RMNP in mid October: What have conditions been like in the past?

I’m planning a day hiking trip to RMNP in mid to late October. It’s later in the season that ideal but it’s the only time I have time off.

What have the conditions been like in RMNP in past years at that time?

Any chance I could climb Longs Peak?

Do you think I’lll need snow shoes? Ice crampons or ice axes??

What trails would you recommend for mid to late October?

Any and all advice is welcome.

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  • Mid to late October is pushing it for Longs unless you have winter climbing experience. You may get lucky with the weather, but they’ve already gotten significant snowfall just in September. I’ve been in Colorado for about 5 years and every fall it seems like we have people, often from out of state, that make late (October or November) attempts on Long, often with no alpine climbing experience, and die. Please don’t be one of those people. If you really, really, want to do Longs, wait a year and come back in August or early September.

    Most lower downs stuff should be accessible though, and while you wouldn’t need snowshoes/ice axe/crampons for that, I do highly recommend always carrying microspikes or a similar traction device.

    The other complicating factor at the moment is the Cameron Peak Fire. Trail Ridge and the Old Fall River roads are both closed due to smoke/visibility, and now some ice/snow. There is no guarantee they reopen at all this year. I know it seems early to say that, but 2 or 3 years ago Trail Ridge closed for a storm at the end of September and never reopened. So, assuming you’re staying in Estes, consider looking at Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, Gem Lake or Wild Basin areas for hikes that suit what you want to do.

    Edit: the best source for current conditions on Longs and other 14ers is 14ers.com. Trip reports, detailed trail descriptions and pictures, really can’t recommend enough.

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