Starting at 10,560ft (3,218m) you gain altitude from the get-go and soon break through the treeline at 12,600ft (3,840m). But it’s all worth it for that view!
The checkpoint awaits you at the peak. An undulating landscape, carved by millions of years of time, spans out around you.
Then it’s downhill through dense forest all the way to Camp 1 at Swan River. Pine trees skirt the water and towering peaks frame the distance.
Leave the camp and head out on the single-track Colorado Trail. After the climb up West Ridge it’s pretty much downhill all the way to Checkpoint 2.
A steep descent with a sharp ledge will keep you on your toes out of the Checkpoint. But don’t worry; Camp 2 is a welcoming meadow at the Gold Hill Trail Head.
Start early and cruise steadily through the forest, making the most of the cool air. From Checkpoint 3 you’ll climb 2,500 vertical feet (762m) up to Peak 6.
The scenery is breathtaking and you now start to understand the sheer scale of the Rockies. From the summit it’s just three miles (5km) of downhill to Checkpoint 4.
You’ve made it! Now it’s time for a cold beverage in the Trekkers Inn and some serious high-fiving. Your Classic USA journey is complete.