James Peak Wilderness

Sign in James Peak Wilderness.

The James Peak area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 2002. James Peak (13,294 feet) was named for Edwin James, an American physician and botanist who traveled to Colorado on the 1819 U.S. Army expedition led by Major Stephen Long. James was the first botanist to describe many of the plants of the Rocky Mountains.

Bordered by Indian Peaks Wilderness to the north, the 17,015 acre James Peak Wilderness is located within Boulder, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties. Adjacent to the Continental Divide on the eastern slope, James Peak Wilderness includes several peaks over 13,000 feet and more than a dozen alpine lakes.  

The area's elevation ranges from 9,200 to 13,294 feet, which includes upper montane, sub-alpine, and alpine ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains.

Always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep this area wild, clean, and pristine. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Check trail conditions before your visit.
Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply (Order No: 10-01-2012-03):
  • Motorized equipment, or mechanized transportation is prohibited, including drones, motorcycles, chain saws, bicycles or carts. Wheelchairs are exempt.
  • Campfires are prohibited. Camp stoves are allowed.
  • Group size is limited to 12 people or a combined total of 12 people and livestock.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, and trails.
  • Stock:
    • Hobbled, tethered, or picketed livestock are prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, or trails.
    • Grazing livestock within 100 feet of lakes, streams, or developed trails is prohibited.
  • Certified weed-free forage is required.  Only pelletized or steam-rolled feed grains, or certified weed-free hay, straw, or mulch are allowed in the Wilderness.
Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wildernesses. These dedicated volunteers patrol trails and educate visitors.
Closest Towns: Boulder, Colorado; Winter Park, Colorado; Lawson, Colorado; Empire, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information

General Notes:

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.


Go to Wilderness.net for additional maps and information.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Know Before You Go

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Related Links

Campgrounds At-A-Glance


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  Elevation : 
9,200' - 13,294'