Longs Peak is a classic Colorado 14er hike with 4,800 feet of climbing over 16 miles. As usual, the afternoon storms are reliable and fierce, so start early (3:00 a.m.). The first couple miles wind through dryland pine forest along Alpine Brook before ascending above the treeline into alpine. Make sure you re at the Keyhole by around 7 a.m. If theres not an ice free route past here, dont bother going on up. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, elk and mountain lions.
Check out Araphahoe Meadows in September for Bull Elk battles.
To reach the East Trailhead (most popular): From Estes Park head south on Hwy 7 to Longs Peak Road. Take a rgith on Longs Peak Road and head to the ranger station and trailhead parking area. Camping is available further down on Longs Peak Road at the Longs Peak Campground. To reach the North Trailhead: From Estes Park head west on Hwy 36 to Bear Lake Road. Follow Bear Lake road past Sprague Lake to the parking area.
There is camping available partway up the trail at the Boulderfield camp area.