Backpacking to Jasper Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness

I read where Jared Kushner met with Kanye West, who was camping with his family in Colorado. Camping? Somehow, I couldn’t see Kim Kardashian battling mosquitoes, cooking on a camp stove, or dealing with pit toilets. Backpacking takes camping to another level. When backpacking to Jasper Lake in Colorado, I carried EVERYTHING needed to survive in the wilderness in my twenty-five-pound backpack. Two years ago, it weighed thirty. Every year, I whittle down what I take along. Every ounce counts when hiking ten miles a day. I hoped I would make it this year…

Hesse trailhead Susie Danny Courtney Dan

Okay, so I brought along a couple of camp stools that I could have survived without. In my defense, they weighed almost nothing and worked as great bear repellent while dangling and jangling.

Susie packed for backpacking

This was the second weekend, discovering meadows covered with wildflowers.

Indian Peaks Wilderness wildflowers

From the Hesse trailhead in Nederland, we hiked to the Jasper Lake and Devil’s Thumb trailhead. We used this same trailhead for last year’s hike. We branched off in a different direction to Jasper Lake.

Indian Peaks trail Courtney and Dan

We made sure we went in the right direction at the fork in the road.

Jasper lake Devils thumb trailhead Susie Danny Courtney

Stopping along the way, we enjoyed spectacular views.

Overlook on Jasper Lake Trail Dan and Susie

Courtney points out something in the distance to Dan and Danny. Yes, we are Courtney, Susie, and the Dans.

Gang on the lookout Indian Peaks Wilderness

As the trail grew steeper, we came upon loose rocks and small creek crossings. I was glad that I bought ultralight, collapsible trekking poles, which are just like Courtney’s. Their dog, Lady carries her own water and food.

Jasper Lake Trail backpacking Courtney Dan and Lady

Close to our destination, we found snow!

Snow Jasper Lake

A waterfall tumbles from Jasper Lake.

Jasper Lake waterfall

After a four and a half hours, a six-mile hike, and two thousand feet in elevation, I was ready to set up camp just about anywhere. I always feel weightless after carrying a twenty-five-pound backpack.

Click for my backpacking dance to Bollero. I have no shame. Check out my fake sleeves!

We found a much better campsite — #7 — on the other side of the lake.

Campsite 7 Jasper Lake

My husband, Danny, and Courtney strike a pose while Dan cleans a fish in the reflective lake behind us.

Courtney Danny Jasper Lake reflection

Dinner! Dan caught another trout to add to our sumptuous feast.


After a quiet night but restless sleep, we rustled up breakfast. By then, we had exhausted our water supply and pumped it through a filter from the lake. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast. Dehydrated food is delicious when backpacking. I especially love the eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon combo. Granola was great too. And coffee….

I was glad for my comfy camp chair.

Susie with coffee backpacking

We took a day hike, without backpacks, to Devil’s Thumb, another mile or so away. It was worth the trip to the box canyon.

Devils thumb lake trail

We found lots of grand vistas.

Jagged mountains on Devil's Thumb Trail

More wildflowers.

Meadow in Indian Peaks

The gorgeous landscape included the aforementioned thumb.

Devils thumb with wildflowers

Click for a view of Devil’s Thumb and Lady’s swim in the lake.

The way back down is always faster, although treacherous with that loose rock. I took fewer pictures which helped.

The obligatory mother and daughter photo we take every year. I love our adventures!

Susie and Courtney after backpacking 2020

This was my fourth year of backpacking. There have been years when I really struggled. The first time, my backpack weighed over thirty pounds. I brought pots and pans. I needed help wrangling it onto my shoulders. What was I thinking?

This year, my fitness tracker read 10.2 miles for Saturday and 10.3 for Sunday. Twenty miles was a lot of exercise while hiking up two thousand feet in elevation with weight on my back, but I wasn’t wrecked when I reached the top or bottom. Progress. Walking every day, biking once a week, and hiking on the weekends was enough to get in shape. A twenty-five-pound pack is my sweet spot.

That said, it took me a while to make it down the stairs Monday morning!

Here’s is a link to the All Trails app for the hike to Jasper and Devil’s Thumb Lake.

Topo map from Hesse Trailhead to Devil's Thumb Lake

Have you challenged yourself lately? Would you backpack if you had the chance? How about camping with the West- Kardashians?

