2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 1999

Colorado's Flat Tops Wilderness

by: Ted Stedman


From a distance, the Flat Tops could be mistaken for the setting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 classic The Lost World, in which dinosaurs roam cloud-penetrating mesas in a land that time forgot. These 10,000- to 12,354-foot-high tablelands seem to levitate above the surrounding valleys, altogether out of place in a state known for jagged summits.

By Rocky Mountain standards, where lung-busting ascents are commonplace, the 235,230-acre Flat Tops Wilderness is hiker-friendly. Once on top you'll find moderate striding across rolling tundra. A 200-mile trail network creates a mind-boggling matrix connecting 80 lakes and geologic features like the Chinese Wall, a 1,000-foot rampart 5 curvy miles long.

A route that serves up storybook pageantry is the North Derby Trail to Hooper and Keener Lakes. You'll earn the burn early, humping 1,000 vertical feet in 2 miles, then amble an easy mile to the side-by-side lakes teeming with trout. Camping restrictions are in effect around both lakes.

For a memorable 21-mile loop, stay on North Derby and head to Road Lake. There you'll pick up Island Lake Trail and head west for a rendezvous with Deer Lake Trail. Chinese Wall and Bear River Trails drop you back at Stillwater Reservoir.

Where: 177 miles west of Denver. The Stillwater trailhead is 17 miles southwest of Yampa on County Road 7 (becoming Forest Road 900) at Stillwater Reservoir.

Maps: Flat Tops NE/Trappers Lake, #122 ($9.95, Trails Illustrated, 800-962-1643).

Trail Info: Routt National Forest, Yampa District, (970) 638-4516.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Hurray for Curry! Ingredient helps to block colon
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: JimInMD
Hiking on rocks
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: Walkinman
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions