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Mountain Map: Indian Peaks, CO

Of all the reasons to be jealous of Denverites (craft beer, deep powder, Peyton Manning), the Front Range's backyard peaks might top the list. These glacier-carved mountains straddle the Continental Divide and offer 133 miles of maintained trails, plus endless serrated ridges to explore. Local or visitor, venture into this land of massive crags with these routes that promise views from every vantage point—if you don't live here yet, you'll wish you did.

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Colorado: Indian Peaks (Photo by Kyler Deutmeyer)


The Indian Peaks

Jasper Lake

Picnic or camp on the shores of a lake ripe with cutthroat, brook, and brown trout on this 8-mile out-and-back. Hike .5 mile from the Hessie trailhead on the Devil’s Thumb Trail, then follow the sound of water to an off-trail, three-stranded waterfall. After another .5 mile, keep right onto Devil’s Thumb Bypass Trail. Climb through aspens to a meadow dotted with columbine in summer. After 3 more miles and 1,100 feet of gain, reach the open, spruce-forested shores of 19-acre Jasper Lake beneath its namesake mountain’s rolling ridgeline. Trip ID 2264023

Mt. Neva

Test your routefinding and scrambling skills on this burly 9.4-mile adventure. From the Fourth of July trailhead, ascend the Arapaho Pass Trail 3.2 miles to the Caribou Pass Trail. In .4 mile, head west on a .2-mile spur to the boulder-strewn shores of 14-acre Lake Dorothy. Continue south along the jagged ridge above the lake, taking caution with class 3 and 4 terrain as you scramble up 400 feet in .7 mile to 12,822-foot Neva’s barren summit. Descend east from the saddle connecting Mts. Neva and Jasper. Follow the North Fork Middle Boulder Creek for 1.7 miles; ascend to rejoin the Arapaho Pass Trail. Trip ID990473

Arapaho Glacier Lookout

See the largest glacier in Colorado on this strenuous, 11.5-mile out-and-back. Leave Rainbow Lakes Campground on the Arapaho Glacier Trail, climbing 1,000 feet in 2 miles to tundra. Switchback up to a 12,300-foot saddle; on a clear day, catch a glimpse of Pikes Peak, 100 miles to the south. The trail becomes rockier as it weaves up another 400 feet in 2 miles to Arapaho Glacier Lookout and views of the 60-acre glacier nestled between North and South Arapaho Peaks. Option: Bag 13,400-foot South Arapaho by scrambling .5 mile west. Trip ID265883

Mt. Audubon

Earn panoramic views on this 8-mile out-and-back to the easiest of the Indian Peaks’ seven 13ers. But don’t confuse easiest with easy—you’ll still hoof it up 2,700 feet, partly on steep talus. From the Mitchell Lake trailhead, take the gentle Beaver Creek Trail into pine and spruce forest. In 1.6 miles, keep west onto the Mt. Audubon Trail through tundra dotted with forget-me-nots and columbine in summer. Finish with a 600-foot scramble to Mt. Audubon’s 13,223-foot summit, which overlooks a glacier-cut maze of alpine terrain. Trip ID53181

Red Deer Lake

Enjoy a quick-and-easy weekend getaway, 14 miles round-trip from Camp Dick Campground. Climb gently on Buchanan Pass Trail 2 miles through spruce forest to braided, 75-foot Timberline Falls. After another 3 miles of mellow hiking, pass though a meadow (watch for elk and moose) before re-entering the forest. Aspens signal you’re close to the rocky, willow-lined shores of this 14.5-acre lake, an excellent fishing spot for brook and brown trout. Trip ID20759

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