Indian Peaks Wilderness Overnight Permits – Full Season in Advance

Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Pawnee Ng

There are three types of permits available for visiting the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado:

Indian Peaks Wilderness is a popular destination for recreation opportunities in Colorado’s Front Range. The area’s proximity to the Denver Metro area makes it one of the most visited wilderness areas in the country. The Indian Peaks Wilderness was designated as a protected wilderness area in 1978 by an act of Congress. It encompasses 73,391 acres with over 50 lakes, 28 trails covering 133 miles, and six passes across the Continental Divide. Elevations in this wilderness area vary from 8,400 to over 13,500 feet, from montane to sub-alpine and alpine life zones. It is bordered by the James Peak Wilderness to the south and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) to the north. To preserve the area’s wilderness character, a permit system has been in place for overnight camping since 1985.

To minimize resource damage and optimize the visitor experience, Indian Peaks Wilderness is divided into 17 Backcountry Zones . Each of these zones has a designated quota per day to limit the number of visitors and their ecological impact on the wilderness. 

During the summer of 2022, a rockslide imipacted the upper portion of the Pawnee Pass Trail west of the Divide that has presented a significant route finding challenge and potential future rockfall dangers. The switchbacks below the top of the pass have large rocks completely obscuring the path and workaround routes are sandy and unstable. Use extreme caution or pick an alternate trail. 

Many Trails are completely snow covered and can be impassible untill mid July. Please take this into consideration when making a reservation.

Note: If you plan to park at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area you will need to click here to purchase a timed ticket entry. The timed-entry window set aside for permit is holders is 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. however, you can arrive as early as 5 a.m. Additionally, we are requiring that you make it back to you car by 11 a.m. This will ensure that other permit holders will have a spot for their own trip as well. If you anticipate that you will not make it back by 11 a.m., please reserve an additional night when making your reservation.

Permit & Season Information

This permit allows the permit holder and their group (max. 12 people) to overnight camp in one of the selected Backcountry Zones within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. 

About 75% of the quota for each Backcountry Zone is released for reservations for the entire season on this page. The remaining 25% is released three days before a trip could begin on the 3-Days in Advance page. 

Need to Know

Regulations –These regulations exist to protect and preserve the Indian Peaks for present and future generations. The following are subject to $5000 in fines and/or 6 months imprisonment:

Motorized/Mechanized Equipment


Group Size



Recreation Livestock

Backcountry Safety

Leave No Trace

Fee Policy

Reservation Fee: A $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee is required for each overnight permit/large group permit reserved.

Recreation Fee: A $5.00 Indian Peaks Wilderness recreation fee is required for each overnight permit/large group permit reserved.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy: 

Change Policy:

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Phone Number

Boulder Ranger District (east of Continental Divide): (303) 541-2500 ; Sulphur Ranger District (west of Continental Divide): (970) 887-4100

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