Just a short drive from Boulder by way of Nederland and the town of Eldora, 4th of July Pass and Buckingham Campground offer excellent access to the Indian Peaks Wilderness and several popular trails. It’s debated whether the 4th of July Pass earns its name from to the deep snow that prevents car access until mid-summer or the hillside firework display of colorful wildflowers, but either way, the best access by car is from the middle of summer to the first snow.
Negotiating the 5-mile dirt road to Buckingham Campground can be tricky, but it is doable in a low-clearance two-wheel drive car. You'll see that the drive is well worth the effort as you arrive at the pretty campground that sits at a serious 10,100 feet in elevation. Amenities like a pit-latrine and five picnic tables are available for the three designated campsites, but note that ground fires and grills are prohibited.
Most that visit this campground are summertime hikers who focus on the popular Arapahoe Pass Trail, Diamond Lake Trail, or the Arapahoe Glacier Trail. The access to the Indian Peaks Wilderness from the Buckingham Campground is vast, however, and it serves up many day or multi-day backpacking trips.
During the winter months the 4th of July Pass is privy to excellent snowshoeing, and it is in a prime location to offer a rare winter sighting of bighorn sheep. The best places to spot these Colorado natives from the trail are on the sunny, south-facing slopes of Bald Mountain. Note that winter access to the trails beyond Buckingham Campground is limited, as this area is plagued with frequent avalanches.