The Vasquez Peak Wilderness was designated as a wilderness area by the United States Congress in 1993. At only 13, 000 acres, the Vasquez Peak Wilderness cannot compare to other Colorado wilderness areas in terms of size but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer.
Located within the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, the wilderness area was named after its highest and most prominent mountain, the Vasquez Peak. Although the peak only reaches about 12,900 feet, more than half of the wilderness area itself is actually above the timberline.
As such, its most notable trails pass through mostly stark alpine tundra instead of dense forests or rolling meadows.
Quite ironically, the Vasquez Peak Wilderness is notable for its krummholz trees. These trees, named after the German word for “twisted wood”, are the result of the harsh icy winds of the wilderness and can be found as one descends from the alpine tundra down to the forests. Another point of note in the Vasquez Peak Wilderness is the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
Seven miles of the Continental Divide Scenic trail pass through the wilderness and it lives up to its name with flying colors. Due to the fact that this wilderness area is mostly above timberline, visitors are advised to be cautious around afternoon summer storms as lightning is common around the area. Despite its size, the Vasquez Peak Wilderness should not be passed up.