Indian Peaks Wilderness


Mitchell Lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Overnight permits are limited and must be obtained in advance from the Boulder or Sulphur Ranger District by submitting an Indian Peaks Wilderness Permit Application FormCamping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone from May 1 through November 30. View a map of the Indian Peaks Wilderness & Backcountry Zones.

Indian Peaks Wilderness spans 76,711 acres and became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1978. It is bordered by the James Peak Wilderness to the south and Rocky Mountain National Park to the north. Elevations range from 8,300 to just over 13,500 feet. Indian Peaks is one of the most visited Wilderness areas in the United States.


  1. To obtain a permit, first review the regulations listed below in the "At A Glance: Restrictions" section.
  2. Next plan your route. Have a good topographical map of the area for reference. Trail descriptions are available at the bottom of this page. Remember to cross high elevation areas in the early morning hours to avoid severe thunderstorms.
  3. Decide which backcountry zone you are camping within on each day of your trip by viewing the Indian Peaks Wilderness & Backcountry Zones Map (pdf, 274Kb). Permits are issued according to zone and required for camping between June 1 and September 15. Each backcountry zone is limited to between 4 and 16 permits depending on zone location and size.
  4. Download and complete the Wilderness Permit Application Form (pdf 134Kb) and mail or bring to the office as far in advance as possible.

Large groups (8 - 12 people) and/or organized groups such as scouts, churches, schools, internet outdoor groups and hiking clubs require permits year round for day and overnight trips (groups of more than 12 are prohibited). Day hiking trips are free of charge.


At a Glance

Current Conditions: Campfires prohibited in all backcountry zones due to fire restrictions. Review current trail conditions before accessing the high country. Snow from the winter and spring season can linger through early July depending upon elevation, aspect and tree cover. Early morning hiking is highly recommended due to severe thunderstorms and lightning that can begin as early as 11 am.
Permit Info: PERMITS ARE LIMITED. APPLY EARLY. Permits are required for camping between 6/1 and 9/15. Large groups (8 -12 people) and/or organized groups such as scouts, schools, internet outdoor groups and hiking clubs require permits year round for day and overnight trips. Reservations can be made for the summer months as early as January 2. Download a wilderness permit application form (pdf 134 Kb).
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: July & August
  • Group size is limited to 12 people and livestock combined.
  • Permits are required for all overnight campers 6/1 - 9/15.
  • Permits are always required for organizational groups such as scouts, churches, schools, and hiking clubs.
  • Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone (5/1 - 11/30).
  • In the Diamond, Jasper, Crater, and Caribou Lake Zones, camping is allowed only in designated campsites.
  • Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams and trails.
  • Campfires are prohibited in most areas. Temporary fire restrictions can prohibit campfires in all areas.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Motorized or mechanized equipment including chain saws and mountain bikes are prohibited.
  • Livestock (horses, llamas) are prohibited in the Four Lakes Zone, in the Cascade above Cascade Falls, the Diamond Lake Zone, and on the Diamond Lake Trail.
Closest Towns: Granby, Colorado; Boulder, Colorado; Nederland, Colorado; Ward, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: US Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

Volunteer Groups

Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance ( is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Reports on current trail conditions can be found on their website. Grand County Wilderness Group is a non-profit group that works to assist the U.S. Forest Service in the preservation, protection, improvement and public understanding of the wilderness areas in Grand County.

Topo maps

Forest Service Topography Maps: These maps overlay Forest Service assets, such as roads, trails, and campgrounds, on USGS's topographic maps. They are available for download by quadrangle.

Buy maps online

National Forest Store: Offers a full, nationwide selection of National Forest, Ranger District, Wilderness, and Specialty Maps for purchase online or by phone, fax, and mail.

Colorado’s Fourteeners

Find more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks at the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.

Go to for additional maps and information.


Trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

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Horse Riding & Camping

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