Backpacking the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Hiking the Indian Peaks Wilderness exceeded expectations. This is my fourth backpacking trip and I’m finally getting the hang of it. Three years ago, I carried waaaaay too much when backpacking to Sawtooth. I needed help lifting my pack to my shoulders and taking it off. I resembled Cheryl Strayed in Wild, who carried, Monster, almost twice her weight. Mine was pretty dang overpacked last year too considering it was only an overnighter.

Backpacking adventure to Arapaho Pass

No matter how well you plan, you never know what to expect when backpacking especially in the wilderness. If you’ve never backpacked, hikers bring everything they need, including food, water, shelter, bedding, and clothes along with all the extra gear and essentials.

This time, I wanted to make smart choices to save on weight. For instance, when picking out bowls, I chose a thin takeout dish as opposed to melamine plastic to save on ounces. I took the bare minimum of clothes and still didn’t wear half of them. Luckily, the weather cooperated.

Entering Indian Peaks Wilderness with everything we need for an overnight camp up on our backs. Click for photographs of this amazing adventure!

We started up the Hesse trail to Lost Lake, which is a favorite place of mine. I wrote a short story a while back and then found this incredibly similar place to the one in my imagination. Weird!

Hiking up to Woodland Lake

Passing the Lost Lake fork in the road, we headed into the Indian Peaks Wilderness to Woodland Lake. This was around a 2000 foot in elevation climb, but parts of it were flatter so we made pretty good time.

Backpacking up Woodland Trail Colorado

On our way up, we came upon some other hikers. One shushed us and pointed. A moose and its calf grazed in the wetlands near the stream. How cool is that?

We didn’t get very close since moose are known to be aggressive especially when with calves.

Moose in Indian Peaks

Once we reached the lake, I felt that same flying feeling after setting down my pack Ahhhhhhh……..

A successful hike to Woodland Lake! I felt that flying feeling after taking off my pack. Click for photos of this amazing adventure!

Danny, Dan, Courtney and I had plenty of time to eat lunch, set up camp and explore. I even took a nap! In my defense, I woke up at 4:45 and it was almost a six mile hike from the car gaining an elevation of almost 2000 feet. Excuses, excuses…

Tent setup in the wilderness. Pretty great advertising for REI!

Dan had time for a little fishing before sunset. He caught several cutthroat trout, but tossed them back into the wild to swim another day. Lady loves the water and played a game of “catch the fishing line.”

Fishing for trout at Woodland Lake.

Courtney and Danny walked over to watch the fun.

Courtney and Danny hiking around Woodland Lake. Click for photos of this amazing adventure!

We camped under the second night of a full moon. It actually felt warmer than during the day when howling winds chilled us from the mountains. It got me in the mood to write a spooky camping tale.

Moon over Indian Peaks

The next morning, Courtney and I explored beyond Woodland Lake to Skyscraper. We had thought it was miles away but was a short jaunt upward.

On the way to Woodland Lake Indian Peaks

Skyscraper in Indian Peaks with Lady and Courtney. Click for photographs of this amazing adventure!

I was glad for Courtney’s ski pole while hiking out. Loose rock still slipped out from under me a few times.

Courtney Lindau hiking Indian Peaks. Click for photographs of this amazing adventure!

We were happy campers once we made it back to civilization!

Courtney and Susie returning from Woodland Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Click for hiking photographs of this amazing adventure!

Would I do it next year? Sure. I would add hiking poles to my backpack and leave my underwear at home. LOL!

Where would you like to backpack? I would love to hear about your latest adventures! 

Click for more adventures on the Wild Ride!

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Backpacking the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Click for photographs of this amazing adventure and what to keep in mind when camping in the wilderness! Colorado | outdoor adventures | Colorado hikes | Hiking | camping in Colorado | Backpack | Hesse trail #colorado #camping #backpacking #Coloradohikes #hiking #IndianPeaks

54 thoughts on “Backpacking the Indian Peaks Wilderness

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  1. The hiking part would be fun, but for me, the thought of having a heavy pack on my back the whole time would spoil everything. Maybe I could send a drone up to the camping spot to drop off the supplies?


    1. Hahaha! What a great idea!!
      Packs do weigh a hiker down, but it feels so good when you take it off. Sort of like when you stop hitting yourself. 🙂 I bet my pack was at least 1/3 lighter. Next time, I’ll leave even more behind!

      Thanks, Anneli!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you know about Ray Jardine’s book Beyond Backpacking? It’s about ultralight backpacking, ways to get your pack weight really low so that you can enjoy yourself more. My husband is a huge fan of his philosophy. I’m still trying to get healthy enough to go backpacking again, but we hike quite a bit and have seen moose up in the Indian Peaks area ourselves. It’s so beautiful up there!


    1. I bet it’s peak color this weekend.

      Backpacking is super hard on the knees, so poles and a light pack are really important. I’ll have to buy that book, thanks! I hope you are back on the trail with a pack soon, Kit!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you so much for the vicarious backpacking trip, Susie. I can now cross this off my bucket list. When are we going to raft some class 6 rapids? I can’t wait!


          1. Bother me? I have long waged a war against the trolls of the Internet and now I don’t even think of them. How far can someone as desperate and pathetic as to be copying someone else’s stories go?


              1. Looks beautiful there. I love hiking but my knees are not as good as they used to be. I remember when I was fit enough to carry huge rucksacks like those. Great memories! 🙂


    1. Thanks so much, Sam!
      Poles only help me when I’m trekking down hill. They would add extra weight but alleviate stress on my knees. No knees, no adventures!!! I did take some nighttime video for a Halloween post. It was crazy spooky!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What no little do white sitting snug on your backpack top? HaHa (That one’s smart enough to stay burr free at home?)
    Looks like a beautiful hike and spot. (Love the dog backpack! They can haul their own water – Mom’s tired! And gonna get some poles, too.)
    Sad but smart to shutter your flash fiction – stealing is stealing. Copyright is copyright. It is infuriating – getting them to stop is so difficult.


    1. Thanks, Phil! Nope. After her unsavory camping experience, I didn’t bother bringing her along. What a nightmare to have to carry her too!! You never know with white poofy dogs.
      Yeah, the trade off with not being ripped off has been a lot less micro fiction being written. I can’t abide cheaters!!!
      Have a fab weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That looks like a great spot too. But, if I always thought about backpacking in Hawaii. Bound to be some mysteries to discover there still. 😉


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