A Night in the James Peak Wilderness

It’s been a month since we’ve arrived, time to check out the backpacking around Boulder. Honestly, coming from Wisconsin I’m overwhelmed with choices on where to go. In the end we settled on James Peak Wilderness leaving from the East Portal/Moffat Tunnel trailhead. It’s 45 min drive from home, we get to camp at an alpine lake and walk on the continental divide. Sounds too good to be true. Turns out it isn’t.

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We arrived at the trailhead just before lunch and started walking the 4 miles to Rogers Pass Lake where we hoped to find a spot to camp. The aspens are already starting to turn and the first section of the walk through the forest was gorgeous.

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To the lake it’s a steady incline, about 1,900ft, with plenty of places to rest and fill up with water on the way up. It took about 2 hours to get to the lake and we had many spots to choose from. After a bit of a rest we hiked up another .75 miles and 800ft to the the divide. On the way up we passed Heart Lake which was very windy with little cover. Glad we choose a spot at Rogers Lake. After Heart Lake it’s a steep push to the top.

At this point the ridge is very wide and you can walk miles in either direction. To the west there are great views of Winter Park and the mountains beyond and to the east there are views down the valley all the way to the front range.

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After hanging out on the divide we headed back down to our camp. By then it was much busier by the lake, good thing we grabbed a spot when we did. It was a cool clear night and we had a great dinner of sausages and roast vegetables with some wine (hey it’s only a 4 mile hike in, might as well take advantage of it!).

If you go: