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Neva Backcountry Zone

Northern Front Range, Colorado

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Neva Backcountry Zone

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  • Pit toilet at the trailhead.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Checking out the trail map.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Ascend through a wooded area on the first mile of the hike.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • A group ascending some 1.7 miles from the trailhead (the rocky outcrop makes for a great photo spot looking back toward the trailhead).- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Storm approaches from the south.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Remnants of the old Fourth of July Mine.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Once you step away from the main trail, there are not many people around, and you can find pretty secluded camp spots.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Rain, hail, and even snow are not uncommon in summer afternoons.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Fall arrives early in the backcountry.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Micro forest on the ground - take time to observe the intricate details on the ground at or above the tree line.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • One of many ponds formed by the creek at Neva zone, with Mount Neva in the background.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • There are many secluded camping spots around the area.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • After the storm.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • After the storm.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Town lights reflect off the clouds.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Dark western skies highlight the Milky Way as it makes its way across the sky in summer months.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Star trails reflected on a small lake along the North Fork Middle Boulder Creek.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Neva zone, with Mount Neva on the right and Mount Jasper on the left.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • A hiker takes a moment to admire the view with Mount Neva on the right and Mount Jasper on the left.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Group camping just North of the old Fourth of July Mine.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Beautiful North Fork Middle Boulder Creek with Mount Neva in the background.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • A beautiful sunset reflected in a small lake by the creek, with Mount Neva far in the background.- Neva Backcountry Zone
  • Camping for a couple of nights provides sufficient time to admire sunsets like this one.- Neva Backcountry Zone
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wonderful views and secluded wilderness camping.
Cons: 
Trailhead and main trail are busy.
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Region:
Northern Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Number of days: 
2
Highest point: 
11,267.00 ft (3,434.18 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,128.00 ft (343.81 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Backcountry camping permit
Permit required: 
Yes
Permit reservation URL: 
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd513462.pdf
Permit self-issue on site: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Total elevation gain: 
1,473.00 ft (448.97 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,139.00 ft (3,090.37 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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The Neva Backcountry Zone is one of several designated zones within Indian Peaks Wilderness. The area’s skyline is dominated by Mount Neva and Mount Jasper to the west, which provide a beautiful backdrop to wooded areas, alpine views, and the North Fork Middle Boulder Creek. With an easy yet busy trail in and out, and more secluded mountain views away from the main trail, this makes for an excellent wilderness camping area.

Like for any other backcountry camping or overnight stays at Indian Peaks Wilderness during summer months (June 1 to September 15), backcountry permits are required to camp at the Neva Backcountry Zone. Permits are just $5 per group, but they require an advanced application within the same calendar year of the trip. Keep in mind that permits are limited, so apply early. The good news is that limited permits mean fewer people once you step away from the main trail. Note that permits are not required other than in summer months, but regulations apply year round.

The hike begins at the Fourth of July Trailhead (39.995204, -105.634256). This trail provides access to some very popular spots, thus it is very busy on summer weekends.  It is highly recommended to arrive early, as parking is limited. The trail ascends some 700 feet through a wooded area. As you ascend, look left (west) for a waterfall formed by the drainage from Diamond Lake. At around 2 miles from the trailhead you will arrive at the remnants of the Fourth of July Mine and the Arapaho Glacier Trail. That is a good spot to search for a campsite.

Unlike nearby Diamond Lake Backcountry Zone, there are no designated camp areas in Neva Zone. Instead, you can wonder into the wilderness and select any spot while observing all regulations. From the Fourth of July mine you can head west toward the North Fork Middle Boulder Creek to find wonderful spots to set up camp. There are small lakes and streams that provide a wonderful foreground to the rugged peaks in the background. Note that there are not many tall trees in that area, so it is highly recommended to bring a bear canister to store food and trash. Alternately, there are good spots just north of the old mine or in the large valley between the mine and Lake Dorothy. Keep in mind that the higher you camp, the more exposure there is wind and potential thunderstorms. There is plenty of water in the area surrounding the creek, thus it is not necessary to pack too much water if you have a good filter and/or water purification tablets.

From a good base camp you can explore the area with day hikes to Lake Dorothy, Caribou Lake, South Arapaho Peak and other wonderful spots in the area.  As an added bonus, the skies are remarkably dark at night, especially looking west and north, so make sure to watch the Milky Way move across the sky in summer months.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(21 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(110 within a 30 mile radius)

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