Natural beauty may seem common in the state of Colorado, but the farther you explore, the more the beauty fills its stereotype; breathtaking. Indian Peaks Wilderness, although easy to drive to, is filled with deep aspen forests, sweeping meadows, and intense alpine hikes.
Indian Peaks, a vast 76,000 acres of National Wilderness Preservation land, allows visitors to see many features of the Colorado back country. Bordered by the Rocky Mountains, it is a popular spot for day hikers and backpackers. This land is one of the most visited wilderness areas in the United States, but it hardly feels as if that’s the case. With such an expansion of land and the adamant upkeep of trails and wildlife, hiking on these trails is always tranquil and beautiful. The best time to visit the Indian Peaks is during the fall because of the autumn colors of the aspens and the wildflowers in the snow. I got to sleep in that snow and frolic in those aspens.
Nature’s artistic work is proven in these mountains, with the highest elevation above 13,500 feet. As the elevation increased, the amount of snow did too. Although this greatly adds to the beauty of the area, the snow made it difficult to spend free time outside of the tents. We were unable to have campfires due to the risk of forest fires and the lack of oxygen, but tent bonding is the best bonding! The hard work of keeping warm, bleaching water, hiking 7-9 miles per day and hanging our food to prevent raccoon invasions was easily worth it. Pictures do not do the Indian Peaks any justice, for the sheer mountainsides and a bird’s eye view of Colorado’s landscape can only be experienced first-hand.
Earlier this year in September, I set out for a four-day backpacking trip to the Indian Peaks Wilderness with 10 other students from Colorado College. The route we chose to follow was the Double By-Pass, named after the two mountain passes to conquer; Buchanan Pass and Pawnee Pass. Throughout this 24-mile hike, we saw four alpine lakes, countless meadows and five waterfalls. The mountains in this area are impressively treacherous, which make the satisfaction of climbing them even more rewarding.
Indian Peaks Wilderness Info: