The loop is part of the Colorado Trail, around the Collegiate Peaks in the Rockies. The best starting point for any description is the website of the Colorado Trail Foundation. It is approximately 160 miles with over 37,000 ft. in elevation change, and is divided into the East side (Collegiate East or CE), and the West side (Collegiate West or CW), which shares the trail with the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) which stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.
Samuel and I completed the Collegiate Loop in July 2021. We had been looking for the next progressive “challenge”, and this was perfect. Read the links below for our story.
My 16-year-old son Samuel and I completed this loop over 11 nights/12 days in the summer of 2021. The daily adventures are captured in other blog posts onContinue reading “Reflections on the Collegiate Loop”
Our last day of the loop. The weather was kind, but an unexpected detour briefly dampened spirits. We were not going to let is get us down: UpContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 12 – Hunt Lake to Monarch Crest”
With CW03 behind us, the biggest challenge had been accomplished. This day brought peaceful beauty and great variety: Difficult to get up at 5. Samuel has slept wellContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 11 – North Fork Chalk Creek to Hunt Lake”
The night wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It stayed above freezing and the wind did not pick up. It felt like it would be quiteContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 10 – Cottonwood Pass to North Fork Chalk Creek”
Today was about Lake Ann pass and getting ourselves staged for the 15 miles above tree line in CW03. It was always going to be a long, ambitiousContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 9 – Apostle Trail Junction to Cottonwood Pass”
It had been great spending some time with Paul (and enjoying the use of his truck for trips to stores and a hotel in Salida!), which was aContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 8 -Willis Gulch to Apostle Trail Junction”
It had been a rainy evening. While we were dry inside the tent, the tent and tarp were soaking. This was when we started to realize how goodContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 7 – Cache Creek to Interlaken Trailhead”
We knew we had to hike over 24 miles in the next ~24 hours to meet Paul. Our plan had been to stay night 6 on the shoresContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 6 – Harvard Lakes to Cache Creek”
After the side trip up Yale, the rest of the day was just about getting to a campsite. The constraint now was arriving at the Interlaken trailhead atContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 5 – Yale Saddle to Harvard Lakes”
While not part of the loop, this side trip was a highlight. It was our first 14er, and the conditions were perfect, and emphasized by the previous evening’sContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 5 – Yale Side Trip”
We had agreed that the plan was Yale for day 5, so day 4 was short, but with a long climb with as much water as we couldContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 4 – Cottonwood Creek to Yale Saddle”
Day 3 ended up being a key decision day for the Yale side trip on day 5. During the planning, I had gone back and forth. It hadContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 3 – Browns Creek to Cottonwood Creek”
Day 2 felt good. We’d approached the first day carefully, wanting to ensure we did not overdo it, and succeeded. Wanted to remain cautious for day 2. AnContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 2 – Fooses Creek to Browns Creek”
This is the first of the daily journals from the Collegiate Loop which were written on the trail. I dictated to Samuel each night, who wrote it upContinue reading “Collegiate Loop Day 1 – Monarch Crest to Fooses Creek”
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