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Indian Peaks Wilderness

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Local Info

Indian Peaks Wilderness became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1978 and spans 76,711 acres. This wilderness shares borders with James Peak Wilderness to the south and Rocky Mountain National Park to the north. Elevations range from 8,300 to just over 13,500 feet. Indian Peaks is one of the most visited Wilderness areas in the United States. To encounter fewer people, hike and camp on weekdays and use less popular backcountry zones. Trailhead parking is limited. Always use Leave No Trace to help keep this area wild and pristine. For recorded information call 303-541-2519.

Visiting Tips

July & August are the best, but also the busiest months to visit the IPW.

Camping & Lodging

Permits: The Indian Peaks Wilderness is divided into backcountry zones. View a map of Indian Peaks Wilderness & Backcountry Zones (pdf, 274Kb). Permits are issued according to zone and required for camping between June 1 and September 15. Large groups (8 - 12 people) and/or organized groups such as scouts, churches, schools, internet outdoor groups and hiking clubs require permits year-round for day and overnight trips.

Permits are limited and must be obtained in advance from recreation.gov. Please read more information about Indian Peaks Wilderness guidelines, restrictions, and how to obtain a permit.

Camping: Click here for a list of Boulder Ranger District Campgrounds.

Gems in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 2

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gem Favorite Lone Eagle Peak reflected in unnamed small pond

Crater Lake and Lone Eagle Peak

(21) Granby, CO
gem Favorite View of Long Lake while taking the southern route to Lake Isabelle.

Long Lake

(10) Nederland, CO

Recommended Routes in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 13

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Favorite Lone Eagle Peak above Mirror - from the Crater Lake Trail
Intermediate/Difficult

Monarch Lake to Crater Lake

14.9 mi 24.0 km 2,017' Up 614.74 m Up 2,017' Down 614.7 m Down

Granby, CO
Favorite Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Difficult

High Lonesome Loop

15.7 mi 25.2 km 3,162' Up 963.89 m Up 3,162' Down 963.86 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Climbing Buchanan Pass on the west side.
Difficult

Pawnee-Buchanan Loop

26.5 mi 42.6 km 6,632' Up 2021.41 m Up 6,615' Down 2016.24 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Indian Paintbrush and buttercup.
Difficult

South Arapaho Peak

8.6 mi 13.8 km 3,111' Up 948.19 m Up 3,110' Down 947.87 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Early morning along the trail
Intermediate

Mitchell Lake Trail Out and Back

5.4 mi 8.7 km 864' Up 263.28 m Up 863' Down 263.16 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Early morning along the trail
Difficult

Mount Audubon

7.7 mi 12.4 km 2,662' Up 811.3 m Up 2,662' Down 811.26 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite On the Jean Lunning Trail
Intermediate

Long Lake Loop

3.6 mi 5.8 km 294' Up 89.63 m Up 294' Down 89.48 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite On the way to Gourd Lake.
Very Difficult

Hell Canyon Loop

17.0 mi 27.4 km 4,221' Up 1286.71 m Up 4,279' Down 1304.33 m Down

Granby, CO
Favorite Come for the run, stay for the beauty!
Intermediate/Difficult

Red Deer Lake

14.2 mi 22.9 km 1,725' Up 525.85 m Up 1,725' Down 525.82 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Columbine Lake with crystal clear reflection
Intermediate

Columbine Lake Out-and-Back

6.4 mi 10.3 km 978' Up 298 m Up 978' Down 297.96 m Down

Fraser, CO
Favorite Rainbow Lakes after an early winter storm.
Intermediate

Rainbow Lakes

2.5 mi 4.0 km 293' Up 89.29 m Up 293' Down 89.22 m Down

Nederland, CO
Favorite Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Intermediate/Difficult

Junco Lake Loop

22.2 mi 35.8 km 4,972' Up 1515.48 m Up 4,962' Down 1512.53 m Down

Fraser, CO
Favorite Indian Paintbrush and buttercup.
Intermediate

Diamond Lake

5.4 mi 8.6 km 1,100' Up 335.27 m Up 1,101' Down 335.66 m Down

Nederland, CO

Indian Peaks Wilderness Hiking

  • 328 Miles 528 Kilometers of Trail
  • 13 Recommended Routes
  • 2 Gems Gems
  • 5 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 38 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 6 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
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Weather Averages


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Trails in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 36

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8.0 mi 12.8 km #1Pawnee Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO 26 
2.1 mi 3.3 km #2Isabelle Glacier Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO 28 
7.9 mi 12.8 km #3Arapaho Glacier Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO 18 
3.6 mi 5.9 km #4Diamond Lake Trail
Intermediate
Nederland, CO
Intermediate
Nederland, CO 19 
13.1 mi 21.1 km #5Arapaho Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO 15 
4.2 mi 6.8 km #6Caribou Pass Trail #11
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
12.1 mi 19.5 km #7High Lonesome Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
1.1 mi 1.8 km #8Crater Lake Trail
Intermediate
Granby, CO
Intermediate
Granby, CO
15.0 mi 24.2 km #9Buchanan Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
4.4 mi 7.1 km #10King Lake Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO

Photos of Indian Peaks Wilderness - 246

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Lone Eagle Peak above Mirror - from the Crater Lake Trail
Apr 14, 2015 near Granby, CO
Lone Eagle Peak reflected in unnamed small pond
Apr 14, 2015 near Granby, CO
Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Aug 1, 2017 near Fraser, CO
Indian Paintbrush and buttercup.
Oct 23, 2016 near Nederland, CO
Crater Lake and Mt Achonee (12,649')
Aug 14, 2018 near Granby, CO
Isabelle Lake surrounded by the Indian Peaks - stunning.
Nov 7, 2016 near Nederland, CO
On the way to Gourd Lake.
Jul 16, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
Climbing Buchanan Pass on the west side.
Jul 9, 2018 near Nederland, CO