Vasquez Peak Wilderness

Vasquez Peak Wilderness

The Vasquez Peak Wilderness was congressionally established in 1993. It encompasses 12,300 acres of tundra and spruce/fir forest in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in Grand County, Colorado. Edward Berthoud named Vasquez Peak, the highest point in the Wilderness at 12,947 feet. Berthoud was the founder and engineer of the mountain pass through the Rocky Mountains into the Middle Park area of Colorado, now known as Berthoud Pass.

The Vasquez Peak Wilderness is bordered by the Winter Park Ski Area to the north; the Fraser Experimental Forest to the west; Berthoud Pass (Highway 40) road to the east; and Jones Pass and the Henderson Mine to the south. This high country Wilderness sits entirely above 10,000 feet with over half of its area above timberline.

There are over 15 miles of trail across the alpine tundra and only one trail that climbs through a spruce/fir forest. These trails lead up to two small lakes, across six peaks above 12,500 feet in elevation, and above numerous small creeks that start in high alpine basins. Along the southern boundary of Vasquez Peak Wilderness the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail offers opportunities for solitude and views.

With much of the trail system above timberline, sudden summer thunderstorms can make exposure to lightning in the Vasquez Mountains a dangerous risk. Plan on hiking early and dropping into the trees before afternoon storms break. In winter, avalanches are common.

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

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
  • Motorized equipment, or mechanized transportation is prohibited, including motorcycles, chain saws, bicycles or carts. Wheelchairs are exempt.
  • Group size is limited to 12 people and/or livestock combined.
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited within 100’ feet of all lakes, streams and trails to protect water quality, sensitive vegetation and to help assure solitude. Thin soils and mountain vegetation are easily damaged by fire and fires scar rocks and soil. Use a stove, a fire pan or an existing fire ring when and where fires are allowed.
  • Pets must be on a handheld leash at all times.
  • Certified weed-free forage is required on all public land. Only pelletized or steam-rolled feed grains, or certified weed-free hay, straw, or mulch are allowed.
  • Stock must not be hobbled, tethered, grazed, or picketed within 100’ feet of any lakes, streams or trails. This protects fragile vegetation and keeps lakes and streams clean.
  • Do not store equipment, personal property or supplies for more than 14 days within a 30-day period, including time the area was used for camping.
Closest Towns: Winter Park, Colorado; Silverthorne, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.

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.

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.

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