Longs Peak Guide – The Keyhole Route

At 14,255′ Longs Peak towers above the rest of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. It is the only 14er within the park’s boundary and is the northernmost 14er on the Front Range. It is easily accessed from Denver, but climbing to this summit is not easy. I have summited nine other 14ers prior to climbing Longs Peak and attempted two others (turned away by the weather). Climbing Longs Peak is without a doubt the most challenging and dangerous to date. The sense of accomplishment found at the top along with the amazing views makes this one of the best hikes found within Rocky Mountain National Park’s boundary. This is the Longs Peak guide for the Keyhole Route.

A jagged peak rises above a barren landscape.
One of the first views of Longs Peak as the trail emerges from the treeline.

Longs Peak Guide Stats

A hiker descends a rocky path overlooking a valley far below.
A hiker descends the treacherous section of the Longs Peak trail known as The Trough. This isn’t a hike but a climb.
  • Longs Peak Elevation: 14,255’
  • Trailhead Elevation: 9,405′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 4,805’
  • Rating: Extremely Strenuous
  • Trailhead: Longs Peak Trailhead Trail
  • Distance: 7.5 miles (one-way)
  • Best time to start the hike: 3:00 AM or earlier
  • Alt Trailhead: Bear Lake (adds 3 miles each direction onto the journey)
  • Boulder Field Campground Elevation: 12,760’
  • Chasm Lake Spur: Add 1.7-miles round-trip
A mountain peak rises out of a small lake.
A view of Longs Peak from Chasm Lake. This is one spur hike that I definitely recommend doing.

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