"IN WILDNESS IS THE PRESERVATION OF THE WORLD." Henry David Thoreau
Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness is located in the Willams Fork mountains of north central Colorado, directly north of Silverthorne. The southeastern boundary of the wilderness is near Interstate 70 and the Eisenhower tunnel. Designated as wilderness in 1993, Ptarmigan Peak totals 13,175 acres.
Ptarmigan Peak is composed of lower elevation ecosystems of lodgepole pine and Piñon juniper, as well as, spruce-fir and alpine tundra forests. Elevations range from 8,800 to 12,757 feet at Coon Hill. There are many constructed trails available for travel through this rugged terrain, which offers moderate to difficult hikes.
LEAVE NO TRACE
As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.
GROUP SIZE: Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness use regulations allow no more than 25 people and/or stock.
DOGS: Please remember, dogs must be on a leash at all times! Dogs may harass, stress, injure, or kill wildlife, annoy fellow hikers, and introduce disease. In protecting the natural ecosystem, the USFS enforces the leash regulation.
FIRES: Minimize use and impacts of fires. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Always carry a lightweight stove for cooking. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Gather sticks no larger than an adult's wrist. Do not snap branches off live, dead or downed trees.
PERMITS: There are no permits required at this time.
HUMAN WASTE: Deposit human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp or trails. Pack out toilet paper.
TRAILHEADS: The following trailheads access the wilderness:
Ptarmigan Mountain: I-70 to Silverthorne Exit 205. Travel north on HWY. 9 to Tanglewood Drive (next to Wendy's). Turn left and proceed 0.2 miles bearing right to road No. 2021. Turn right and drive 0.9 miles to the trailhead parking on the right. Trail begins on the left. Please stay on the trail and do not trespass on private property.
Acorn Creek: I-70 to Silverthorne Exit 205. Travel north on HWY. 9 for 10.7 miles to Cty Rd 2400. Turn right and climb 1 mile uphill to the trailhead.
Ute Peak: I-70 to Silverthorne Exit 205. Travel north on HWY. 9 for 12 miles. Turn left on the Ute Pass Road (No. 15) and travel 5.2 miles to the parking area on the left, just before the pass summit. The trail begins across the road.
MAPS: The following maps cover different portions of Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness. They can be purchased at district offices or outdoor recreation shops
National Forest Maps:
USGS Quads (7 1/2 minute series):
Dillon, Loveland Pass, and Ute Peak.
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of like." John Muir
Directions from Silverthorne: The trails described here are accessed by travelling north on HWY 9 from the Silverthorne I-70 interchange (#205)
Summer through Fall
(NOTE: Seasons vary depending on snow depth and weather. Many trails travel through high elevations and are not clear of snow until Mid-Summer. WEATHER: Weather patterns change quickly. Warm sunny days can turn into powerful electrical storms. Be prepared for snow even in August!)