Well I Would Hike 500 Miles

My two year unofficial hiking project is complete. Yeah, I missed my mark by a few weeks (February 19, 2017 to March 9, 2019) but close enough. In just about two years, I’ve completed 100 distinct hikes. I use word “hike” loosely in this context to mean anything from a two mile stroll up a wide, well-maintained, packed dirt road at sea level with no elevation gain to a nine mile, 4,000 ft + elevation gain, nine-hour slog that sometimes required my hands to pull myself up the steepest spots. Some of these were trail runs, some were on snowshoes, and one was completely through water that was waist high at some points. What they all have in common is that they were in nature, not on any kind of pavement. Sure, I put hundreds of additional miles on my feet in this time, roaming around Zurich, Venice, Milan, Madrid, Beijing, Shanghai, Portland, Kansas City, and so many other great urban areas, and I completed countless recreational runs on pavement and duplicated many hikes, but this post only counts unique wilderness missions. 

The average hike was 5 miles. The shortest ones on this list were not even 3 miles. The routes were 5-6 miles for most local hikes, and 7-9 miles for 14ers. The longest hike was 15 miles. Although the project took me this long to complete, which is less than 1 hike per week, I’d say that in my 38 years prior to this project, I’d only completed only about 300 hikes total in my life. So this feels like a lot to me. And most of the other hikes, while they were in some amazing places ranging from the Blue Mountains outside Sydney to Yellowstone National Park, took place before my love affair with nature began about four years ago. Now hiking is an addiction. I don’t feel okay if I don’t get out in the forest on a mountain over the weekend. Neither does my dog. As the women at his boarding facility tell me when I’m out of town, when they take him on walks around the neighborhood, he stops often and “stares longingly” at the mountains rising up behind Boulder. Trotsky gets it.

What’s next? 100 unique hikes in one year? That’s probably too ambitious considering I’ve picked off a lot of low-hanging fruit close to Boulder. But I’ve got three new ones down, and my to-hike list is currently over 100 trails long, so looks like I will hike 500 miles more, certainly in far less time this time around. And that list only has the ones in Colorado that I know about. Who knows where my travels will take me this year? I’ve got trips to Belize and Yosemite coming up soon, and every time I venture out in Colorado for one hike, I find ten more that I want to do. So maybe one year isn’t that unreasonable.

And now I present the list.

February 2017

  • Indian Peaks Wildnerness (Eldora, CO), Heart Lake (also July 2018)
  • El Dorado Canyon State Park (El Dorado, CO), Rattlesnake Gulch Trail
  • Walden Ponds (Boulder, CO), Various trails (also Jan 2018)

El Dorado Canyon HIke (8)

March 2017

  • Centennial Trailhead (Boulder, CO), Sunshine Canyon (also January 2018)
  • Chautauqua (Boulder, CO), Bluebell, Flatirons Loop, and Royal Arch
  • Chautauqua (Boulder, CO), Mesa and Enchanted Mesa
  • Wonderland Lake (Boulder, CO), Various trails (also December 2017)

April 2017

  • Marshall Mesa (Boulder, CO), Coal Seam, Marshall Mesa, and Marshall Valley
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO) Gregory Canyon and Tenderfoot
  • Blodgett Peak Open Space (Colorado Springs, CO), Various trails
  • Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, CO), Various trails
  • South Mesa Trail (Boulder, CO) Mesa, Shadow Canyon North, Shadow Canyon South, and Homestead

May 2017

  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Lions Lair
  • Forest Park (Portland, OR), Various trails

June 2017

  • Front Range Mountains (CO), Summitted Grays and Torreys
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (CO), Various trails
  • Settlers Park (Boulder, CO) Red Rocks (also September 2018)

July 2017

  • Antelope Island State Park (UT), Various trails
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument (Idaho), Various trails
  • Proctor Mountain (Sun Valley, ID), Various trails
  • Buffalo Creek Wilderness (Bailey, CO), Crossons Ghost Town
  • Hermit Park Open Space (Estes Park, CO), Various trails
  • El Dorado Canyon State Park (El Dorado, CO), Fowler Trail and Goshawk Ridge
  • North Table Mountain Park (Golden, CO), Tilting Mesa and Mesa Top Trails

August 2017

  • Mosquito Mountain Range (CO), Summitted Mt. Sherman (14k feet)
  • Mosquito Mountain Range (CO), Hoosier Pass Loop
  • Mosquito Mountain Range (CO), Summitted Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross (each 14k feet)
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Mt. Sanitas (also November 2017 and April 2018)
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Flagstaff  Mountain, Panorama to Realization Point (also June 2018)
  • Dolomite Mountains (Italy), Zanser Alm to Schluterhutte
  • Dolomite Mountains (Italy), Schluterhutte to Badia
  • Dolomite Mountains (Italy), Badia to Passo Valparola
  • Dolomite Mountains (Italy), Passo Valparola to Cortina d’Ampezzo


September 2017

  • Brainard Lake Recreation Area (Ward, CO), Isabelle Glacier
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO) Gross Reservoir and Walker Ranch Loop counterclockwise in a mile and back out

