Longs Peak Trail

HARD 126 reviews
#10 of 135 trails in

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.

DISTANCE
13.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5127 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

ice climbing

rock climbing

skiing

snowboarding

snowshoeing

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

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.

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

6 days ago

trail running
8 days ago

10 days ago

Simply amazing hike. This was my first 14er and I'm stoked that I chose Longs for many reasons.. The challenge.. The unparalleled views, and the gratification you feel at the summit after the fun, yet kind of scary ha, scramble up. This hike was very strenuous but totally worth it! I completed the whole trip in about 10 hours. We hit the trail at 2:30 am (which was a perfect time) there was only 2 more open spots left in the TH lot so go early!

12 days ago

Unfortunately, we weren't able to make it past the keyhole this AM due to wind, ice, poor visibility, and crushing cold. The forecast was actually right this time, but we figured we would give it a go anyways! Left at 1 AM, made it to the keyhole by 4:45 AM, tried to wait it out for an hour and a half but the weather didn't clear. Definitely coming back with better weather asap!

hiking
14 days ago

Incredible hike. This was my first 14er. We were at the boulder field just in time for the sun to rise which was amazing. At least half of the time we spent on the ascend/descend was beyond the keyhole so start early.

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

My sister and I attempted to summit August 2, 2017. We begin at 2:45 am and were one of the first to the boulder field at 5 a.m. By 6 a.m. we had made it to the key hole. The wind was incredibly strong, and this only worsened upon passing the key hole. We couldn't continue without the fear of quite literally being blown off the narrows. I would advise checking the wind report! Something that we did not do. Otherwise the weather was perfect and it would have been a fantastic day to summit.

hiking
19 days ago

backpacking
21 days ago

Do not underestimate this hike/climb. It was the first 14er I've attempted and it was very difficult. We hiked up the day before and camped at Boulder Field. The entire trail is beyond beautiful but not for the faint of heart! The homestretch was extremely difficult for me.

hiking
24 days ago

My friend and I summited Longs Peak last August, this was both of ours first 14er and luckily the weather was in our favor. We each had 3 liters of water, couple cliff bars, one military MRE. We started hiking at the trailhead at 430am with a very steady pace for the first couple hours, lots of switchbacks for the first hour, then once you get above tree line there is a well maintained trail all the way up to the boulder field. Once up through the boulder field and near the keyhole we decided to rest and eat our MRE's. Keep in mind this was a Saturday morning in August past the keyhole was very populated if I had to guess I'd say around 100+ people trying to summit. Once you go through the keyhole there is a lot of boulder traversing make sure you have good hiking boots or shoes and take your time... altitude starts to play a part, watch out for loose gravel spots as you make you way and also falling rocks from people above. I personally did not have much trouble getting up to the summit or back down more so just waiting for people to make there move. We did the whole hike in 9 1/2 hours with a half hour spent on the summit. Once again the weather was really in our favor this day this is not a hike to take lightly and you always have to be prepared for conditions to change. Overall still one of my favorite accomplishments and am looking to do it again in a few weeks! Follow me on Instagram for gorgeous mountain photos @Alex.Newkirk

25 days ago

27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Truly a bucket list level experience!! Be ready for a long day that is both physically and mentally demanding, but wow, the most fun I've ever had hiking and something I will never forget. The route, the views, the other hikers (shout out to the Overland Park/Denver 14er club and John and Keith from Springfield IL) taking on the same challenge with you, and the feeling of accomplishment once back down past the keyhole - if you are decently experienced and in good shape and trying to decide whether or not to do attempt Long's, the answer is YES!

So long as you stay focused on the path and respect the risks of the mountain (i.e. start before 3 AM, acclimate, be willing to turn back with weather, keep focus on your feet and use your hands to support you, and don't linger on the summit), I did not perceive the Keyhole route to be more dangerous than other "hard" hikes in RMNP or elsewhere. This is the mountains folks, if you step off and fall anywhere you will get hurt, only on Long's the consequences would be greater.

