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Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Area

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

Located in the White River National Forest

Neighboring towns: Dillon, Breckenridge, Vail

The Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness encompasses 12,594 acres and is administered solely by the Dillon Ranger District.

Here you find lush wet meadows and alpine ridges in the heart of Colorado ski country.

Standing at Dillon Reservoir, the wilderness ridge spans the lazy corner above Silverthorne, with Ptarmigan Peak as the highest point. The forests here consist of lodgepole pine which give way in normal progression to Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir. The high ridgeline extends into alpine tundra.

The south half of the Williams Fork Mountains ridge that comprises the wilderness is unremarkable by itself; the real wonder of the larger roadless area comes in the lush riparian meadows and beaver dams located north of the ridge on the South Fork of the Williams Fork River. Dense willows line innumerable beaver dams and the pools and cascades created by those dams. Anglers delight in dozens of perennial streams and their attendant brook, cutthroat, brown, and rainbow trout.

From the boundary along the top of the mountain ridgeline, the terrain drops into the wet, lush and lovely drainages of the South and Middle Forks of the Williams Fork Rivers. although these drainages are currently roadless, they remain non-wilderness because of Denver's growing need for water. But they are certainly worth the hike.

You will not find many miles of trails in this wilderness. The Ptarmigan Peak Trail just outside Silverthorne crosses Ptarmigan Pass into the drainages to the northeast, a one-way journey of seven miles. The Ute Pass Trail follows the ridgeline boundary from Ptarmigan Pass north to Ute Peak (12,303 feet) and on to Ute Pass.

Size:12,594 acres

Elevation: 8,800 to 12,800 feet

Miles of trails: 41

Year designated: 1993

Hunting areas: 37, 371


For more information contact:

White River National Forest, 900 Grand Ave., PO Box 948, Glenwood Spgs, CO 81602  (970)945-2521  Fax:(970)945-3266  Supervisor's Office

Dillon District, 680 River Parkway, PO Box 620, Silverthorne, CO 80498  (970)468-5400  Fax:(970)468-7735  Dillon District

Wilderness sunset

NOTE: coloradowilderness.com gratefully appreciates the 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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