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Indian Peaks Wilderness
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danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
Indian Peaks Wilderness on 06/03/2012 19:52:13 MDT Print View

Hi, I just moved to Boulder recently and am looking to explore this area. Can you guys recommend some trails for backpacking? Thanks in advance,
DC

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Two loops on 06/03/2012 21:22:48 MDT Print View

Two classic loops come to mind.

I'm going to be lazy and post links to my site. ;)

The Pawnee-Buchanan Loop is always good:
http://www.pmags.com/backpacking-loops-%E2%80%93-mags-favorites#Pawnee-Buchanan-Passes

Roughly 27 miles (29 if you do the Crater Lake out-and-back) this is a classic loop in the IPW. Twice over the divide, sub-alpine lakes, GORGEOUS wildflowers and less than an hour's drive from Boulder. Love it so.. :)

Another equally classic loop is the Arapaho Pass and Devil's Thumb Loop:
http://www.pmags.com/devils-thumb-loop-indian-peaks-wildernes

This loop is a little more chill, but also great scenery. You also get to go along the 'official' CDT for a bit. The views from Devil's Thumb Pass are quite awesome.

There are others as well, but these two are a nice introduction.

The only down side for ANY IPW backpacking is that the trailheads can be crowded and the first five miles as well. Once you are pass the initial five miles, the people drop off considerably.

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
IPW on 06/03/2012 21:46:19 MDT Print View

sweet! i'll definitely try the pawnee-buchanan loop first. thanks again for the input!

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
BTW..when are you going? on 06/03/2012 22:04:52 MDT Print View

There is still some remnants of snow esp in the north facing wooded areas.

Not as bad as previous years, but just something to keep in mind.

Also, the Brainard Lake gate is not open yet..not until "mid June"
http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=34980&sid=81d8eb4e9020950fd8e7a07ec8e289ba&start=12


(Probably the 15th)

If you are jonesing for something NOW, may I suggest the Lost Creek Wilderness?

Many people who live in our neck of Colorado make the LCW their first backpacks of the season. Wonderful place that melts out quicker than other areas. The Bison-McCurdy Ridge is among my favorite ridge walks in Colorado.

Edited by PaulMags on 06/03/2012 22:09:18 MDT.

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
IPW on 06/03/2012 22:07:08 MDT Print View

gotcha. i'm going early july...

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
The Bison-McCurdy Ridge on 06/03/2012 23:27:39 MDT Print View

The Bison-McCurdy Ridge is among my favorite ridge walks in Colorado.

Big +1 on that one Paul. The place is just amazing. For those unfamiliar with the area, check the weather forecast before you go. It's not a place you want to be when the lightning strikes.

Edited by Dondo on 06/03/2012 23:28:15 MDT.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: 40°N,-105°W-ish
Permits on 06/04/2012 08:08:16 MDT Print View

Danny - make sure you visit the ranger station in Boulder to secure permits before your trip. Permit season is June 1 - September 15, and the rangers do check them both on packs and on tents.

I was in IPW last week, took the 4th of July trail over Arapaho Pass. I was told by the rangers that it's the only pass that is open without needing crampons and an ice axe. That information was corroborated by a hiker who had tried Pawnee Pass over Memorial Day weekend. My preferred route - Caribou Pass trail - wasn't accessible due to snow and strong winds, so I cut down to Caribou Lake instead. Most campsites were still snow covered.

I'm heading back out in three weeks to do the Buchanan Pass / Pawnee Pass loop. Will report back on conditions afterwards.

Mary R
(pietimer) - MLife
Devil's thumb on 06/04/2012 11:34:19 MDT Print View

I just did the King's lake-Devil's thumb loop over memorial day weekend. It was surprisingly uncrowded and the scenery was fantastic! There is still a lot of snow when you get up to 11-12k ft and I was very glad I had brought my gaiters.
It is a trail I would highly recommend.

Here is a shot on the way up to Devil's thumb:
On the way up to Devi'l thumb

Edited by pietimer on 06/04/2012 11:35:52 MDT.

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
Re: Permits on 06/04/2012 11:51:27 MDT Print View

Good advice. I will be up there(Buchanan/Pawnee) the first week of July so maybe i'll run into you? I'm suprised to hear that there is still so much snow up there since its been such a mild snow year. Likewise, i'll do the same...

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: 40°N,-105°W-ish
Re: Permits on 06/04/2012 14:20:07 MDT Print View

I'll be out there about 10 days before you, and at this time of year that can make all the difference in conditions. It's still very early in the season, and most routes aren't fully open before end of June / early July in normal snow years. I've heard snowmelt is about 4 weeks ahead of schedule. I've done Buchanan Pass and Crater Lake before, but Gourd Lake and Pawnee Pass will be new to me. Great scenery, whatever the weather. If you can, avoid weekends, especially for a permit at Crater Lake.

danny chough
(puffdc) - F

Locale: Republic of Boulder
IPW on 06/19/2012 20:20:20 MDT Print View

Ok, i'm leaning towards doing the Devils Thumb Lake via Hessie Trailhead. Any advise on this hike?