SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
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 Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – October 2000

All Quiet In Colorado's Indian Peaks

When summer ends, crowd-free hiking begins in Colorado's Indian Peaks.

by: James Campbell

PAGE 1 2

Staggering alpine terrain, an enticing web of backcountry trails, gemlike lakes strung beneath a crown of peaks—it's no wonder hikers flock to Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness all summer long, making it home to one of the most heavily used trail systems in the country. But come fall, the Front Range wilderness reverts to the kind of high-country retreat that drew all those people in the first place: a 73,000-acre parcel of Rocky Mountain highs where backpackers can find superlative scenery and solitude in equal proportions.

The catch? There isn't one, unless you count the Rockies' iffy fall weather.

One glance at the topo map tells you everything: Indian Peaks Wilderness, straddling the Continental Divide, delivers sky-scraping heights, broad valleys, and more than 50 alpine lakes. What the map doesn't show you are mountainsides aglow with aspens turned gold, mountain lion tracks along the Sourdough Trail, golden eagles cruising the thermals over Paiute Lake, and black bears in the thick forests north of Arapaho Pass.

My favorite autumn hike is the 15-mile Buchanon Pass Trail. From Peaceful Valley, the path climbs more than 2,500 lung-busting feet in its first nine miles, following the course of the glacier-fed St. Vrain Creek. Just more than seven miles out is the trout-laden Red Deer Lake. Backed by a perennial snowfield, the lake is beyond the range of most dayhikers, who you may encounter along the first few miles of trail.

Next up is the top-of-the-world terrain at Buchanon Pass, where you cross the Continental Divide at 12,000 feet. I always take a long break on the divide to try to identify all the sights on the near-limitless horizon. Sawtooth Mountain, a well-known Front Range landmark, lies just south of the pass, and the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Wilderness stab the sky to the north. To the east, Boulder Valley rolls out toward the High Plains, and Gourd Lake and other sparkling alpine ponds light up the land to the west. The only thing missing from this flawless vista is the crowds of summer.


PAGE 1 2


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

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Now Maryland?!
Posted On: Apr 19, 2014
Submitted By: Ecocentric
Trailhead Register
Ladies, look at these Tevas!
Posted On: Apr 19, 2014
Submitted By: JRinGeorgia
Go
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 MyRockyMountainPark.com.

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:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions