The Indian Peaks Wilderness is 76,486 acres of beautiful alpine valleys, serrated mountain peaks, deep evergreen forests straddling the continental divide west of Boulder, CO and south of Rocky Mountain National park. The granite peaks, a continuation of a mountainous landscape that begins to the north of Rocky Mountain National Park, owe their jagged form to the action of glaciers. Indian Peaks holds a few remnant glaciers, considered to be the southernmost permanent glaciers in North America.
From the popular east entrance at Brainard Lake Recreation area, a five mile hike from the Long Lake trail head will place you at the foot of one of these glaciers, Isabelle Glacier. Surrounded by three of the tallest peaks in the wilderness area, Navajo Peak, Apache Peak, and Shoshoni Peak, this hike is one of the most picturesque day hikes close to Denver.
For the more ambitious hiker, the Pawnee Pass trail from the Long Lake trail head is the start of a 15 mile journey over the continental divide to one of the largest lakes in the state, at Lake Granby. This trail leads over Pawnee Pass and down into some of the most beautiful untouched country Colorado has to offer. At Pawnee Pass, the trail becomes the Cascade Creek trail downhill to the trail head at Monarch Lake. A short one mile detour from the Cascade Creek trail, called the Crater Lake trail, will bring you to the towering spire that is Lone Eagle Peak.
Lone Eagle Peak, like the many of the Indian Peaks, was carved by the slow moving grind of glaciers, remanants of these are still present flanking the peak. South and west is Peck Glacier, and to the south and east is Fair Glacier, sitting just below Mount George. A beautiful destination that draws many photographers, camping is allowed by permit at Crater Lake, this location gives access to both glaciers and the top of the peak within a day's climb.
Always remember to tread lightly!