The first mistake I made was not making camping reservations before arriving in RMNP. Epic fail on my part. With sites being reservation only now, this left my friend and I sleeping in the car the night before we hiked. We shared alot of laughs as we made macaroni and cheese in the parking lot and slid into our sleeping bags in the front seat of her Subaru. Make sure you make reservations early. Sites will be booked by late spring.
Choose the day with the least percentage chance of rain. Afternoon rains are common over Longs, and it is crucial to pick a good day for this hike if you are planning on making it up and back in one day. Pack your bag and lunch the night before.
- Camelbak- I usually pack about 2 liters of water. I also bring a Gatorade or some sort of electrolyte drink. Make sure you have enough water, however the more you pack the heavier your bag is.
- Sunglasses (Not needed until on your way back down)
- Headlamp (Needed on way up)
- Wear Layers! The morning and summit is cold, however gets very hot on the way back down. I tend to start out wearing hiking pants with shorts underneath. Top layers start with fleece, long sleeve, and tank top or T-shirt.
- Gloves (with rubber gripping will be helpful)
- Hiking boots/shoes with good grip- good socks that won't give blisters
- Bandaids/small 1st aid/Tylenol
- Rain Jacket
- Rain cover for backpack
- Toilet paper
Sunrise at the keyhole.
Here you can see Boulder Field behind us with the Keyhole above our heads. Keep hiking up towards the keyhole and go through it.
At Boulder Field will be the second and final toilet of the hike. This is also the location of overnight camping. In the morning everyone is usually very quiet as we walk past tents with sleeping campers in them. Climbing up the boulders is usually a slow process. By this time it's getting harder to breath. Once reaching the Keyhole its a spectacular view on both sides looking out.
This is looking back over Boulder field that we climbed up. The rocks might look tiny, but they are actually huge boulders. When you are sitting at the keyhole, people hiking up will look like tiny ants coming up from below.
This is sitting in the keyhole.
This is looking down on the other side of the keyhole.
Some of the elevation symptoms I usually get are a deep cough, headache, and tingling from my arm to fingers. For some they may not feel any elevation symptoms though.
Many people are scared to go back down because of how steep the homestretch is. I guarantee you the way back is easier and will go much faster. I just stay low and slide my way down!
From the Keyhole back to the car it can get very warm as you get lower in elevation and the temperature starts to rise midday. This is where removing layers comes in handy. It also is when I drink the most water. I have gotten caught in a few hail/rain storms on the way down which is why its important to leave early in the morning and starting heading back early afternoon as well.
Have any of you hiked Longs Peak before? Any tips from your experience?
Whats your favorite hike?