IIRC, the owner of this site publicized the FT wilderness in an email blast last summer, but never fear, it’s still obscure and largely unused. This is one of my favorite places, and I have been visiting it regularly for about 20 years. This was a heavy snow year in northern Colorado, so I waited until mid-July to make sure my route would be accessible. I only had two nights, so I accessed it by a heavily used TH near a reservoir and bunch of campgrounds, which also give access to a popular dayhike (across a famous “causeway” with a lot of exposure). But once I got past that dayhike route, I only ran into one other party. We had perfect weather, but it was pretty buggy in some spots.
After hiking up the valley from the reservoir, we climbed some switchbacks towards the plateau. On the way, we passed a hiker coming down carrying skis. I asked him if he found a place to ski, and he said “Absolutely, there’s plenty of snow.” You can see his tracks in the last snow-field past Max in the second photo. Looks like he made 4-5 turns, hiked back up and did it again. :-)
Once on the plateau, we hiked south across tundra with some small willows, and made our way to a hidden off-trail lake, that is marked and named on old quads. The original trail is basically gone, but the lake is still easy enough to find, and there are several established campsites. The lake is perched on the edge of the plateau and looks out over the Trapper’s Lake valley. In the morning, we hiked out the other side of the lake, which allows a good look at it.
As we made our way across the tundra to the trail, Max found some new friends.
Back on the trail, we had views of Trapper’s Peak and the Marvine Peaks, descended to some ponds in the Parvine Lake valley, and then continued across a wildflower super-bloom with Shingle Peak in the background.
Eventually, we arrived at the Island Lakes basin, where we descended on some snowy switchbacks. There were some people camping there with horses, but I couldn’t really see them in the photo I took from above. So we passed through quickly and headed towards Deer Lake. It’s a long descent down to that lake and a slog back up, so we bypassed it by climbing a gentle snowfield and hillside, and made our way back to the plateau.
After setting up camp near some ponds just below the plateau, we enjoyed the surrounding views, flowers, and fauna – including a ptarmigan and a marmot (look closely for these).
In the morning, we made our way back to the trail across the tundra, and completed the short hike back down to the reservoir. On the way out, we met a family that was hiking from the reservoir, over the plateau and down the other side for a vacation at the resort at Trapper’s Lake. I thought that sounded like a really nice idea, and a good way for them to experience a good bit of the wilderness, since they can do day hikes and/or trail rides from the resort.