Activities: Hiking, Camping
Closest City / Town: Estes Park, Colorado
- The Longs Peak Trailhead is located on the west side of Highway 7, which runs between Estes Park and Allenspark along the Peak to Peak Byway.
- From Estes Park, head south on Highway 7 for 7.5 miles. The road leading up to the trailhead will be on the right side of the road. You really can’t miss the signs that point to the Longs Peak Ranger Station and Trailhead.
Hiking Distance: 14 miles (roundtrip)
Description: At 14,259 feet tall, Longs Peak should not be climbed by individuals who fear heights. This hike is probably the most classic trek in Rocky Mountain National Park. One of this site’s authors has climbed Longs Peak five times and has seen people in dire straits. Although the Keyhole Route isn’t terribly technical, certain portions (such as the narrows) can really scare the pants off people.
You must possess basic bouldering skills to pass through the Keyhole and the chokestone in the Trough. If you attempt Longs Peak, be sure to allocate the whole day to the climb – hit the trail early in the morning. Moreover, bring plenty of water and food. The last thing you need is to be tired, without fuel in your body.
Also, do not attempt to travel beyond the Keyhole if bad weather is approaching. Storms can build and move quickly through Rocky Mountain National Park. Many people have lost their lives by attempting to summit Longs Peak during poor weather.
Worth Noting: The view from the privies is one of the best in the Rockies. If you’ve “got to go,” there is no better place to do it.
- Gerry Roach, Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs(recommended guide by The Colorado Hiker)
- Gerry Roach, Colorado’s Fourteeners: Companion Map Package(recommended guide by The Colorado Hiker)
- Walter R. Borneman & Lyndon J. Lampert, A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners