Don’t let reviews saying how “easy” this is fool you. Yes, there are always the outliers who are super fit outdoor enthusiasts who are super human and can crush this thing and call it “not very difficult.” And hats off to them, we saw them cruising up and down and couldn’t be more in awe. But for the rest of us, it’s very difficult. I’m not fitness guru, I’m pretty average, but I can handle a decent hike. This one pushed me to my limit. On a mere 3 hours of sleep, we drove up from Denver (03:00-05:25), hit the trail at 05:25, and returned at 16:05. We took lots of small breaks, had plenty of nutritious food with protein and carbs + 3L of water each was perfect, and about 15 minutes at summit. I should also mention that at hour 3 I felt a strain in my right groin that only got worse the whole way up and back - by the end it was super painful, which definitely impacted my pace on the way back while going downhill. Three false summits and each one takes a lot of work to reach. It’s one steady incline the entire way up, and going down isn’t easy either, because it’s all careful footing the whole way down, even below treeline (there was some relief for a few small stretches below treeline, but very few). Having reached the summit seemed like such an accomplishment, and it is. But turning back around and grinding out 4+ more hours back? I could barely walk toward the end.

Everyone was so kind on the trail, when passing through the false summits, everyone gave us encouragement and I have to say, I think it was a huge influence that ultimately helped us dig deep and get to the top. The 360* views were spectacular. Feeling very proud and thankful to this beautiful state for giving us such incredible forces of nature.