Longs Peak: Yay or nay?

Rocky Mountain National Park is a must see on our summer trip to Colorado.
Its 107,000 hectares of mountains, forests and lakes offer up hundreds of hikes — making it hard to narrow our choices for the few days we will be in the park.
Longs Peak, the only 14-er in the park, seems a natural pick. A long, strenuous hike that includes a narrow ledge and a few scrambles, it requires an early start (between 1 and 3 a.m. is recommended) to summit and be well down the mountain before the afternoon thunderstorms settle in. Just the kind of challenge we’d love to tackle.
But, Longs Peak is extremely popular. On a busy summer’s day, it’s not uncommon to have more than 100 climbers on the summit at a time. Anyone who has hiked with me (particularly on a steep downward stretch) knows I find nothing more annoying than having someone close on my heels. The idea of being part of a long line of hikers doesn’t appeal to me.
So what’s the alternative?
We’re considering the CCY, a route that summits three peaks, Chapin, Chaquita and Ypsilon, rises to 4,119 metres (13,514 feet) and offers some spectacular views of the entire park.
We’re also planning and overnight hike while we’re in the park, ideally to one of its dozens of alpine lakes.
Anyone out there hiked Longs Peak on a recent summer day? Would you recommend it or another hike?

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