Jun 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm #1291164
Allen ButtsBPL Member
@butts0989Locale: Northern Rockies
I am wanting to do a trip somewhere in the Indian Peaks Wilderness but I dont even know where to start. A loop would be great but a hike in hike out would work well too. If i could bag a nice peak that wouldnt hurt either. Where should i go????Jun 19, 2012 at 6:46 am #1888226
Stuart .BPL Member
Check out Paul Mags' website for a couple of loop ideas, including
The northern loop / double bypass / Buchanan Pass & Pawnee Pass: http://www.pmags.com/backpacking-loops-–-mags-favorites
The southern loop / Devils Thumb loop: http://www.pmags.com/devils-thumb-loop-indian-peaks-wildernes
Dondo has some great trip reports on his site including the same two routes:
Additionally, check out protrails.com for trail descriptions (mostly out and back):
Finally, call or go visit the Boulder Ranger Station for up to date conditions and to purchase a backcountry permit.
I'm heading up there later this week to do a variation of the northern loop and will report back on conditions.
This is a good year to get your trips in early, as snowmelt is a month or so ahead of schedule. Wildflower season will be early and short, and trips later in the summer may require you carry a lot more water than normal.Jun 19, 2012 at 11:52 am #1888311
Mary RBPL Member
+1 on the Devils thumb/Kings lake loop
I did it a month ago and it was a gorgeous hike.Jun 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm #1888322
Also consider starting from the West side of the wilderness area. Excepting holiday weekends, I haven't found either side to particularly crowded. I just prefer the west side because it is more convenient.
From the Monarch lake trailhead, it is possible to do a couple loops. The Buchanan pass/Pawnee pass loop can be done from that side, though it adds another ~3 miles or so. From Monarch Lake, you can also hike up to caribou lake > Arapaho pass > caribou pass > Caribou trial > High lonesome trail back to monarch lake. From the Columbine lake trailhead, it is possible to do the same loop or the Devils thumb loop previously mentioned.
I hiked the caribou lake loop last summer over the weekend of July 4. There was still TONS of snow, and we had to use snowshoes for most of the terrain above 10,000'. Following the trail was pretty impossible with 10' of snow on top of it. This year shouldn't be nearly as bad.
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