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Colorado > Colorado Wilderness Areas > Flat Tops Wilderness (Eagle District Section)
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Flat Tops Wilderness (Eagle District Section)

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Flat Tops Wilderness (Eagle District Section)
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General Information

Looking over the south end of the Flat Tops
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Looking over the south end of the Flat Tops
Description - The 235,230 acre Flat Tops Wilderness is the third largest Wilderness Area in Colorado. It encompasses some 235,000 mountainous acres, that range in elevation from 7,500 feet to 12,354 feet. The Flat Tops comprise the northern extent of the White River Plateau; including the headwaters of the North and South Forks of the White River.

Attractions - Glaciation occurred approximately 13,000 to 17,400 years ago and left many of the glacial lakes and U-shaped valleys that characterize the region. In addition, volcanic activity once occurred in this region. Evidence of ancient eruptions can be seen in the cliffs around Trapper's Lake.

Sizable herds of deer and elk use this area as summer range. Other wildlife species include black bear, fox, coyote, bobcat, pine marten, mink, beaver, snowshoe hare, marmot and pika. On rare occasions, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain lions can be seen.

The Colorado River cutthroat trout, once abundant in the wilderness, are now reduced in numbers and distribution. Anglers are encouraged to use a catch and release approach with this sensitive species. Also found are brook trout, rainbow trout and brown trout.

Recreation - The Flat Tops Wilderness offers a variety of backcountry recreation opportunities. Some activities include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, backcountry camping, fishing and hunting. Like all wilderness areas mechanized and motorized vehicles are not permitted within the Flat Tops boundaries. Please understand and use "No Trace" backcountry ethics when using this area for recreation purposes.

Climate - Elevations range from 8,700 to 12,347 feet. Weather in the high country can change rapidly. Temperatures below freezing and snowfall can occur any month of the year. Be prepared for all weather.

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.

Location - The Flat Tops Wilderness lies in northwest Colorado, at the northern end of the White River Plateau. The wilderness is generally accessed from either Meeker, Yampa or Eagle.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Ed Malesky (Jacksonville, FL)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We had planned to hike to Lost Lakes from Trapper Lake and around the back of the Chinese Wall to the Devil's Causway, then back to Trapper. However, the snow, the elevation (for a sea level homeboy)was enough to make us change our plans. Ended up backtracking to Skinnyfish Lake, then drove around to Stillwater and hit the Devil's Causway from that side. Nice campsite at Skinnyfish and nice weather, but we had rain and snow for the last half of the trip. The place was gorgeous when the weather cooperated.

More Information

Contact Information:
Eagle Ranger District, 125 W. 5th St., P.O. Box 720 , Eagle, CO, 81631, Phone: 970-328-6388, Fax: 970-328-6448

Additional Information:
Eagle Area - The Eagle Area includes the lower Eagle River Valley in western Eagle County, Colorado. The area is approximately 135 miles west of Denver, between Vail and Glenwood Springs.
Eagle Ranger District - The Eagle Ranger District surrounds the towns of Eagle and Gypsum, Colorado. It includes portions of the Flat Tops Wilderness, the Sawatch Range and Glenwood Canyon.
Flat Tops Wilderness - The Flat Tops Wilderness is located in northwest Colorado. It lies in the White River and the Routt National Forests. It is divided into three administrative sections: the Blanco District, the Eagle District and the Yampa District.

Leave No Trace - Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics


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