High Country in May

Every year, there seems to be a series of questions via e-mail and forums about hiking the Colorado high country  in May and into early-mid June. Many of these questions are specifically hiking the Colorado Trail in May or June.

Northern Colorado (many areas where the CT/CDT goes through) is 130%+ snow pack this year as of May 1st:


However, it is one thing to see raw numbers and a graph, another thing to see a photo!

So here are some photos from May 15th.  Shown is my buddy Matt on a trail in the James Peak wilderness.    A good representation of what may be found at around 10k feet or so up near the Continental Divide in Colorado.

We headed back around 11:30 am as the snow was getting slushy. Makes for some relatively slow travel on skis. I can't imagine snowshoeing through this all day on a thru-hike.

Not that it CAN'T be done..just is not fun for most people (physically challenging, navigational challenges, slower pace so more food is needed in addition to the increased calorie burn from the extra exertion). 🙂




Snowshoeing in this type of snow (slushy, concrete like) all day is HARD and exhausting. There is also a good chance you will have to take on and off the snowshoes all day on a longer trek, too. Not too efficient.

Just saying it may be wise to wait until the end of June (or even a little later if there is a late melt) to start a hike of the Colorado Trail from Denver or similar  if the snow does not melt out faster.

This link from the Colorado Trail Foundation may esp be useful.

Happy Trails!


More photos

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