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Backpacking to Jasper Lake Indian Peaks Wilderness - Pinterest pin

54 thoughts on “Backpacking to Jasper Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness

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    1. It was gorgeous and everything went smoothly! There was an intense thunderstorm in the afternoon but we had set up our tents by then. Lightning flashed above our tents at the same time as the deafening thunder. We were lucky it didn’t start a fire! 😅
      Thanks, Ingrid!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, such a beautiful hike, Susie! The wildflowers are exploding with joy, the mountains so beautiful! It’s wonderful you guys have this special family time together, and no masks needed! 😎


    1. Yes! It was gorgeous. We wore masks when passing people on the trail but didn’t need them other than that. After staying home so much, it felt good experience an outdoor adventure.

      Thanks for stopping by, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m looking for IcyHot patches to put on…just reading this and looking at the backpack tired me out. I expect muscle soreness anytime now.
    Loved the “sleeves”, the dance and the doggy swim!
    I heard a comment about beating the storm on the way home, did you make it?


    1. Five hours of hiking with a heavy pack 2000 ft up a mountain makes everyone’s muscles sore! 😂

      The storm struck after we set up camp! We were snug inside when the lightning struck. It’s intense in the mountains!


  3. Terrific photos, and such a gorgeous way to escape the madness of everyday life…thanks for sharing, next time we want to see that dehydrated breakfast in all its glory!


  4. Wow – that’s ambitious. Good for you. I don’t like primitive camping. I need a place to do my business without squatting, digging a hole or burying anything.

    Awesome photos though! You look more like Courtney’s sister than her mom.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Aww!! Thanks, Patricia! You made my whole week!
      I love he challenge of backpacking. We are all stronger than we think!! You too! The primitive toilet thing takes some getting used to. 😂


  5. I think my heart misses hiking, but my body probably not so much – ha! – the shoulders, knees and feet take quite a beating hiking. Beautiful photos – gorgeous country to explore 🙂 Nothing better than a great escape outdoors to refresh, recharge and reenergize! Happy Day – Enjoy.


    1. Hey Renee!

      Yes, it’s pretty strenuous but worth it! No lasting pain this year, thank God. 😀 You’re right, it recharged me, especially when staying home has become the norm with Covid. Next summer should be a whole lot better!


      1. Nothing as picturesque as where you are, but I’ve been taking walks in a nearby park two or three times a week to supplement my home workouts. 🙂


    1. 😂 Probably!! It’s frowned upon here too. We leave the wild, wild! Every year is different. Now the air has dried out and there are twelve wildfires. The sun is a fireball in the haze!!!


  6. What a great adventure and a fabulous place to go. How wonderful to share the trip with your family too. Jasper Lake looks amazing but the hiking and the company are what seem to have made the trip so great. You did so well to do 20 plus miles over two days with a backpack on. Not sure I could have put up with the dangling chairs though, too noisy for me. Like a non-rattly backpack!


    1. Lost Lake is a good one! So funny. I wrote a creepy short story a while ago. When I hiked to Lost Lake, I experienced deja vu!
      The farther up you go, the prettier it is. Timing is everything when it comes to wildflowers. Thanks for stopping by, GenX traveler!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds cool! I can’t wait to get out that way again! Will be passing by Boulder in September but not sure I’ll be able to have time to get to that area but there’s nice hikes around Boulder so there will be something to do!!


        1. Definitely! Lots to see and do.Depending on which day you are in Boulder, Chautauqua is a great hiking area and you can stop for refreshments at the dining hall. The trail is super busy on weekends though. Same with Sanitas.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. When I look at these pictures and read about your back packing two things come to mind. Number one is how wonderful it is to be able to disappear into the wilderness like this and not have any indication what is happening in the world. Just for a couple of days you can forget and not think about it. Second, your family is definitely prepared to survive no matter what.


    1. That is true on both counts! Over the years, we’ve experienced a cut off water supply because of contamination from flooding and then the loss of heat (gas) during a snowstorm! I hate to say, bring it on Mother Nature since our state is battling wildfires!!!! This is the first clear morning. It’s all about the wind direction!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Holy Cheeseballs! I can’t believe I missed this post. Dude now that’s a nice field trip. Susie, Courtney and the Dans. That’s funny. The pictures are so beautiful and it looks like you had a good time. Plus your happy dance. Ha! I think I’d be twirling too if a had a pack like that for 20 miles. High five on a nice getaway. Those are so great!


    1. Thanks so much, Guat! It is always a blast to backpack. With isolation due to Covid, it was a very safe vacation and the timing was perfect!
      Remember when I used to have blog parties and danced? 😂 It has been a while but with the wildfires raging, I feel a rain dance coming on!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally remember your parties and you dancing! Mingling around and reading all these good stories and meeting a few people. I wonder how some of them are doing now that they’re somewhere beyond the blogosphere 🙂 glad I can still pop in and find you and your adventures here.


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