Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness was designated by the United States Congress in 1980 and it now has a total of 167,584 acres. Located in Colorado this Wilderness spans the Gunnison, White River, and Pike & San Isabel National Forests.
With eight "fourteeners" (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness probably possesses the highest average elevation of any Wilderness in the Lower 48. The peaks include Huron Peak (14,005'), Missouri Mountain (14,067'), Mt. Columbia (14,073'), Mt. Oxford (14,153' ), Mt Yale (14,196'), Mt Belford (14,197'), La Plata (14,340 ft., the state's fifth highest point), and Mt Harvard (14,420', the state's third highest point).
Climbing these peaks is a very popular activity, making opportunities for solitude very elusive. Expect to be inundated by people and their dogs on any "fourteener" trail. As you travel through the area, you might notice unusual and deep indentations in the boundary line. These are a legacy of man's hunt for gold and other valuable metals that are still sought just outside. More than a dozen trailheads create a situation in which no one ever stands more than five miles from a road.
About 40 miles of the serpentine Continental Divide snake across the area, and this expansive Wilderness lies in parts of three national forests. The beauty of this place and its ease of access ensure torrents of visitors, especially on weekends. Timberline lakes and high mountain streams offer excellent fishing and scenery. Browns Pass, Red Mountain Creek, Texas Creek and Magdalena trails are in this Wilderness.
Please help keep Wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace practices. In particular, please refrain from having camp fires near treeline. The dwarfed Krummholtz trees that grow there are taking a beating from insensitive campers.
At a Glance
|Restrictions:||Wilderness regulations apply|
|Closest Towns:||Leadville, CO|
|Operated By:||Forest Service|
Some access points to Collegiate Peaks Wilderness at Pike and San Isabel National Forests:
- Denny Creek Trail
- Collegiate Peaks Campground – Nearby access to Denny Creek Trail
- Colorado Trail #1776 (Avalanche Trailhead)
- Colorado Trail #1776 (North Cottonwood)
- North Cottonwood Trail
- Colorado Trail #1776/ Clear Creek Trail
- Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Collegiate Peaks Wilderness information.
- White River National Forest Collegiate Peaks Wilderness information.
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.
Find more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks at the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.
Go to Wilderness.net for additional maps and information about Wilderness.