If you want to avoid the I-70 corridor, consider a trip to the Indian Peaks Wilderness west of Nederland, up the canyon from Boulder. You’ll probably have the place to yourself.
Woodland Mountain,11,200, is really the end of the ridge to the north of the South Fork of Middle Boulder Creek. It’s a long approach, but is never steep. It is mostly below treeline, which offers protection from the often-blowing wind. To access the peak, park at the end of the road in the town of Eldora then head toward Hessie. Follow the signs for Woodland Lake. Then skin the north side of the mountain.
Descend the nicely spaced trees while headed a little more easterly than your ascent line. This is certainly a different kind of adventure. It’s a fun, full day out, but shouldn’t ever be stressful. Make sure to check out Nederland on the way home as there are a surprising number of cool little restaurants and coffee shops.
Remember, even in locations with lots of “safe” terrain, there is always avalanche terrain nearby. Proper training is helpful. A Level I avalanche course is a great place to start. Beyond avalanches, there are other hazards that exist in the backcountry, and there is no ski patrol to help you out of a jam. Have fun, but play safe!
Donny Roth is the owner of Alpine Ambitions.