4,440 acres (6.9 square miles)
The proposed Hoosier Ridge Wilderness sits on the north side of the Continental Divide, between the upper Blue River and Pennsylvania Creek. Red Mountain (13,229 feet), a huge rounded arm of the divide, occupies the center of the area. Most of the proposed area consists of high peaks and supports extensive alpine meadows and rugged screefields. Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir trees are scattered in the high basins, with lodgepole pines dominating the lower drainages. The elevation is 10,100 feet at the bottom of Pennsylvania Creek, and rises to 13,352 feet on the crest of Hoosier Ridge.
What’s special about it
Forest linkagae: This proposed Wilderness Area provides a roadless link between the White River and Pike-San Isabel National Forests, as well as a rugged, high corridor from the area where the Mosquito, Tenmile, and Gore Ranges converge to the Mount Evans Wilderness.
Naturalness: This proposed Area, “untrammeled by man,” is surrounded by areas that were heavily mined in the past. Excellent hiking and camping may be had here.
Ecology: The Hoosier Ridge Research Natural Area straddles the Continental Divide in this proposal area, and is considered a prime example of a native alpine ecosystem. Its vast alpine grasslands and subalpine forest provide habitat for ten rare plant species, as well as boreal toads, and also contains great habitat for very rare wolverine. This is also critical habitat for the Canada lynx, a species listed by the USFWS as Threatened nationwide and by the CDOW as Endangered within Colorado.
Illegal motorized incursion into the roadless area from adjacent private land threatens to significantly devalue the habitat of the area.
Division of Wildlife habitat qualities, species of significance
The IRA is located within overall range, summer and concentration area, and migration area for elk. This area is also overall range and summer range for mountain goat.
The boundaries for this proposal have been adjusted to allow for continued operation of essential municipal water supply facilities and to allow for their possible expansion. Also, as the result of extensive conversations with Summit County local officials, firefighting agencies, and the U.S. Forest Service, this proposal reflects boundary changes that ensure effective management of forest fuel loads, wildfire fighting, and community safety.
The proposed Hoosier Ridge Wilderness Area is contiguous with a Roadless Area of the same name across the Continental Divide on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest. Together, they form a single roadless area of 11,157 acres (17.4 square miles).
How to get there
The proposed Hoosier Ridge Wilderness Area is located 4 miles south of Breckenridge. Approach from State Highway (SH) 9. There are no maintained trails in this area.
- For the best overview of the area, take SH 9 to Hoosier Pass and hike NE along Hoosier Ridge past a cellular telephone relay station.
- One mile south of Blue River, the Fredonia Gulch Road (FS 600) penetrates the area and climbs to an old mine NW of Red Mountain.
- From Blue River, the Pennsylvania Creek Road (FS 611) skirts the northern boundary of the unit and passes a couple of campsites. When this road fades out near treeline, continue on foot into beautiful Horseshoe Basin on the east side of Red Mountain.
- Access to Hoosier Ridge on the eastern boundary of the unit can also be gained from the Indiana Creek Road (FS 593).
- The USGS 7 1⁄2' quads for the proposed Hoosier Ridge Wilderness Area are Breckenridge, Alma, and Boreas Pass.