October 2017

  • Bear Creek Falls (Telluride, CO) (also in March 2013)
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Forsythe Canyon (also in March 2018 and July 2018)
  • Dinosaur Valley State Park (Glen Rose, TX), Various trails
  • Country Woods Inn (Glen Rose, TX), Various trails

November 2017

  • Norbuck Park (Dallas, TX), Various trails
  • Betasso Preserve (Boulder, CO), Canyon Loop, (also December 2017)

December 2017

  • Dowdy Draw (Boulder, CO), Dowdy Draw (also April 2018)
  • Hanging Lake (Glenwood Springs, CO), (also in May 2014)

January 2018

  • Chautauqua (Boulder, CO), Baseline, Saddlerock, Amphitheater, Ski Jump

February 2018

  • Big Bend National Park (TX), Lost Mine
  • Big Bend National Park (TX), The Window
  • Big Bend National Park (TX), Emory Peak and South Rim Loop
  • Big Bend National Park (TX), Santa Elena Canyon Trail
  • Herman Gulch (Dillon, CO), Herman Lake


April 2018

  • South Mesa Trail (Boulder, CO), Mesa and Big Bluestern
  • Valley of Fire State Park (NV), Various trails (also May 2007)
  • Zion National Park (UT), The Narrows

May 2018

  • White Ranch Open Space (Golden, CO), Belcher Hill, Whippletree, Longhorn, and Shorthorn
  • Eagle Trailhead (Boulder, CO), Eagle and Sage
  • Betasso Preserve (Boulder, CO). Four Mile Link and Benjamin Loop (also August 2018)
  • Chautauqua (Boulder, CO), Chautauqua Trail to the Second Flatiron
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO) Dakota Ridge and Goat Trail

June 2018

  • Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest (Steamboat Springs, CO), Rabbit Ears Peak
  • Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest (Steamboat Springs, CO), Fish Creek Falls
  • Sawatch Mountain Range (CO), summitted La Plata Peak (14k feet)
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO) NCAR Trail and Mallory Cave

July 2018

  • Pennypack Trail (Bryn Athyn, PA), Various trails
  • Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC), Various trails
  • Sawatch Mountain Range (CO), Summitted Mt. Elbert (14k feet)

August 2018

  • Flattops Wilderness (Meeker, CO), Smith Lake
  • Flattops Wilderness (Meeker, CO), Devil’s Causeway
  • Teller Farms (Boulder, CO), South side
  • San Juan Mountains, (CO), Cascade Creek
  • Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass (CO), Various trails

September 2018

  • Genesee County Park (Batavia, NY), Various trails
  • Mt. Evans Wilderness (CO), Chicago Lakes
  • Kenosha Pass (CO), Various trails on the west side
  • Booth Falls (Vail, CO), Booth Falls
  • White River National Forest (CO), Various trails
  • Shrine Pass (CO), Shrine Ridge
  • Sawatch Mountain Range (CO), Summitted Mt. Princeton (14k feet)


October 2018

  • Apex Park (Golden, CO), Apex, Enchanted Forest, Hardscrabble, Sluicebox, and Pick-n-Sledge
  • Roosevelt National Forest (Boulder, CO), Switzerland Trail
  • Mt Falcon East (Morrison, CO), Turkey Trot and Castle
  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Sugarloaf Mountain
  • Indian Peaks Wilderness (Eldora, CO), Arapaho Pass and Diamond Lake

November 2018

  • Flatirons Vista (Boulder, CO), North and South
  • Lookout Mountain (Golden, CO), Beaver Brook
  • Rabbit Mountain (Lyons, CO), Eagle Wind and Little Thompson Lookout

December 2018

  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Interim Joder, down to Lefthand Canyon and Buckingham Park (also January 2019)
  • Roosevelt National Forest (Lyons, CO) Lion Gulch and Homestead Meadow
  • Devil’s Backbone Open Space (Loveland, CO), Wild Loop, the Keyhole, Hunter Loop, and Laughing Horse Loop
  • Settler’s Park (Boulder, CO), Anemone Hill

January 2019

  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Bear Peak
  • Roosevelt National Forest (Estes Park, CO), Lily Mountain
  • Roosevelt National Forest, (Allenspark, CO), Parachute Hill area

February 2019

  • Foothills (Boulder, CO), Walker Ranch Loop clockwise to Crescent Meadows trailhead and back out
  • Roosevelt National Forest (Lyons, CO), Coulson Gulch
  • Breckenridge Open Space (Breckenridge, CO) Sallie Barber Mine Trail and Trail of Tears
  • Elk Mountains (Crested Butte, CO), Brush Creek and Snodgrass Mountain Trail
  • Monarch Pass (Monarch, CO), Old Monarch Pass
  • Button Rock Preserve (Lyons, CO), Sleepy Lion Trail


March 2019

  • Paint Mines Interpretive Park (Calhan, CO), Loop around the whole park
  • Aiken Canyon Nature Preserve (Colorado Springs, CO), Loop and Canyon Trails
  • Ute Valley Park (Colorado Springs, CO), Various trails

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