Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

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Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
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Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, July 2011
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Location Colorado, United States
Nearest city Colorado Springs, CO
Coordinates 38°58′10″N106°29′34″W / 38.96944°N 106.49278°W / 38.96944; -106.49278 [1] Coordinates: 38°58′10″N106°29′34″W / 38.96944°N 106.49278°W / 38.96944; -106.49278 [2]
Area167,414 acres (677.50 km2)
EstablishedJanuary 1, 1980
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km2) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties. [3] [4] [5]

Contents

Geography

Colorado with Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in red Collegiate Peaks Wilderness location in Colorado.png
Colorado with Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in red

The Collegiate Peaks area includes much of the Sawatch Range and has the highest average elevation of any wilderness area in the United States. Five of the area's 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks are named for famous universities and colleges, including Mt. Harvard, Mt. Oxford, Mt. Yale, Mt. Princeton and Mt. Columbia. These peaks are the source of the name for the wilderness area, which includes them all but Mt. Princeton. Other fourteeners in the area include La Plata Peak, Mount Belford, Huron Peak, and Missouri Mountain. The Collegiate Peaks also includes several notable 13,000-foot (4,000 m) peaks including the Three Apostles, a chain of three mountains about six miles (10 km) south of the ghost town of Winfield. The middle peak of the Three Apostles is also referred to as Ice Mountain and is generally recognized as one of the most difficult peaks to climb in the Sawatch Range. Notably, the Collegiate Peaks also has two peaks named Grizzly Peak. One is south of Independence Pass at 13,988, and the other is north of Taylor Reservoir on the Continental Divide at 13,281.

The area is an important watershed for three rivers on both sides of the Continental Divide: the upper Arkansas River, the Gunnison River, and the Roaring Fork River. There are numerous alpine creeks in the area's wide valleys and these are all quite marshy. Snow does not usually begin to melt until May or June and it remains year-round in places on some of the high peaks.

Both the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail cross the area. The Continental Divide Trail follows the course of the Continental Divide itself with several side spurs. The Colorado Trail passes through the lower eastern portion of the area and crosses Pine Creek, Frenchman Creek and Three Elk Creek all of which drain into the Arkansas River north of Buena Vista. [6]

History

In earlier times the area was inhabited by various people. There are groves of old growth Ponderosa Pine on the eastern side which bear evidence of stripping by bands of native Utes who inhabited the area and used the bark from living trees for clothing and food. The area is also dotted with the evidence of mining operations from the last century. In the Pine Creek valley - one of the central valleys between Mounts Oxford, Belford and Missouri to the north and Mt. Harvard and Columbia to the south, there is evidence of an earlier settlement on both sides of the stream comprising four cabins and a horse corral. South of the town of Winfield are the spare remains of the town of Harrison at the base of Mt. Huron.

The Collegiate Peaks borders several other Colorado wilderness areas including: Buffalo Peaks, Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Hunter-Fryingpan, and Mount Massive. It was designated by congress as a wilderness area in 1980 in accordance with the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Related Research Articles

Mount Columbia (Colorado)

Mount Columbia is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,077-foot (4,291 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.9 miles (16.0 km) northwest by west of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was named in honor of Columbia University in the City of New York and in commemoration of its rowing victory at the renowned Henley Royal Regatta in 1878.

Sawatch Range Mountain range in Colorado

The Saguache Range is a high and extensive mountain range in central Colorado which includes eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation, the highest peak in the Rockies.

Independence Pass (Colorado) Highest paved crossing of North Americas Continental Divide

Independence Pass, originally known as Hunter Pass, is a high mountain pass in central Colorado, United States. It is at elevation 12,095 ft (3,687 m) on the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The pass is midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties.

Mount Harvard

Mount Harvard is the third highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,421-foot (4395.6 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Collegiate Peaks and the fourth highest summit in the contiguous United States. Mount Harvard is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 11.7 miles (18.9 km) northwest by west of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The summit of Mount Harvard is the highest point in Chaffee County and is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. The mountain was named in honor of Harvard University.

Elk Mountains (Colorado)

The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.

