The 76,711 acre Indian Peaks Wilderness Area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1978. It is bordered on the south by the James Peak Wilderness on the north by Rocky Mountain National Park. 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.
Overnight permits are limited and must be obtained in advance for camping dates 6/1-9/15. Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone from 5/1-11/30 (Backcountry Zone Map).
- Review the regulations listed below.
- Plan your route with a good topographical map for reference. Cross high elevation areas in the early morning hours to avoid severe thunderstorms.
- Decide which backcountry zone you are camping within on each day of your trip by viewing the Indian Peaks Wilderness & Backcountry Zones Map (pdf, 716Kb). Each backcountry zone has a limited number of permits available.
- Download and complete the Wilderness Permit Application Form (pdf, 155Kb).
- Mail or bring the completed application form to the office as far in advance as possible.
Review summer 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. Winter trail condition reports are also available.
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
||Permits are not required between September 16 and May 31 for small groups. Permits are required year round for large organized groups and outfitter/guides.
||PERMITS ARE LIMITED. APPLY EARLY. Reservations can be made for the summer months as early as January 2. Download a wilderness permit application form (pdf 155 Kb).
||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 (see map). 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 Backcountry Zone, in the Cascade Backcountry Zone above Cascade Falls, and on the Diamond Lake Trail.
||Granby, Colorado; Boulder, Colorado; Nederland, Colorado; Ward, Colorado
||Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
||US Forest Service
Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance (www.indianpeakswilderness.org) 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.
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.
Find more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks at the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.
Go to Wilderness.net for additional maps and information.
Trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness: