Heavy snow accumulates on the heights of Eagles Nest Wilderness in the Gore Range, providing a major contribution to the waters of the Colorado River. Melting snow in spring plunges from the heights to create marshy meadows and sloughs, as well as turbulent thundering creeks when temperatures soar abruptly. This is an area more vertical than horizontal, with sheer rock faces, keen-edged ridges, deep valleys, jagged peaks, and dense forests lower down, and foot travel can be strenuous. Approximately 180 miles of trail provide access to Eagles Nest, most of them dead-ending at a radiant gem of an alpine lake. Two trails, at the northern and southern extremes, cross entirely from one side of the Wilderness to the other side: Upper Cataract Lake to Piney Lake across the north, a distance of 15 miles; and Gore Creek to Red Buffalo Pass to Uneva Pass across the south, a distance of about 19 miles. Off-trail hiking can be difficult, but several informal routes climb the steep passes of the area's craggy core.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Eagles Nest Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.