White River National Forest

White River National Forest is a National Forest in northwest Colorado. It is named after the White River that passes through its northern section. It is the most visited National Forest in the United States, primarily from users of the twelve ski areas within its boundaries.

Weminuche Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. The Weminuche Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1975, and expanded by the Colorado Wilderness Acts of 1980 and 1993. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of the town of Silverton, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Durango, and 8 miles (13 km) west of South Fork. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. Elevation in the wilderness ranges from 7,700 feet (2,300 m) along the Animas River to 14,093 feet (4,296 m) at the summit of Windom Peak.

San Isabel National Forest Forest in Colorado, US

San Isabel National Forest is located in central Colorado. The forest contains 19 of the state's 53 fourteeners, peaks over 14,000 feet (4,267 m) high, including Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado.

Mount Yale

Mount Yale is a high and prominent mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,200-foot (4328.2 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.4 miles (15.2 km) west by north of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was named in honor of Eli Yale of Yale University.

Mount Belford

Mount Belford is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,203-foot (4,329 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 15.0 miles (24.1 km) northwest by west of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States.

Mount Oxford (Colorado)

Mount Oxford is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,160-foot (4,316 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 14.2 miles (22.9 km) northwest of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was named in honor of the University of Oxford.

Missouri Mountain

Missouri Mountain is a high mountain summit in the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,074-foot (4,290 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 15.2 miles (24.5 km) northwest by west of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. Missouri Mountain is separated from its eastern neighbor Mount Belford by Elkhead Pass.

Huron Peak

Huron Peak is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,012-foot (4,271 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 18.0 miles (28.9 km) west-northwest of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States.

Mount Massive Wilderness

The Mount Massive Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sawatch Range, located in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is operated jointly by the United States Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the San Isabel National Forest and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. It is 30,540 acres (123.6 km2) in size, with 27,980 acres (113.2 km2) in San Isabel National Forest and 2,560 acres (10.4 km2) in Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and it was designated by the US Congress in 1980. The name comes from Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado, located inside the wilderness. Elevations in the wilderness range from 9,700 feet (3,000 m) to 14,421 feet (4,396 m). It is the only federally designated wilderness area within the National Fish Hatchery System.

Granite, Colorado Unincorporated community in Colorado, United States

Granite is an unincorporated community with a U.S. Post Office in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The zip code of Granite is 81228. According to the 2010 census, the population is 116.

Chalk Creek

Chalk Creek is a 27.3-mile-long (43.9 km) river flowing east from the Collegiate Peaks mountain range in Chaffee County, Colorado. Mount Antero borders the southern side of the river, while Mount Princeton borders the northern side. The headwaters of the river are located at the Continental Divide. The river empties into the Arkansas River at the town of Nathrop, Colorado.

Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness

The Hunter–Fryingpan Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in White River National Forest east of Aspen, Colorado. The 82,026-acre (331.95 km2) wilderness established in 1978 includes the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the Fryingpan River plus many peaks of the Williams Mountains. It borders on the Mount Massive Wilderness to the east, separated only by the continental divide. There are 50 miles (80 km) of trails in the wilderness area.

Ice Mountain (Colorado)

Ice Mountain is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,958-foot (4,254 m) thirteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, 17.1 miles (27.5 km) west-northwest of the Town of Buena Vista, Colorado, United States, on the Continental Divide separating San Isabel National Forest and Chaffee County from White River National Forest and Pitkin County.

Gunsight Pass (Sawatch Range, Colorado) High mountain pass in Colorado, US

Gunsight Pass is a high mountain pass in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It is located in Gunnison County and in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness, which is managed by the Gunnison National Forest. The pass is at an elevation of 12,185 feet (3,714 m)) on a ridge connecting Square Top Mountain to the west and Broncho Mountain to the east. It divides the watersheds of Brush Creek to the north and Lamphier Creek to the south.

References

  1. "Collegiate Peaks Wilderness". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  2. "Collegiate Peaks Wilderness". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  3. "Collegiate Peaks Wilderness". Wilderness.net. Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  4. "Collegiate Peaks Wilderness". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  5. "Collegiate Peaks Wilderness". Colorado Wilderness. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  6. Tessmer, Marty. "Hike Higher in Colorado's Collegiate Peaks". Backpacker Magazine. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2012.