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Fairplay, Colorado Map
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So 4 stars instead of 5. I'll get to that. We just completed this trek, 6/13/18. I have read a few reviews for this elsewhere, that say this is such an easy hike. Don't totally agree with that. It was similar to the Mt. Democrat hike we just did in terms of low miles, and not a lot of elevation gain to claim a 14er. But I think Democrat was easier. So let's begin. This trail starts in the Iowa Gulch on the Leadville side of Sherman. It drops down to the creek and there are a few crossings to make that were easy. Then some mud to navigate. Then promptly starts climbing up the talus field. There were a few snow drifts to go across too, and they were still frozen at 9 a.m. That was a little unnerving, and one of them we completely went around on more talus, lest we risk sliding out of control and ending the hike right there. Then this trail just keeps climbing up and up. Probably a good time to mention that Colorado trail builders apparently don't believe in switch backs. And you don't encounter any until right below the saddle between Sherman and Sheridan. And the constant thought of what it was going to be like to go down, kept you busy. Once at the saddle, you bear left and head up more non switch back climbing. One thing I have not heard anyone mention about this stretch, is that once you are above the saddle about 2/10 or so, the trail now follows a fairly narrow ridge line. Not knife edge, but close. And now the reason for 4 stars. We did have a stellar blue bird day. The trail, steep as it is, is easy enough to find the whole way. What we didn't expect was the horrific winds that ensued along that ridge line section, until we got above the false summit, and then the rest of the way to the summit is almost flat and the winds settled down. It was crazy windy. Like probably 40-50 mile an hour sustained winds. No let up. Not fun. Once at the top we sat for about 20 minutes in low to no winds? That was weird, but much appreciated after that blast we just got. It took us 3 hours to summit, and my Garmin said 2.4. Now for the return trip back down. I warned my fellow hiking cronies that we will probably encounter those winds again at that spot, for whatever reason. Well, that was an understatement. As they were now so bad I would venture to guess they were closer to 70-75 miles an hour, steady!!!. It was the worst mother nature encounter I have EVER had. I had the chin strap cinched so tight on my hat, it was cutting off the blood flow, and yet the wind was doing it's best to rip my hat from my head and deposit it in Fairplay. At one point I had to hold onto my wife as I didn't think she was going to manage the last 50' or so to where we had a small area that was blocked. Unfortunately, it only let up slightly the whole way down. Wind burned?? Bad. I know that there is usually windy conditions at high elevations, but this was another story. All that aside, the views on top are great, and the rating of hard or difficult above is accurate. Not to discourage anyone, we just had a bad encounter today. One I will not soon like to repeat!!

hiking
5 days ago

This is a nice easy, short hike. You could go much further up the Hoosier Ridge than we did if you wanted to. Park at Hoosier Pass and cross the highway heading east up what appears to be an old service road. It does wind up ending at some communication towers of some kind. Just after the first set of towers, we broke off the road and started going cross country up towards another type of relay tower that looks like a small billboard. Then we just kept walking until we had an unobstructed view to the west. The view is awesome for hiking such a short distance. In my opinion, this is best hiked in the morning thru afternoon for photo opps. You have Quandary, North Star, Lincoln, Bross and clear down to Mt. Sherman in full view, along with lots of other 13er's. The walking cross country above tree line is super nice and easy. Then just pick a route back down to the road and head back to the pass. Just avoid the low growing willow shrubs, as they are a pain to walk thru. So only a couple miles or so, but you could morph this into a much longer day hike. Beautiful up here!! After spending several days hiking on the west side of the pass, it was nice to hike up to this open space and have a look back. Looking for an easy one with an unreal view and don't have a lot of time, this is it!!

hiking
7 days ago

Just a side note to agree with the other posts that say this is NOT the trail head to Silverheels. Hence one star for this. I just did a nice walk along this side of the pass, and there is no trail that breaks off in the direction of Silverheels. Anyone walking this way to get to Silverheels, is going cross country. If this is a route, that someone has done, then they need to chime in about it. I will write a separate post about where I went today.

hiking
11 days ago

Soooo, just did this hike today, 6/6/18, with my favorite sidekick my wife. Tons of standing water of course at this time of year. We parked just below the mine before the ugly 4 x 4 road starts. We had the place to ourselves all day, no one else up here. I would not consider this a hard hike though, as you are simply walking along this gnarly 4 x 4 jeep road. My Garmin was at 3.4 by the time we reached the lake. We did have to do some back and forth though around snow drifts/water. Views are awesome as you would expect, with Mts. Lincoln, Democrat, and Wheeler in full view. We could see people going up and down both Lincoln and Democrat from the road. Ice was not out yet either at the lake. Was hoping to wet a line. This area is the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. I only gave this 4 stars due to having to go around so many areas of standing water. If the road were dry, I can't see this taking more than an hour and half to reach the lake. On the way down, we did see one lad from Kansas with his jeep going up, and my hat is off to him as he was plowing thru some of the snow drifts I deemed not passable. Crazy. All in all, this is a worthwhile short hike. If you plan to drive this, better have some experience!!!!

hiking
13 days ago

Start of trail was still blocked by a snow bank so had to hike up. Awesome views, didn't see a single person.

