm up our legs and lungs, and then hit Quandary trailhead on Saturday morning at 5:45 am. Had no trouble parking in the lower lot, but cars were arriving regularly. It was a perfectly clear day - my husband and I reached the summit in about 4 hours. Last year it took me nearly 6 as I had no idea what I was getting into and almost quit several times. This year I prepared mentally and trained starting with using the stairclimber at least once a week since April, weightlifting once or twice a week, hill sprints, hiking mild hills with a weighted pack, lunges and box step-ups, and pushing and pulling a weighted sled. Additionally I used trekking poles this year which I did not have last year, and we brought a little can of oxygen we found at the grocery store. It was a much more positive experience for this flatlander and though it was still very difficult, I couldn’t stop smiling! The trail is intense and nearly straight up from the beginning with only a couple short flats. I think the ascent from 12k-13k ft (as well as the descent of this part) is mentally the worst as it takes a lot longer than you think this part will. But getting up to that 13k ft ridge provides amazing views and a nice rest before hitting the final steep ascent. We also got to see a mountain goat here, both on the way up and when we were headed back down, which was a highlight for me. The trail was very busy, as I expected from last year, but it was fun meeting people along the way as everyone was friendly and supportive. The last ascent to the summit is grueling and steep, rocks on rocks on rocks, and it’s difficult to see the summit most of the way so it feels like you are going nowhere for a long time. But reaching the summit was so exhilarating, especially after shaving a couple hours off my time from last year! Attitude is everything but proper training helps too, especially if you aren’t conditioned to the mountains! Even with trekking poles, I do think the descent was more difficult this year and took longer, but last year we got caught in a snow squall until we reached the tree line so that may have sped us up a bit! Also, both years I did this, my iPhone clocked over 10 miles, as opposed to the 6 on the description.

Great 14er for first timers and out of staters.

Awesome! Incredible views. We camped in the Boulder fields. We booked months in advance, heads up! Morning hikers will wake you (we had some bozos playing music at 4AM hiking through camp, LNT is more than picking up garbage). Watch out for slick rocks if it rains. There were multiple water sources available. It is a popular trail. Be careful and follow the trail markers.

This is definitely a very popular trailhead. Arrived at 445 am and the lower lot had cars parked, we found a spot on the road near the upper parking lot cause it was full. The road up was sketchy for sure. Highly recommend you use a 4 x 4. I have a 4Runner and made it no problem, but there was a Prius 2 people in front of us that got stuck a couple times. Be smart people! The trail itself was nice but crowded.

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful hike!! A lot of the negative comments below can be overcome by good alpine practices. The peak is very obviously exposed, you can see this easily from 285. An early alpine start helps with sun too. We started at 5:30 and summited 2.5 hours later. The trail is wonderfully marked, just look for the next 2-3 cairns, not only the one ahead. The trail moves through a scree field, not sure what the references to “huge boulders” are. There are some but it is more scree than scramble. All in all, be ready for a beautiful and engaging hike. Definitely worth driving the Jeep road if you have the car.

First 14ner . What an awesome experience. I trained for six months, with cardio. Swim spin and cycling. The reality being from Ohio is there is no way to prepare for the altitude. Everyone is going to be affected differently. I would say having enough water can’t be understated. I consumed 3 liters and wished I had more. The key is the summit is taking your time. As previously stated very loose rock at the top. The reward is at the summit. Enjoy it! The trip down is / equally challenging. Poles are a plus for stability. Your knees will thank you. I hiked this on 7/20, with an awesome weather day. Hazy in the morning, but cleared on the way down and it got warm. A week later they experience snow and hail. Always be prepared for changing weather regardless of the forecast.
I did have full cell service at the summit. None at the trail head.

This was my husband and my first 14er. Granted we have nothing to compare it to and the views were awesome at the top, but I don’t think we will ever do this one again. It is 95% straight rock scramble with a very poorly marked trail. It took us 9 hours to do 7 miles, and we are not slow hikers. It just takes that much concentration that by the end you are not only physically exhausted, but mentally exhausted. Good time, but beware it’s all rocks.

shoutout to Mike for giving us a ride up to the trailhead. TIL what altitude sickness is. View from the top is 11/10.

Be prepared to make three summits on this trip- shavanno, tabagueche, and then shag again. Bring plenty of snacks and water. No real good trail to the summit for Tab, but it’s easiest to just boulder straight up! My Apple Watch tracked this entire route at 14 miles from the parking lot.

