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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Lake Tahoe, CA

    Collegiate Peaks Loop - Hammock Friendly?

    Anybody do this loop without going to ground? From the YouTube videos it looks like you can camp below tree-line every night. Just trying to confirm.

    I read the post, which talks about the Collegiate Peaks West portion, which says:

    "I did the Collegiate West alternate much of which is above timberline, but there were trees near the trail in Mineral Basin. The other area is between Lake City and Silverton. This stretch has a 32 mile section above timberline. About 18 miles into this segment from Cold Creek Pass, Google Earth shows a few trees near the trail in a mining district which turn out to be ok for hanging. From there until you drop into the Elk Creek drainage, about 22 miles, you are out of luck unless you drop down off trail."
    You can hammock the whole thing, at least at this point, but you will have to work hard in some areas to find suitable trees."

    So the question can be narrowed to the Collegiate East portion.

    Last edited by Nikohiker; 09-06-2018 at 21:43.

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Montrose, CO
    I just saw this thread and wanted to follow up, Nikohiker. I'm certainly no expert but have been planning this same hike for next summer (2019). I'm going to drive to the top of Monarch Pass from my home in Montrose (about 130 miles) and commence my loop hike from there, first doing the eastern portion then returning to Monarch via the western side of the loop.

    I believe the quote in your post is probably someone who was doing the CDT or CT and was referring to which side of the loop a thru-hiker would choose. Certainly Lake City and Silverton are close to the CT/CDT but are not at all near the Collegiate Loop.

    I believe the lower, eastern side of the loop is sufficiently treed to provide plenty of hanging options, but the higher, western side of the loop is another story. It's likely that I'll have to go to ground several nights on that part of the loop.

    Since the loop is ~160 miles, I'm planning to do the eastern side from Monarch Pass to Twin Lakes first at a fairly casual pace that may take up to a week if I go off-trail to hike any of the available 14ers. Returning to Monarch from Twin Lakes on the western side of the loop will probably take about the same amount of time (again depending on how much off-trail hiking I choose to do).

    If I have done my homework correctly, I'm thinking I need to be prepared to spend several nights on the ground - especially on the western portion of the Collegiate Loop. I'd be interested in what your research has shown and when you're thinking of doing the Loop.


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