The Vasquez Peak Wilderness was congressionally established in 1993. It encompasses 12,300 acres of tundra and spruce/fir forest in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in Grand County, Colorado. Edward Berthoud named Vasquez Peak, the highest point in the Wilderness at 12,947 feet. Berthoud was the founder and engineer of the mountain pass through the Rocky Mountains into the Middle Park area of Colorado, now known as Berthoud Pass.
The Vasquez Peak Wilderness is bordered by the Winter Park Ski Area to the north; the Fraser Experimental Forest to the west; Berthoud Pass (Highway 40) road to the east; and Jones Pass and the Henderson Mine to the south. This high country Wilderness sits entirely above 10,000 feet with over half of its area above timberline.
There are over 15 miles of trail across the alpine tundra and only one trail that climbs through a spruce/fir forest. These trails lead up to two small lakes, across six peaks above 12,500 feet in elevation, and above numerous small creeks that start in high alpine basins. Along the southern boundary of Vasquez Peak Wilderness the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail offers opportunities for solitude and views.
With much of the trail system above timberline, sudden summer thunderstorms can make exposure to lightning in the Vasquez Mountains a dangerous risk. Plan on hiking early and dropping into the trees before afternoon storms break. In winter, avalanches are common.