[slideshow]In a state filled with so many iconic images, it’s hard to find one that seems to still be somewhat of a secret. So, when I heard about Lone Eagle Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness from a good friend of mine, I was instantly hooked by the images of this beautiful mountain. I knew this is a place that I needed to see with my own eyes.
I got to fulfill this goal when four of us Life-Bussers decided to head out recently for an over-night camping adventure to check out Lone Eagle Peak. On a beautiful, bluebird Colorado day, the four of us made our way to the Monarch Lake Trailhead in Granby, CO. This is where the trek to Lone Eagle Peak begins. We had gotten our Indian Peaks camping permit, signed in at the ranger station, and we were off. It was 7.1 miles in to our destination – Mirror Lake. Crater Lake is another .2 from Mirror Lake. The hike is a steady, gradual climb with a few moderate switchback areas. At the last 1.1 mile turn off you are about to be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking scenes in the Colorado backcountry – a glimpse of Lone Eagle Peak and the cirque of the Indian Peaks. At this point, you do have to pay attention to the trail as it becomes a bit less defined. Fortunately, someone has put up cairns which makes the route finding easier. There is one bridge out at this last 1.1 mile portion but if you look up stream you will see a make-shift replacement bridge.
So there we are, tromping around looking for the campsite near Mirror Lake. We all cruised right by campsites 1- 3 without any awareness that campsites were there. Turns out the campsite markers blend very well with their environment. So, keep your eyes peeled as you get close to Mirror Lake.
We stayed at Campsite #1 and had beautiful views of Lone Eagle and the cirque. As a bonus we had Cascade creek flowing directly through our camp. Camp 4 and Camp 6 are also excellent locations as well. Camp 6 may take some effort to get to, however. Topping off all of this beautiful, natural scenery, was the fact that we were almost completely alone in this wilderness … except for one other small group of campers and some marauding wildlife that made off with our water filter, sunglass case, and Daisy’s dog treats.
After a great hike back out we were all definitely ready for some good eaten’ and a beer. We wound up at Maverick’s Grille in Granby and had a meal that didn’t disappointment four hungry hikers: chips, guacamole, elk burger, cobb salad, jalapeño and cheese burger, and a crispy chicken salad wrap with some brews. Very nice service and mountain town food that totally hit the spot. www.mavericksgrille.com
The only thing I would change about this whole weekend is that I would stay 2 nights instead of one the next time.
If you love beautiful Colorado backcountry this hike is for you. GET OUT THERE!