Indian Peaks Wilderness

Photo of the Indian Peaks Wilderness sign located in a meadow of wildflowers with snow-capped peaks

Indian Peaks Wilderness is a popular destination for hiking, fising, and more. The Wilderness is divided into 17 backcountry zones, each with a permit quota to limit the adverse impacts due to repeated use.

Requirements - Overnight Permits, Day Use Permits and Parking Reservations are required depending on season, group size, and location. Bear Canisters are required in certain backcountry zones and trailheads.

At a Glance

Fees: All fees can be found at
  • Each Overnight/Day Use Permit costs $11.00
    • $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee
    • $5.00 non-refundable Forest Service recreation fee
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: July & August
Restrictions: Leave No Trace: Group Size:
  • Group size is limited to 12 people or 12 people and livestock combined, year round.
  • Campsites must be located at least 100 feet away from all lakes, streams and trails.
  • The following backcountry zones allow camping only in designated sites year-round:
  • Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone from May 1 through November 30.
  • Campfires are always prohibited east of the Continental Divide.
  • Campfires are permitted west of the Continental Divide but are always prohibited in the following areas:
    • Crater Lake
    • Caribou Lake
    • Columbine Lake
    • Gourd Lake
    • Pawnee Lake
    • Upper Cascade Creek (east of Cascade Falls)
  • Campfires are prohibited everywhere in Indian Peaks Wilderness when Grand County and/or Sulphur Ranger District are under fire restrictions.
Organized Groups and Commercial Outfitters:
  • A permit is required year-round for all organized groups or commercial outfitters entering the wilderness for day hiking or camping.
Motorized/Mechanized Equipment:
  • Motorized equipment (including drones) and mechanized transportation (including bicycles) are prohibited within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 
  • Wheeled devices (motorized or non-motorized) that are essential for the mobility of people with disabilities are allowed.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
Recreation Livestock:
  • Hobbling, tethering, or picketing of livestock, such as horses, llamas, or other livestock is prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, or trails. 
  • Processed weed-free feed is required for livestock and must include original and current documentation. 
  • Pack stock are prohibited within these backcountry zones and on these trails: Crater Lake, Four Lakes, Diamond Lake, Upper Cascade Creek (above Cascade Falls), Diamond Lake Trail
  • For depositing solid human waste, dig catholes 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, campsites, and trails. Leave No Trace.
Closest Towns: Boulder; Nederland; Ward; Winter Park; Grand Lake; Tabernash; Fraser
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water before drinking.
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information


Check trail conditions

General Notes:

Overview: The Indian Peaks Wilderness was designated as a protected wilderness area in 1978 by an act of Congress. It encompasses 73,391 acres with over 50 lakes, 28 trails covering 133 miles, and six passes across the Continental Divide. Elevations in these wilderness areas vary from 8,400 to over 13,500 feet, from montane to sub-alpine and alpine zones. It is bordered by the James Peak Wilderness to the south and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to the north.

Trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness:


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Know Before You Go

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Related Links

Campgrounds At-A-Glance

Featured Events


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
8300' - 13500'