1. This is longer than 8.3. More like 9.5. Consider that for time. We started at 5.20 am and we were in the car at 1pm. We hike a pretty average pace, but most people we going significantly slower.

2. DON'T MISS THE TRAIL TURNOFF! If you're walking in the dirt road for more than 10 minutes, you may have missed it. It's easy to do in the dark, even with headlamps, and one guy we met missed it by 40 mins. It's about 5 mins down the trail on the left.

Great hike. The people that climb these peaks are so pleasant to be around. It's almost like a family thing. Awesome views from either peak.

My entire body feels like I got hit by a truck. Type 3 fun for sure. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before beginning your trek, though it’s really not as sketchy as others say it is, just be aware.

Arrived at 5:25am in a Friday and there was 2-3 parking spots left but when lot is full people just park on side of the road. Also noticed people parking just past the trailhead as the road does extend a bit further. As a flatlander making first climb at this altitude it was hard. It made it up in 3:15 with frequent breaks.

Great hike. Quite busy on Friday and the road up takes a bit of time but it is not bad. Outback made it up easily. Went up Gray’s first, awesome view! Both peaks were great, easy to keep on the trail. I could have used 2 fewer miles on the way back! The beginning of the trail is pretty, but long. Enjoy!

Went on a Saturday morning, arrived at 615 at trailhead and couldn't believe all the people there. But at least it was good company on the trail.

My wife and I made it up to 13,500 with a 2 and 5 year old. 2 yr old we had to carry the whole way, 5 yr old was able to do some hiking but we still had to carry a decent amount (she did great on the way down). This was very tough with the kids, I pride myself in my abilities to do bigger hikes with the kids. The kids had enough at this point, we stopped my wife and kids ate while I pushed as hard as possible up to the top.

At times on way up, it felt like torture carrying the kids but the views were amazing. Last section solo, pushing very hard and was getting headaches.

Views on top great. My first 14er.

Three stars for being a 14er and the boulder scramble to the summit which was a blast. Overall more of a moderate hike than hard... Lost two stars for the crowds (which are huge), exposure start to finish (no relief of making it to treeline and shade on the descent for this one), and the view (not fantastic-there are other 14ers and 13ers with better views). Do it to bag a 14er, but not really any other reason to go.

great hike beautiful day. 4x4 drive up to parking lot. arrive by 5am

Excellent "first fourteener" hike. Trail is well-maintained and clear until the rocks; follow cairns to reach the top. parkling lot was nearly full by 4am, even on a day with forecasted storms. Really great trail with great views, very cool to see where you're going and then where you came from. Always keep an eye on the sky!

hiking
6 days ago

Awesome first 14er. Wife and I made it up with relative ease. Summit views of the adjacent peaks are gorgeous!

Did this 14er today. It was my first 14er alone so I wanted a heavy trafficked trail. I am an in shape 27 year old and well acclimated to 14ers and altitude and it took me 5 hours start to finish. I would say this is a moderately hard 14er. If you are in shape and used to altitude you will not have any problems. :) It hailed on and off pretty much my whole decent even though the weather forecast did not say that was coming. I ended up running down hill almost a mile in the storm to make it to my car before it really downpoured. As with all 14ers its a good idea to bring a rain jacket of sorts so your not soaked while hiking if a storm does come your way. If you are hiking alone and nervous this is a great trail as you are constantly surrounded by people. If you want solitude I would not recommend this trail. There was barely even room to sit at the peak!

hiking
7 days ago

We did it! By we, I mean two 48 yr olds and 3 teenagers: Nina, Casey and Reagan. We've been here for 6 days & have done a few hikes already. Hit the trail at 9:30 on a Friday. Parking was easy as the early hikers were coming off. Prior to the hike read all these reviews and then some. Definitely helped to prepare. First time doing a 14er and so glad we did it! We are not seasoned hikers and found this challenging especially walking on all the loose rocks. Steep incline most of the entire hike so was dreading the hike down. Hit the summit in 3 hours. Then the storm rolled in. Hail in August! Snow on neighboring mountains. The forecast was for a clear day...got to love Colorado! Then the thunder...thankfully the rain held off for awhile. We made it down in only 1 hr 15 mins! Views were amazing! Overall a tough hike but take your time and enjoy the views!

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