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Longs Peak Valley Loop

 4.6 (7)

23.2 Miles 37.3 Kilometers


84%

Runnable

5,129' 1,563 m

Ascent

-5,150' -1,570 m

Descent

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

71%

Max Grade (36°)

12,060' 3,676 m

High

8,551' 2,606 m

Low

Shared By Jeff Williams

Conditions


Minor Issues 43 days ago
Snowy, Icy - Lots of fresh snow. Not sure the route conditions beyond keyhole. Snow shoes recommended. Ice axe and crampons beyond keyhole History

Getting forecast...

A large loop through the Longs Peak valley, featuring rugged landscapes and high altitude trails.

Jeff Williams

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

A really nice longer loop through Rocky Mountain National Park passing through multiple zones and terrain. If you plan to do this in a single day, start early and be prepared for unexpected weather at high altitude. This could also be done as a multi-day backpacking trip as there are many campsites along the way.

You'll leave from the Longs Peak ranger station, climb up the Longs Peak trailhead and past Chasm Lake for 5.9 miles up to the Keyhole boulder field then drop into Glacier Gorge on North Longs Peak Trail, winding over to the Storm Pass Trail. There are opportunities for some variation, including adding in an ascent of Longs Peak - Keyhole Route for the very motivated.

Need to Know

High altitude running through a variety of changing mountain terrain. Summer months are recommended. No dogs in RMNP. There is no fee at the Longs Peak ranger station, but the parking fills up very early. You can find water for filtering. Be prepared for a long day in the mountains. The trailheads around Glacier Gorge are very popular tourist areas. There are portions popular with horse riders.

Runner Notes

The majority of the climbing occurs in the beginning as you head up towards the boulder field below the keyhole route. There are water sources throughout for filtering. The sections past glacier gorge are popular with horses and the quality of the trails in that part can be dusty in the hot months. There are restrooms at the Longs Peak ranger station, parking fills up early.

Description

Start from the Longs Peak ranger station at 9,400 ft and head up the Long's Peak Trail (Longs Peak - Keyhole Route). Most of the altitude is gained here. You'll head past the Chasm Lake Trail (stop for some great photos of the Diamond on Long's Peak) and continue to Granite pass, reaching the max altitude of a little over 12,000 ft. From there, look for the North Longs Peak Trail turn off and head down North Longs Peak Trail all the way into Glacier Gorge. This trail can be a bit more washed out and can be wet. This drops through the valley and has really nice views of the Glacier Knobs valley.

Continue on to the Glacier Creek Trail. This area has wider trails that are more heavily used by day-hikers. Expect some crowds here as you pass waterfalls and viewing areas along the way down to the Glacier Basin Trails.

In this area some options exist, I used the Glacier Creek Trail, passing Sprague lake and over to the Wind River Trail connector to join the Wild River Trail to add a short loop around and back to Storm Pass. The trails here passes campgrounds and equestrian areas, expect horses and a fair amount of wear on the trails from them - this area is lower altitude pine forests. From Storm Pass, head down, passing the Estes Cone Trail (you can add in a short side trail to summit the cone) onto the Eugenia Mine Trail to the turn off for the Longs Peak Ranger station and your car.

Flora & Fauna

Views of Longs Peak from the Chasm Lake Trail, wildflowers, high alpine tundra, and a high potential for some alpine wildlife. The terrain and plant life changes as you cross through various altitude zones.

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Check-Ins

Sep 29, 2018
Jacob Robison
20mi
Aug 19, 2018
JonW
22.6mi — 5h 30m
Jul 1, 2017
Becky Boyle
25.7mi — 7h 57m

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 7 votes

#1032

Overall
  4.6 from 7 votes
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#187

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#1,032

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Johna Iannitto
Denver, CO
Johna Iannitto   Denver, CO
The directions here are misleading. You're not supposed to go all the way to the keyhole, you need to turn right at Granite Pass. Sep 15, 2016
Amanda Stone
Denver, CO
Amanda Stone   Denver, CO
Agreed with the previous poster that the directions aren't correct. You turn off Granite Pass and don't get near the Keyhole or the Boulder Field. The mileage from the ranger station to the turnoff on Granite Pass is about 4.1 miles. It's an additional two miles from the turnoff to the Keyhole. Aug 10, 2017
JonW  
This would be five stars except for the Glacier Creek and Wind River trails. Those two trails have been torn to shreds by horses making them very sandy with loose rocks. Portions smell like a barn and the piles upon piles of horse crap are hard to avoid. The remainder of the loop is top notch RMNP trail running. Aug 20, 2018

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