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Where Solitude Rules – Surprise Escapes

Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.

Indian Peaks, Colorado
Bag a pair of 12,000-footers along this serene loop.

At the packed parking lots on the east side of the Indian Peaks, you’d be hard-pressed to say what’s so wild about this 76,711-acre wilderness. But the west side, one hour’s drive farther from the Denver-Boulder outdooropolis, is another story. For a weekend loop, start at Monarch Lake trailhead, east of Granby, and hike 8.2 miles to a campsite by rock-rimmed Gourd Lake.

The next day, climb to a saddle between 12,296-foot Cooper Peak and 12,041-foot Marten Peak for commanding views along the Continental Divide. Bag both summits, then continue down trailless scree to a camp near Stone Lake at the head of Hell Canyon, beneath Hiamovi Tower’s granite ramparts. In the morning, follow the Roaring Fork Trail through meadows and descend 6.6 miles to Lake Granby (1.5 miles from your car). Bonus: Spend an extra night at Stone Lake and climb 13,138-foot Ogalalla Peak.

Days 3
Maps USGS topos Isolation Peak, Monarch Lake, and Shadow Mountain
Permits Required ($5/group)
Info (970) 887-4100; fs.fed.us/r2/arnf

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