Here is a small but almost perfect mountain kingdom, with raw granite towering above several beautiful shallow lakes and long valleys carved by ancient glaciers and replete with pine, spruce, fir, and aspen. The limestone ridge rises above 13,000 feet, climbing well beyond the tree line, and contains the fossilized remains of numerous prehistoric sea creatures. Above Lamphier Lake, a slim cut in the bare rock called Gunsight Pass (barely shoulder-width!) opens the ridge for foot travel from South Lottis Creek's drainage to Crystal Creek's drainage. Searching for gold, miners dug at several sites still scarred by their efforts. Square Top Mountain, approximately 12,500 feet high and about an hour's worth of climbing above Lamphier Lake, allows a virtually unparalleled view of almost half of Colorado's fourteeners. Elk and deer abound, but the truly fortunate catch glimpses of a small group of mountain goats or a larger herd of bighorn sheep. The lakes are stocked with trout. There are about 22 miles of maintained trails.
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 Fossil Ridge 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.