Get to know the State of Colorado through its Wilderness Areas, specifically The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, which is located in the White River, San Isabel, and Gunnison National Forests, and near the towns and cities of Almont, Aspen, Buena Vista, Crested Butte, Garfield, Gunnison, Pitkin, Taylor Park, Tin Cup, Twin Lakes, and White Pine, CO.
One of the ten largest wilderness areas in the State of Colorado, The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area, designated in 1980, contains more fourteeners than any other wilderness areas in Colorado or the lower 48 states. It may also boast of having the highest average elevation of any wilderness area in the contiguous 48 states because eight peaks within its boundaries exceed 14,000 feet above sea level, including the state’s third and fifth highest summits – Mount Harvard and La Plata Peak, along with more than a half dozen peaks which rise above the 13,800 feet mark.
More than forty miles of the Continental Divide follow the crest of the Sawatch Range within The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area.
It is because of this and the proximity to the Denver metro that the fourteeners are so popular among the climbing set. For those wanting to visit and experience a measure of solitude the best time to do so is during the week or in the fall when the summer crowds have diminished or gone entirely.
Within The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area there are wide, u-shaped valleys, which open onto breathtaking mountain scenery; there are dozens of alpine lakes at the foot of rocky cirques; and there are few areas in Colorado which rival its overall wonder.
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area encompasses 166, 938 acres, with elevations above sea level ranging from 8,500 feet to 14, 420 feet. More than 100 miles of trail are available for use.