Difficulty: All Levels
Length: 133 miles of trails with varied difficulty levels
Access Points: Indian Peaks Wilderness is a large wilderness area with multiple access points, but there are two more popular entry points—from Grand County or the Boulder/Nederland area.
Grand County Access Point: The most popular entry to the Indian Peaks Wilderness area from Grand County is at the Monarch Lake Trail, which circumnavigates Monarch Lake. From Granby, take US Highway 34 toward Grand Lake. Exit at the Arapaho Bay sign, and head about ten miles to Monarch Lake.
Boulder/Nederland Access Point: The most popular entry to the Indian Peaks Wilderness area from Boulder/Nederland, or the “Gateway to the Indian Peaks” is at the Brainard Lake Trail. Head west on CR 102 from Boulder. The trail is located about an hour from town, and many hiking trails can be accessed from Brainard Lake Trail.
Description: Located mostly within the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Indian Peaks Wilderness encompasses 76,711 acres of lakes, streams, trails, and beautiful mountain peaks. About 16 miles of the Continental Divide lies within the area, and it even overlaps with Rocky Mountain National Park to the north. And with eight well-known peaks named after some of Native American tribes that used to live in the area, it’s no wonder how the area got its name. Indian Peaks Wilderness was incorporated into the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1978.
Known as the “Gateway to the Indian Peaks,” Brainard Lake is the busiest area in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. With several trailheads, a campground, and some great activities, it stays busy, especially during July and August. For a quieter, less crowded experience, enter the wilderness area from Grand County. No matter where you decide to enter the area, check out some of the most popular area trails to choose the best one for your group.
While exploring the area, look for elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, mule deer, black bears, or snowshoe rabbits to get a taste of some of the wildlife the area offers. Keep your eyes open for more than 280 species of birds, too!
With activities ranging from fishing to hunting, hiking to cross country skiing, you won’t be at a loss for ways to enjoy the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Make sure to check on rules and regulations for area activities at www.wildlife.state.co.us.
For more information regarding camping permits and restrictions or other conditions, visit www.fs.usda.gov.
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