Longs Peak Trail

HARD 110 reviews
#10 of 131 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
1 day 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!

2 days ago

Great hike..

2 days 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
4 days 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 I hadn't seen prior to making the hike or recommendations worth reiterating:

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.

hiking
14 days ago

Most rewarding hike I have ever completed, the views even just from the keyhole were 100% worth the strenuous climb.

hiking
20 days ago

Hiked this trail Monday, 07/03/17. Started at six, made it to the keyhole around 8:45. Continued on, but could only make it to the trough, as it was too risky to attempt it without crampons and an ice axe.
Plenty of marmot and pika above the tree line to keep you entertained...lol.


Great views, and a good, tough hike!

hiking
20 days ago

Went to the lake, not the summit. Parking lot fills up quick, but drove around Estes, went back around 1pm, got a front row parking spot from an early bird. Trail starts in the shade then gets above the tree line about half way to the lake... from then on you're exposed (4mi in, 4 out). The view at the lake with Longs Peak in the background is stunning. You will be solicited by tones of marmots and chipmunks, a friendship you must pay for. Small snow bridge that must be crossed (July 1st)... I found it easy but passed a lady who was freak'n about it... she asked if she was being a bitch, to which I said 'no' and offered her some peanuts I was eating... she accepted. Tones of people though, which is why I knocked it a star (though the 'not bitchy lady' insolent was amusing). I would love to see the view at the summit... soon

hiking
20 days ago

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21 days ago

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hiking
1 month ago

One of the most difficult hikes I've done. Most rewarding hikes that I've done. Rocky gradual trail followed by rough boulder field. Followed by a reasonably challenging scramble but well marked

1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

The Homestretch is where things get REAL! Great mountain!

geocaching
3 months ago

Keyhole route was iced over early/mid-June, Trough was crampon-perfect : )

3 months ago

My fav 14er so far! Long but super fun, boulderfield is the best camp ground

hiking
5 months ago

Through the key hole and up.

hiking
6 months ago

Peaks is a monster! but it's absolutely breath taking, and certainly worth it!