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Easy Epics: 17 Drive-up Campsites a Backpacker Will Love

Combine the best of car camping (spacious tents, comfy chairs, frosty margaritas!) and the best of backpacking (deep solitude, outrageous scenery, swimming holes!) with these 17 accessible hideaways.

Mt. Zirkel Wilderness
Tiago Lake

See moose, elk, and one of the biggest wildflower displays in Colorado.

Summer comes late to the snowy Park Range at the core of the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness in north-central Colorado. But it rushes in with a blaze of wildflower blossoms and a surge of meltwater that turns trickling streams into raging cataracts. Moose frequent the area around Tiago and its nearby twin, Teal Lake. You may see one from your campsite amid the tall, shade-casting conifers that line the lake. Trails inside the wilderness are arrayed in fishbone fashion, with the Continental Divide Trail as the backbone. Newcomb Creek Trail, at Buffalo Pass (.5 mile north of camp), leads seven miles west through prime elk territory, traversing a broad park and spruce groves, to reach the CDT at 10,600 feet. Walk north on the CDT a few miles, gaining 500 feet, to reach open high ground with drop-dead views of the Rabbit Ears Range and a vast sea of peaks higher than 12,000 feet.

Get there
From Hebron, take CR 24 10 miles to the Grizzly Creek Campground. Turn north on FR 615 and go two miles. The first lake on the east side of the road is Tiago.
UTM 13T 0364151E 4493923N
Map Routt National Forest ($10, fs.fed.us)
Contact fs.usda.gov/mbr; (307) 745-2300

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