Great trail, interesting terrain and loved the ancient tree grove. Of note, the trailhead is easy to find but the final 6.5 miles driving in/out is all dirt/gravel road. As far as dogs go, just know the middle section of the trail is all rock and could be really difficult for some dogs, especially in hot weather. All in all we really enjoyed the trail and the views.

This isn’t a hike for those looking to find epic views. Beautiful meadows, mountain creeks, diverse terrain- woods, meadows, rock formations. Packed in and camped two nights. Enjoyed the solitude.

Great hike by stream.

Awesome trail and limber and bristlecone pine trees.

14er views without the crowd!!

backpacking
22 days ago

Not the most spectacular views, but an awesome hike overall! I used this as a good first backpack of the season. There was water along most of the hike and there were some ups and downs, but nothing too crazy. The first and last 3rd of the hike was shrouded in trees and the in between is spent mostly in an exposed valley. I was perfectly happy with my decision to take the loop counterclockwise, but I was more out there to get some exercise and fresh air. I also had two dogs with me and they had a great time, it’s a great space for dogs.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this yesterday (5/5), had to bust out the snowshoes a mile in. Snow was too melted/soft in some places, sank through to the creek several times (wet feet! :( ) gorgeous views though and tough workout, not a soul around for miles.

off road driving
4 months ago

Awesome trail! Super fun. Must be experienced to do this one but very worth it. Great to hike up too!
The scenery is great at the top

on Limber Grove Trail

hiking
5 months ago

We went this last weekend on 1/5/18 and though it was windy, beautiful day. It was a great hike, cool trees and big rocks.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked on Sunday, October 29th. This was an incredibly difficult hike for me. I've only been in Colorado for 3 weeks and I'm definitely not used to the altitude yet. Looking at the weather forecast I had to hike it now or not at all so I decided to go for it.

Getting there is easy in that there is one road in (from Fairplay) but my goodness the road is horrendous. It is much worse when your suspension is already shot but yeah, give yourself ample time to get to the trailhead as the road is pretty rough.

The climb was steady and tough for me. It was my first 14er and I wanted to give up several times. There are about 2 or 3 false summits that are discouraging but I knew it was something I had to complete.

I was slow going and don't know how long it took me to get up there but if it is your first time, give yourself about 5 hours to be on the safe side. It is possible to finish it quickly (one guy came in late and booked it the whole way - probably in 3 hours) though. The views at the top are phenomenal. There was snow in multiple places but I never felt like I needed crampons or any other equipment to summit. There were a few spots where the wind was just absolutely insane, enough to physically shift me. My dog made it to the top with me and overall it was a great day!

Did this 10/28. Snow and ice patches here and there. Brought microspikes that helped a bunch !! We were the first to go up and difficult to identify the trail even on the way down. Nice view and minor rock scramble at the top. Last few feet at the top was mostly flat which was a plus! Watch out for the saddle wind !

hiking
7 months ago

Wasn't hard at all, took my dog with me definitely leash. It was so beautiful I loved the entrance to the hike with the logs and water.

hiking
7 months ago

Very pretty with the snow

hiking
8 months ago

I listened to the advice and went counter clockwise on 9/30/17. It was the tail end of aspen season and the landscape was pretty boring for 10 miles. We were very disappointed in the hike. At 10 miles we hit “the view” which was 2 miles from the trailhead and only looking back. I recommend just going left from the Rich Creek Trailhead and walking out 3 miles so you get to stare at the pretty view the whole time and turning this into a nice 6 mile hike. It has TONS of aspens so go during high season here to avoid the Kenosha crowd.

The trail has a beautiful setting going in and out of aspen groves.
The only issue is to get to the trailhead you have to go up half mile of a very steep and rutted dirt road. You need a 4x4 or just walk it.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this hike yesterday, with the addition of an ascent of Clinton Peak. Very pretty area, but hiking a road isn't my favorite, and on a weekend it could really suck to share it with ATVs & modified 4-wheelers. Climb of Clinton from the lake is a workout, especially the final slope.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful autumn hike! Trail in great condition, flaming aspens, and lots of sunshine. Started at southern TH and hiked loop without northern spur - 12.7 miles in a little less than 6 hours. Only saw 1 other person the whole time (biker). Forest, meadows, beaver ponds, and bubbling creeks.

hiking
9 months ago

Outstanding hike. Beautiful scenery, including flaming aspens. Highly recommend.

off road driving
9 months ago

Easy trail and a good views

Such a fun and interesting hike. Loved the trees and the rocks!

9 months ago

Rock crawl here..nice reward at the top..be sure to start early..or you'll be that guy.be aware of hikers and bikers

A great trail, nice stream along most of the walk, lots of beautiful wildflowers, good views, and a nice spot to stop and have lunch by a little waterfall. smelled the dead horse mentioned in another review but never saw it. all in all very nice trail.

Loved this hike!!! Gorgeous scenery! I'm a native who's been hiking all my life and I saw more interesting beauty than almost any other place in the state.

backpacking
9 months ago

We just went for a one nighter on the 19th and 20th. The trail was awesome and we still got to see a good amount of wildflowers. I had a newbie backpacker with us and I'd say the hiking was a bit harder for him than expected. We went counterclockwise and the last bit of major ups and downs were tough. There was a lot of access to water, dead and down firewood to use, and the trail remained obvious throughout the loop. I'd say we ran into a max of 8-10 people on the trail too. All in all, beautiful country and an awesome hike!

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