Mount Zirkel Wilderness - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting


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About Mount Zirkel Wilderness

The Mount Zirkel Wilderness is a popular destination for hiking and camping in Routt county, Colorado. The wilderness area is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and black bears. There are also numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging. The most popular trail is the Zirkel Circle Trail, which encircles the entire wilderness area. Camping is allowed anywhere in the wilderness, but campfires are only permitted in designated areas.

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Hotels near Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Checkout accommodations closest to Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Things to Do at Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Mount Zirkel Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in Routt county, Colorado. The area is known for its diverse wildlife and scenic views. There are several things to do at Mount Zirkel Wilderness, including hiking, camping, fishing, and birdwatching. Hiking trails wind through forests of lodgepole pine and aspen, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Campgrounds are available for those who wish to stay overnight, and fishing is permitted in most areas. Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting species such as the bald eagle, golden eagle, and peregrine falcon. With its abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery, Mount Zirkel Wilderness is an ideal spot for a Colorado vacation.

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History of Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Colorado's Mount Zirkel Wilderness is rich in history. The area now known as Routt County was originally home to the Ute people, who lived in the mountains for centuries before European settlers arrived. The first white explorers came to the area in the early 1800s, and a wave of homesteaders followed in the 1860s. These settlersnamed many of the region's peaks after their hometowns or favorite literary characters. Mount Zirkel, for example, was named after German scientist Karl Zirkel, who conducted pioneer research in petrology and mineralogy. As the settlement of Routt County grew, so did its reputation as a mecca for outdoor recreation. In 1964, Congress designated the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, ensuring that future generations would be able to enjoy its majestic peaks and pristine forests. Today, visitors come from all over to experience the beauty of this unique corner of Colorado.

Best Time to Visit Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Late summer and early fall offer the best opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The peak wildflower season generally lasts from July to August, and the autumn colors typically peak in September and October. 

Tips for Visiting Mount Zirkel Wilderness

  1. Make sure you have the proper permits before entering the wilderness- you can self-register at the trailhead. 
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and aware of any wildlife- stay on the trails to avoid disturbing the wildlife's natural habitat. 
  3. Be prepared for extreme weather conditions- know the forecast before you go and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. 
  4. Leave rocks and plants as you find them- do not pick flowers or collect rocks from the wilderness area. 
  5. Respect private property- do not camp or hike on private property without permission from the owner. 
  6. Do not build new trails or campfires- stick to existing trails and campsites to avoid damaging the wilderness area. 
  7. Be considerate of other visitors- keep noise to a minimum and be respectful of other people's enjoyment of the wilderness area. 
  8. Follow Leave No Trace principles- these principles help to minimize human impact on wilderness areas and include such things as packing out all trash, not building new fires, and respecting wildlife habitat. 
  9. Pack for all weather conditions: The weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, so it's important to be prepared for all contingencies. pack warm clothes even if you're camping in summer, and be prepared for rain or snow at any time of year.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Mount Zirkel Wilderness

  1. Mount Zirkel Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. It covers a total of 355,000 acres of land.
  2.  The wilderness is named after the Mount Zirkel, the highest peak in the area.
  3. The other notable peaks in the wilderness include North and South Diamond Mountains, East and West Pearl Mountains, and Mount Ethelton.
  4. There are over 200 miles of hiking trails in the wilderness, as well as opportunities for backpacking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and bird watching.
  5. Birdwatchers can also enjoy spotting a variety of different species in the wilderness area, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. 
  6.  Mount Zirkel Wilderness is accessible from several different trailheads, including Buffalo Pass Trailhead and Seedhouse Trailhead. 
  7.  There are four major waterways that flow through the wilderness area: the Elk River, the Blue River, the North Platte River, and the Fraser River. 

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Mount Zirkel Wilderness

It is said that it would take approximately two weeks to explore the entirety of Mount Zirkel Wilderness. 

How to Reach Mount Zirkel Wilderness

To reach Mount Zirkel Wilderness in Routt county, Colorado, take Highway 14 West from the town of Walden for approximately 25 miles. Turn left onto County Road 4 and drive for about 6 miles until you reach the wilderness area. There are several trailheads along the way, so be sure to explore all that the Mount Zirkel Wilderness has to offer!

Entrance Fee of Mount Zirkel Wilderness

There is no entrance fee to explore this area. But there may be some other fees associated with this wilderness park. 

Opening Hours of Mount Zirkel Wilderness

While the wilderness area is open year-round, there are certain times of year when it is particularly accessible. From mid-June to mid-October, the main trailhead is open from dawn until dusk. 

Attractions Near Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Roxy Ann Lake

Roxy Ann Lake

8.68km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Roxy Ann Lake is a lake in Colorado. It is one of the iconic location and is famous among the people. It is a good trekking destination and also camping is possible here.

Mount Zirkel

Mount Zirkel

9.84km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Mount Zirkel is one of the best mountains in Colorado. At 12,180 feet, it is the high point in Colorado's Park Range. The wilderness straddles the Continental Divide in the Park Range and the Sierra Madre and offers a diversity of ecosystems from sagebrush meadows in the lower areas. Mount Zirkel was named in honor of German geologist Ferdinand Zirkel. A good trekking destination and also there are so many things to see and do.

Pearl Lake State Park

Pearl Lake State Park

17.36km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Pearl Lake State Park is a stunning natural oasis in Routt county, Colorado. Nestled among the Rocky Mountains, the park features a serene lake surrounded by hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas. visitors can enjoy fishing, canoeing, and bird watching, or simply take in the breathtaking mountain views. In the winter months, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails criss-crossing the snow-covered landscape.

Lake John

Lake John

18.69km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Lake John is an isolated alpine lake and state wildlife area that offers visitors a peaceful opportunity to escape into nature. The lake offers boating, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor opportunities with an onsite resort open year round for continuous supplies and resources. It is a state wildlife area providing quality fishing for rain- bow and Snake River cutthroat trout.

Teal Lake

Teal Lake

19.21km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Teal Lake is a 50-acre lake surrounded by a rocky shoreline and pine-fir forest. The lake is popular for trout fishing and lies close to a wilderness area with a variety of hiking and off-highway vehicle trails. Outdoor recreation includes boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, horseback riding, picnicking and wildlife viewing. There’s also some nice OHV trails in the area.

Routt National Forest

Routt National Forest

20.76km from Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Routt National Forest lands are located in northwestern Colorado. The Steamboat Ski Resort is located in the forest, on Mount Werner. The forest is named after John Routt, the first Governor of Colorado.Routt National Forest contains seven wilderness areas entirely or partially within it. Entirely within Routt are the Mount Zirkel and the Sarvis Creek Wildernesses.

Discover More Attractions in Routt County, Home of Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Routt County

Routt County

14 attractions

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Colorado, Routt County is a place of natural beauty and rugged adventure. The county is home to Mount Zirkel, the state's highest peak north of the I-70 corridor, as well as the Sarvis Creek Wilderness, which offers miles of hiking and camping opportunities. In winter, the county's alpine slopes are a mecca for skiers and snowboarders, while its valleys offer cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities. Whether you're looking for

Location of Mount Zirkel Wilderness