Dominating the skyline, and topping out at 14,259 feet, Longs is the ultimate adventure for enthusiastic hikers. Unless they already have a lot of mountain experience under their belts, especially at higher altitudes, Longs can be a rude awakening. Getting on the trail at 2 - 3 AM is considered a "best practice" (though if you can score a camping spot in the boulder field, you can obviously push that start time back). Despite being a difficult mountain, many people still insist on giving it a go, even if they may not have the experience or fitness to perform well on the peak. Longs Peak Hike/Run A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was running too much and need to get my hiking legs ready for the races I have coming up. A Longs Peak Colorado hike is one of the best in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Though this hike is difficult, and especially dangerous during poor weather, it is stunning, and doable for most intermediate to experienced hikers. There are two main “hiking” trails to Longs peak that feature Class 1 and 2 hiking up until the Keyhole, where the hike is considered class 3. More than 60 people have died on Longs Peak and the majority of those have been on the Keyhole route. An early morning start and being fully rested is essential for a summit attempt on Longs Peak.A twenty minute shuttle brings us to the trailhead, where your guide will distribute backpacks, hiking poles, and trail snacks. To navigate, follow spray painted targets to the base of a long trough. To quickly answer – The risk factors that make Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived. Returning the to Keyhole requires concentration. Physical conditioning is important, but so is the mental aspect. Two rules come into play when hiking Longs: Start early and drink more water than you think necessary. Work up to Longs and you’ll enjoy the experience much more than suffering through a long, hard day. It is unquestionably the monarch of the Front Range and northern Colorado. Written by James Dziezynski for RootsRated. This 14,259 ft. behemoth is one of the most coveted peaks in Colorado. Many people will learn a great deal about themselves and the mountain in the process and go on to successfully summit at a later date. Longs Peak is something of a legendary Colorado climb / hike. Perhaps the most important lesson of all is that your are far from finished when you reach the summit of Longs Peak. Done as a single day outing, the standard Keyhole route on Longs entails 15+ miles of hiking, 5,000 ft. of elevation gain, exposed scrambling with fall-risk potential, and difficult terrain above treeline, where storms roar in with regularity. Note: If you start to feel nauseous, it's probably a resort of high altitude. Don't be fooled though, it's not a walk in the park. Iconic Longs Peak (14,259') is the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's 15th highest summit, and the northern most 14,000' peak in the Rocky Mountains. Longs Peak is the farthest north 14er (peak over 14,000 feet) in Colorado and the highest point within the National Park. The large flat summit of Longs has unobstructed 360-degree views of the eastern plains, Indian Peaks Wilderness to the south, and the Rocky Mountain National Park to the west. Longs Peak from Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. Certain areas are prone to bottlenecks, such as the top of the Trough and along the Homestretch. Not reaching the summit shouldn’t be considered a failure. Always remember to error on the side of caution and heed a hikers well-known saying: the mountain is not going anywhere; it will be here another day. Stay left on the East Longs Peak Trail and switchback up and easy slope to reach the north end of the Boulder Field, near 12,400'. 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