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Indian Peaks Wilderness

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

194 mi 313 km of trail 12 Featured Hikes

Gems 2 Gems Easy Trails 13 Trails Intermediate Trails 29 Trails Hard Trails 7 Trails

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.

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. Download a wilderness permit application form (pdf 134Kb).

Permits are limited and must obtained in advance from the Boulder Ranger District (2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301) or Sulphur Ranger District (9 Ten Mile Drive, P.O. Box 10, Granby, CO, 80446). Please download and complete the wilderness permit application form before visiting the office.

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

Visiting Tips

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

Gems in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 2

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Featured Hikes in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 12

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

Monarch Lake to Crater Lake

14.9 mi 24.0 km • Out and Back • 2,017 ft Ascent 614.74 m Ascent

Singletrack Granby, CO

( 61 )
Favorite Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Intermediate/Difficult

High Lonesome Loop

15.7 mi 25.2 km • Loop • 3,162 ft Ascent 963.89 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 59 )
Favorite Climbing Buchanan Pass on the west side.
Intermediate/Difficult

Pawnee-Buchanan Loop

26.5 mi 42.6 km • Point to Point • 6,632 ft Ascent 2021.41 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 37 )
Favorite Indian Paintbrush and buttercup.
Intermediate/Difficult

South Arapaho Peak

8.6 mi 13.8 km • Out and Back • 3,111 ft Ascent 948.19 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 41 )
Favorite Early morning along the trail
Intermediate

Mitchell Lake Trail Out and Back

5.4 mi 8.7 km • Out and Back • 864 ft Ascent 263.28 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 45 )
Favorite Early morning along the trail
Intermediate/Difficult

Mount Audubon

7.7 mi 12.4 km • Out and Back • 2,662 ft Ascent 811.3 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 33 )
Favorite On the Jean Lunning Trail
Easy/Intermediate

Long Lake Loop

3.6 mi 5.8 km • Loop • 294 ft Ascent 89.63 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 17 )
Favorite On the way to Gourd Lake.
Extremely Difficult

Hell Canyon Loop

17.0 mi 27.4 km • Point to Point • 4,221 ft Ascent 1286.71 m Ascent

Singletrack Granby, CO

( 7 )
Favorite Rainbow Lakes after an early winter storm.
Easy/Intermediate

Rainbow Lakes

2.5 mi 4.0 km • Out and Back • 293 ft Ascent 89.29 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 8 )
Favorite Come for the run, stay for the beauty!
Intermediate

Red Deer Lake

14.2 mi 22.9 km • Out and Back • 1,725 ft Ascent 525.85 m Ascent

Singletrack Nederland, CO

( 13 )
Favorite Leaving the Jasper Creek drainage for the Continental Divide on a sunny morning.
Intermediate

Junco Lake Loop

22.2 mi 35.8 km • Point to Point • 4,972 ft Ascent 1515.48 m Ascent

Singletrack Fraser, CO

( 6 )
Favorite Columbine Lake with crystal clear reflection
Intermediate

Columbine Lake Out-and-Back

6.4 mi 10.3 km • Loop • 978 ft Ascent 298 m Ascent

Singletrack Fraser, CO

( 5 )

Trails in Indian Peaks Wilderness - 37

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8.0 mi 12.8 km #1Pawnee Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
8.0 mi 12.8 km Nederland, CO 21 
7.9 mi 12.8 km #2Arapaho Glacier Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
7.9 mi 12.8 km Nederland, CO 16 
2.1 mi 3.3 km #3Isabelle Glacier Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
2.1 mi 3.3 km Nederland, CO 21 
3.6 mi 5.9 km #4Diamond Lake Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Nederland, CO
Easy/Intermediate
3.6 mi 5.9 km Nederland, CO 17 
13.1 mi 21.1 km #5Arapaho Pass Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
13.1 mi 21.1 km Nederland, CO
4.2 mi 6.8 km #6Caribou Pass Trail #11
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
4.2 mi 6.8 km Fraser, CO
12.1 mi 19.5 km #7High Lonesome Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Fraser, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
12.1 mi 19.5 km Fraser, CO
15.0 mi 24.2 km #8Buchanan Pass Trail
Intermediate
Nederland, CO
Intermediate
15.0 mi 24.2 km Nederland, CO
6.3 mi 10.2 km #9Cascade Trail
Difficult
Granby, CO
Difficult
6.3 mi 10.2 km Granby, CO
1.1 mi 1.8 km #10Crater Lake Trail
Intermediate
Granby, CO
Intermediate
1.1 mi 1.8 km Granby, CO
12.6 mi 20.3 km #11CDT: Monarch Lake to Grand Lake (CO Sec. 35)
Easy/Intermediate
Grand Lake, CO
Easy/Intermediate
12.6 mi 20.3 km Grand Lake, CO
1.0 mi 1.7 km #12Airplane Gully Route
Difficult
Nederland, CO
Difficult
1.0 mi 1.7 km Nederland, CO
0.7 mi 1.1 km #13St. Vrain Summit Trail
Difficult
Nederland, CO
Difficult
0.7 mi 1.1 km Nederland, CO
0.5 mi 0.7 km #14South Arapaho Peak Southeast Ridge
Difficult
Nederland, CO
Difficult
0.5 mi 0.7 km Nederland, CO
16.5 mi 26.5 km #15Mad Moose Marathon
Intermediate
Nederland, CO
Intermediate
16.5 mi 26.5 km Nederland, CO
6.8 mi 11.0 km #16Devil's Thumb Trail #902
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
6.8 mi 11.0 km Nederland, CO
2.6 mi 4.1 km #17Woodland Lake Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Nederland, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
2.6 mi 4.1 km Nederland, CO
4.4 mi 7.1 km #18King Lake Trail
Intermediate
Nederland, CO
Intermediate
4.4 mi 7.1 km Nederland, CO
2.0 mi 3.2 km #19Watanga Lake Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Grand Lake, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
2.0 mi 3.2 km Grand Lake, CO
6.4 mi 10.3 km #20Saint Vrain Mountain Trail #915
Intermediate/Difficult
Estes Park, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
6.4 mi 10.3 km Estes Park, CO

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