Indian Peaks

Indian Peaks is an excellent location located just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. While the park lacks the large sweeping valleys, it contains much of the same high mountain beauty that you can find in the longer hikes of RMNP. The mountains loom over you once you get far enough giving you the same kind of feel you can find on your way up to Chasm lake, but almost more scenic. As you approach Blue Lake, you pass many smaller calm crystal clea

r ponds and great piles of boulders littered with strange spiders that bounce in their web. Throughout the trails are numerous wildflowers that gather around the many streams leading to the ponds. Morning light can make these locations glow, but only if you brave the numerous mosquitoes that sometimes fill the lower parts of the trail.

Indian Peaks unfortunately becomes rather inaccessible during the winter months. A gate closes with the first serious snow fall, which extends round hikes by approximately 3 miles. Coupled with the snow it makes hiking there in the winter tiring. Further complicating winter hiking is that the three times I have been there during the winter, I experienced white out blizzard conditions. Like all high mountain locations, weather can be unpredictable but such hikes can be particularly rewarding emotionally. The gate tends to open in late May and closes in September or October.

In the summer, The Blue Lake Trail or the Mitchell Lake trail are relaxing and rewarding afternoon hikes. Expect ice to vary amounts all year around. When I was there in late July standing snow was still present as well as glacial ice and floating ice in Blue Lake. With the ice and blue co

lor Blue Lake is the gem of the park. Various small water falls feed it surrounded by purple and pale yellow flowers and rather tame marmots and mountain grouse can be found near its edge.

During the summer months, park can be busy, especially on the weekends but no exclusively. Come early both for the better light and so you can even find a spot to park while avoiding the crowds. Parking is rather limited, so even when the park is full, once you are out on the trails it does not seem crowded. You are aware of other people, but it is not the point where you feel like a touron standing at the side of the road in RMNP watching elk. Most people stay near Long Lake to camp, fish, and picnic leaving the trails for people who will appreciate them. If you choose to go in the winter, you will likely need to pick up a day pass in a nearby town that is authorized to sell them. They do not sell passes at the park gate during the winter. I do not know if you need a pass in the winter, I have a universal state park pass so I never looked into it.

For more photos of the area, refer to:

my flickr