Longs Peak Trail

HARD 163 reviews
#11 of 147 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
4786 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

horseback riding

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Longs Peak is Colorado's northernmost fourteener in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and one of the most accessible to the Denver area. Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, just under 10 miles southwest of Estes Park, Longs Peak is the highest point in Boulder County at 14,259 feet. This is a strenuous hike with difficult terrain that should not be underestimated. This is a very popular alpine trail with the Keyhole route attracting several thousand climbers during the summer season. There are several trailheads, but most routes and variations start from the Ranger Station at Longs Peak Trailhead and start on East Longs Peak Trail. You will begin the hike through a dense forest until you reach a transition zone past the treeline, at which point you Lady Washington and Longs Peak will come into sight. You will eventually reach Chasm Lake Trail junction at which point you will traverse Lady Washington as you head toward the Boulder Field. You will soon reach Granite Pass and the North Longs Peak Trail junction. The maintained forest hiking trail ends at the Boulder Field 6 miles from the trailhead. At this point hikers and climbers can scramble over loose rocks and boulders to get to the backcountry campsites and Keyhole feature. It's close to one mile from the Keyhole to the summit. The keyhole route is a dangerous and technical section of the trail with narrow ledges and falling rock. Before visiting, look at the weather forecast for higher elevations as the weather conditions change very quickly and afternoon thunderstorms arrive without warning. Winter conditions usually take over in the high country of Rocky Mountain National Park in September and often persist through June. You may also want to check with a park ranger before heading out on your trip. This is a popular route and parking is limited. Since it is a long day hike, it is recommended to arrive at the trailhead early. Be mindful of altitude sickness, as it is a quick ascent.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail between a forest path. My family and I went up late around 2:30pm on January 20th, so we only hiked about 2 miles towards Eugenia Mine. We took beautiful pictures and saw many footprints in the snow but no wildlife other than a little squirrel. We definitely plan on going back and hiking farther.

1 month ago

Just completed it a couple days ago. It’s a long and hard trail. But the summit is worth it. Started at 4am to ensure the appropriate time. Climb on!

2 months ago

This can be an amazing hike but is difficult. Prepare yourself for the elevation and pay attention to the weather.

3 months ago

Love this trail. Haven’t done it since September. Takes a lot of endurance and you have to be ready for the exposure on ledges with big drop offs. If you take your time you’ll be ok but I would not do this hike as your first 14er and definitely not in winter. Tried to go do chasm lake today but ended up getting stuck on longs peak road and had to be pulled out. No reviews have mentioned the the road yet so I wanted to leave a review letting people know that if you don’t have 4 wheel drive do not drive up the road in winter as it doesn’t get plowed. I drive a Nissan Versa and should have known better. Jeeps we’re getting stuck going up the road. Stay safe

3 months ago

This is a very difficult hike for a novice. Do not attempt this hike if you are afraid of heights..unless you're wanting to fully immerse yourself in the exact fear you want to conquer.

3 months ago

hard but worthy.

hiking
5 months ago

I've been wanting to do this hike since I was a kid, and finally got the chance to do it. We got started around 2:30am and lucked out with great weather for the most part - except for a small amount of hail while halfway up the trough. This hike is challenging, but definitely attainable if you're in decent shape and can handle some scrambling and exposure. Can't beat the feeling of making it to the summit.

5 months ago

Yesterday; amazing! Some hail in the afternoon, but a must to hike.

backpacking
5 months ago

Summited on 8/31 after spending the night at the Boulder Field. My partner and I lucked out and had incredible weather for the hike up to camp and our summit day. It was a Thursday and we managed to snag the entire summit to ourselves for around 5 minutes. We ended up only seeing one other person at the top!

Do not under estimate this hike. Take lots of high energy snacks and at least 3L of water. Dress in layers! It feels incredible to make it to the top but it feels twice as good to make it back to your car. Be prepared to turn around if you feel uncomfortable once past the Keyhole. Climbing Longs is more of a sense of accomplishment than anything. There are plenty of safer hikes with much better views throughout the park. I HIGHLY recommend Mt. Ida if you think Longs isn't right for you!

hiking
5 months ago

A good mix for a class 3 14er. It has the boulder field to the keyhole. The ledge and narrows for some excitement. The physically demanding trough (watch out for rocks from climbers above - possibly helmet recommended or keep your ears open for people screaming rock) and the final push. Overall a nice class 3 experience. We did start at 2 am and about a dozen car parks spaces were open.

hiking
5 months ago

I summited Long's Peak on August 30th. Great physical challenge. Left at 2:45 am and took just over 7 hours to the summit. Went on a Wednesday and it wasn't too crowded. It rained a bit on my descent when I was at the ledges. The rocks became VERY slick and dangerous. I had to use my treking poles and slow down considerably until things dried up. You need to be in good shape and not easily scared for this climb. I saw a few people struggling with fear and a few turn back at the high exposure spots past the Keyhole. I read and followed the tips and training recommendations in Paul Nesbit's book on Long's Peak and was very well prepared. I am 50 years old and one of the oldest on the trail when I went.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a fun and beautiful climb. It's a hike for the first 5.5-6 miles, but prepared to scramble ("climb") and know your limits once you reach the Keyhole and beyond. Descent was harder for me because apparently I have the balance of a toddler learning to walk and the ankles of Gumby. C'est la vie.

hiking
5 months ago

Wow! Quite the hike! Busy holiday weekend. Crowded summit. Even at 4AM had to park a half mile down the road. No wind, no clouds.

hiking
5 months ago

Very fun and Long trail. Took me 8.5 hours and had a great time.

5 months ago

Awesome! We lucked out and had wonderful weather. The trail description was perfect. A nice, tough trail with spectacular views. Some class 3 scrambling to be prepared for too. My Garmin GPS said it was 16.5 miles.

hiking
5 months ago

This mountain is a monster. Very difficult but totally worth it. Make sure the weather and trail conditions are perfect.

6 months 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!

6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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.

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