Completed on 7/17, the route was basically clear of ice and snow except for several sections of the trough and homestretch. In both cases the snow is avoidable with a little extra work. The trough was longer and steeper than I expected and by far the most physically demanding section of the route. It required some climbing and grip finding at multiple locations (not just at the choke stone), so be sure to bring a quality pair of gloves. My GPS clocked the route at 17.4 miles...it's a long tiring day. Trekking poles (which I had avoided using prior to this) absolutely helped on lower sections. I brought four liters of water with me and filled up two more at the boulder field. Go do it, and good luck!

1 month ago

Great hike..

1 month ago

The best hike I did in my time travelling America. Climbed to the top with my girlfriend. Neither of us had climbed any 14ers before. It was easily the most demanding hike/climb, mostly from a mental perspective. It does get pretty hairy from keyhole and particularly the homestretch. Made it to the top by 1030 and headed back by 1115 and noticed a couple groups go past us on the way up then turn around because clouds started to form. Going down was tough especially if you don't have much climbing/scrambling experience. The worst part for me though was going through the boulder field and seeing the storm envelope the mountain and hearing distant thunder get much closer. This made for a harrowing experience until we made it below the treeline. A great experience but I would not recommend this to anyone who has doubts about their ability to complete it. We had a couple of days prior to acclimatise and still both had headaches on the way back down from what we suspect was the mildest form of altitude sickness. Make sure you pack a lot of water and snacks! It was a 14 hour hike for us both

hiking
1 month ago

The most physically demanding hike/rock climb I've been on to date, but the feeling of accomplishment upon completion is priceless. This is bonafide mountaineering, folks! Some tips:

1) the weather and terrain conditions truly make or break this hike; reserve more than one day in your schedule and then pick the best weather day to go (and only if there is a good weather day). Snow and ice and wet rocks can ruin your hike... or worse

2) acclimate to the elevation prior to attempting this hike; I did and still struggled to breathe at the Trough and higher

3) there's no shame in smearing your way down some bits, so wear sturdy pants that won't tear (that means NO yoga tights, ladies!)

4) layer and prepare for ALL weather; I experienced four seasons -- winter hat and gloves, warm outer layer, raincoat, dry bag, sunblock, etc.

5) absolutely start at the recommended 1:30-3:30am to summit between 10-11am; plan for a 12-15 hour trek to be on the safe side

6) there are toilets at the Chasm Lake split and backcountry campground at the base of the Keyhole; there's a shelter at the Keyhole, which we used to wait out lightning, but it's not water tight!

7) take video; it gives a much more accurate perspective than pics -- trust me, you'll want to relive this beast you conquered post hike!

8) download the map and use GPS to stay on track; the route is fairly well marked, but your brain gets foggy from exhaustion and everything looks different on the descent (especially when you were in the dark on the way up!)

9) heed the warnings to be informed and smart, but don't let them discourage or paralyze you (I felt the 14ers.com site gave the best, most practical overview) -- this trek IS more than doable if you're experienced and conditioned enough #worthit

10) have fun!!! This hike is awesome!!!

Solo hikers: I hiked this alone up to the Keyhole, which was more than fine. However, I really, really don't recommend and highly discourage doing this alone past the Keyhole to the summit. You NEED a second brain to help assess things (summit fever is legit) and at times, a helping hand. I waited at the Keyhole to find someone to hike to the summit with (great guy!) and am enormously grateful I did. You can find a private guide at the outdoors shops in Estes Park, but expect to pay around $500 for just yourself or $600 for two hikers.

A note on my recording: it took me 15.5 hours to complete (very) Longs Peak, but this includes an hour wait at the Keyhole for a summit hiking mate and 90 min-2 hours in the Keyhole shelter waiting out lightning on our descent. So, assume a good 12 hours to complete if you have good weather and similar hiking experience.