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Buffalo Peaks Wilderness

Government information and links are at the bottom of this page.

Located in Pike and San Isabel National Forests

Neighboring towns: Buena Vista, Hartsel, Fairplay, Alma, Breckenridge, Frisco, Climax, Leadville, Granite

One of Colorado's newest wilderness areas designated by the 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act, Buffalo Peaks offers an enjoyable alternative to nearby areas thronged by crowds pursuing fourteener summits. East (13,300 feet) and West (13,326 feet) Buffalo peaks are two, high-domed mountains plainly visible from throughout South Park and the Arkansas Valley. Twenty-five to thirty million years ago, volcanic ash and lava flows filled a valley here, and the subsequent uplifting and erosion shaped the summits we see today. The peaks mark the southern terminus of the Mosquito Range, a large faulted anticline.

Beaver, elk, mule deer and one of Colorado's largest herds of bighorn sheep (150 individuals) call the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness home, but human visitors are relatively few, preferring the nearby and more glamorous Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Unlike the dramatic sculpted landscape of the Collegiate Peaks immediately west across the Arkansas Valley, Buffalo Peaks contains no deep glaciated valleys and no lakes other than impressive beaver ponds. Gentle forests, extensive meadows, and fewer visitors reward hikers who venture here. Several fine stands of bristle-cone pike grace the area's southerly slopes.

The forest is laced with large meadows and impressive beaver ponds held in place by elaborate dams. Fourmile Creek is a great place for hikers and horse lovers to see these beaver dams and lodges. The peace and quiet of the wilderness is seldom broken here.

Size: 43,410 acres

Elevation: 9,200 to 13,300 feet

Miles of trails: 18

Year designated: 1993

Hunting areas: 481, 49

For more information contact:

Pike & San Isabel National Forests, 1920 Valley Drive, Pueblo, CO 81008
Leadville Ranger District, 2015 N. Poplar, Leadville, CO 80461  (719)486-0749
Pikes Peak Ranger District, 601 So. Weber, Colorado Spgs, CO 80903  (719)636-1602
Salida Ranger District, 325 W. Rainbow Blvd., Salida, CO 81201  (719)539-3591
San Carlos Ranger District, 3170 E. Main St., Canon City, CO 81212  (719)269-8500
South Park Ranger District, Box 219, 320 Hwy 285, Fairplay, CO 80440  (719)836-2031  Fax: (719)836-2033
South Platte Ranger District, 19316 Goddard Ranch Court, Morrison, CO 80903  (303)275-5610

Wilderness sunset

NOTE: Eloquent descriptions of our wilderness areas provided by Mark Pearson, author of "The Complete Guide to Colorado's Wilderness Areas", Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO. The book also contains many beautiful pictures by renowned photographer and Colorado resident John Fielder.


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