The Collegiate Loop is an approx 165-mile loop that takes in two distinct sections of The Colorado Trail (CT).
The Collegiate East section is the older section of the CT and lower in elevation. Though not dramatic, it is pleasant in spots. Many day users make ample use of this section that has many gems. I enjoyed working on this portion earlier in the summer.
The Collegiate West section has existed previously as the Continental Divide Trail only. Extensive work has been to get the trail up to the high standards of the CT. Singletrack is in place, and the trail system is well-marked. The Collegiate West has quickly become the “go to” section to many thru or section hikers of the CT.
By all accounts, combining both sections of the CT makes for an intriguing loop that is stunning, with easy logistics and no major navigational challenges.
As I mentioned, this loop will be an excellent way to get myself back into the rhythm of longer hikes and decompress a bit from the corporate environment.
- Start at Monarch Crest on Sept 7th and head out on the CT East portion.
- Re-supply at Princeton Hot Springs; maybe take a quick soak. Definitely get a meal!
- Re-supply at Twin Lakes for the final push
The goal is a relatively leisurely 20 Miles Per Day.
Guides and maps:
I’ve trekked on more complex trips on my own in recent years be it for a weekend or even up to a week at a time. The CT should be relaxing. I”ll simply walk. No major maps to print out and there are ready made resources available. I plan on taking the Colorado Trail Databook and the new NatGeo Collegiate Loop map set. That’s it.
The NatGeo maps are in a light booklet form and have a larger overview if needed. The data book has lots of pertinent info in one small and compact set as well. No need for an app as I do not see navigation being an issue nor do I anticipate needing assurance of where I am precisely located, unlike more complex, less well-marked routes. I will be on a hiking vacation in the truest sense!
What gear am I taking? An expected question. 😉 Luckily I updated my gear list in anticipation of this query. I’ll more or less be using this equipment. Because this hike will be on the casual side with easy resupply, I plan on taking a stove., however.
Very curious about this hike. With JMT permits approach impossible, I bet you could get a lot of mileage out of a post discussing alternatives for the casual fans out here who can only get a few weeks off at a time and only every few years. The hike should equal the JMT in scale and grandeur, but not have so many hoops to jump through to get out and hike.
Fun walk. Enjoy!
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on doing the collegiate loop WITHOUT a resupply stop. I’ll be able to carry quite a bit of stuff and want to see if I can do it for the challenge of it. What would you add to or take away from your list for such an enterprise? Thank you!
Oh, and this would be for a solo trip I’m doing and I like to push myself, if that informs any equipment recommendations you might have.
I’ve done 10.5 days of food with similar gear; so I would not change a thing for me personally.