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Colorado’s Most Popular Wilderness Areas

Posted: May 20, 2011 by Sam Szarka


An alpine scene in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass wilderness Photo: Simon Metzger

Located on the spine of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is blessed with numerous federally protected wilderness areas that offer unspoiled recreation opportunities unavailable elsewhere.

Today, we highlight four of the most popular wilderness areas located throughout the state of Colorado.

Weminuche Wilderness

We begin our list with the most visited wilderness area as well as the largest. Because of it’s sheer size and wild beauty the Weminuche wilderness is understandably popular with backpackers, and day hikers. Here, the rugged San Juan mountains jut out of the surrounding Colorado plateau to an incredible fourteen thousand feet in height. Much of the area was explored by miners prospecting for gold, but due to it’s rugged nature none of it was ever tamed. Congress designated the area as wilderness is 1975.

For more information about the wilderness, visit: Weminuche Wilderness.

Indian Peaks Wilderness / Rocky Mountain National Park

Much of Rocky Mountain National Park is managed by the National Park Service as a wilderness. And immediately adjacent to the park’s southern boundary is the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, one of the most popular wilderness areas in the state.

Here, glacier sculpted peaks line the horizon and glittering alpine tarns catch the snowmelt below. Popular with hikers, both the park and the wilderness area offer many rewarding hiking options. On a summer day, hikers trek up the slopes of popular hikes in Glacier Gorge in the park, or to Lake Isabelle in the wilderness.

To learn more, visit: Indian Peaks Wilderness or Rocky Mountain National Park

Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness

South of Aspen, savvy tourists pay the shuttle-bus fare to visit Maroon lake and catch a glimpse of the twin peaks of the Maroon Bells. Considered the most photographed scene in Colorado, the Maroon Bells (the peaks) are with the boundaries of the Maroon Bells – Snowmass wilderness area. The area is world reknown for its astonishing scenic alpine beauty.

To learn more, visit Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness

Lost Creek Wilderness

Because of it’s location east of the continental divide and its lower altitude, hikers enjoy the many unusually shaped rock formations, towers and spires of the Kenosha and Platte River Mountains even in early spring when much of the Rockies are still snowbound.

The Lost Creek wilderness benefits from its close proximity to the cities of Denver and Colorado Springs. The wilderness is located close to the towns of Bailey, CO and Tarryall, CO.

Preserving Colorado’s Wild Heritage through Wilderness

We believe Colorado’s wild and rugged beauty should be preserved for future generations. Through the web, Colorado’s Wild Areas educates the public about the wilderness areas we have. We encourage the visitor to browse the list of all of Colorado’s wilderness areas.