- "IN WILDNESS IS THE PRESERVATION OF THE WORLD." Henry David Thoreau
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Upper Cataract Lake, Eagles Nest Wilderness
Designated as wilderness in 1976, Eagles Nest consists of 133,496 acres. Eagles Nest is dominated by the Gore Range, a chain of sharp peaks, rugged escarpments and glaciated valleys. Elevations range from 7,850 feet on the Piney River to 13,534 feet at the top of Mount Powell. There are 17 peaks over 13,000 feet and 33 peaks over 12,000 feet in the region. At the lower elevations on the east side and in the Piney River drainage on the west side, are open parks, broad valleys and densely forested slopes. There are many constructed trails available for travel through this rugged terrain, which offers moderate to difficult hikes.
Recreation - Backpacking, hiking and horseback riding are the primary recreation activities in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. See the descriptions for either the west side or the east side of the Eagles Nest Wilderness for trailhead locations. The western portion of the wilderness area lies in the Holy Cross Ranger District and the eastern portion lies in the Dillon Ranger District.
Climate - Weather patterns change quickly. Warm sunny days can turn into powerful electrical storms. Temperatures below freezing and snowfall can occur any month of the year. Be prepared for snow in August!
Afternoon thunderstorms often form in the summer. In case of lightning, move down from high ground (below tree line). Avoid ridge tops and open meadows. Think ahead and get to safe areas before the storm hits.
The Eagles Nest Wilderness is located in the Gore Range of north central Colorado, directly north of Vail Pass. The southern boundary of the wilderness is adjacent to the Interstate 70 corridor which connects the towns of Vail, Dillon and Silverthorne.