The Rawah Wilderness is located in northern Colorado, near Rocky Mountain National Park. The wilderness area is a remarkable example of the very best that nature has to offer. For adventurous fly fishermen, Rawah offers the unique thrill of catching native trout in an alpine lake.
No fewer than 28 Rawah lakes hold fish. The wilderness consists of nearly 50,000 acres, and all the lakes are accessible via one of five different trailheads. Fishermen interested in exploring these lakes should note that some of the trails are long and difficult. Others are short and require only moderate hikes.
Some of the lakes, such as Chambers Lake and Lost Lake, are easily accessible and do not require a significant hike at all. However, an angler planning to hike in to one of the “backcountry” lakes should be aware of some potential dangers.
Acute Mountain Sickness usually occurs when you travel above 9,000 feet. Symptoms can include diziness, loss of appetite and an aching body. To avoid this illness, drink plenty of water and take frequent trail breaks.
If you don’t carry enough drinking water with you, be sure to treat stream water before drinking. You can boil the water for five minutes, or use a water purification system. Treating the water before drinking it will help you avoid ingesting an intestinal parasite.
Wildlife is another potential if rare danger when hiking in the wilderness area. Moose sightings are especially common, but also be on the lookout for mountain lions and black bears. Practice caution and use common sense if encountering any animal in the wild.
The Rawah lakes range in size from Lower Sandbar Lake at just over 4 acres to Chambers Lake at over 250 acres. Some of the more popular lakes include Big Rainbow Lake at 7 acres and Snow Lake at 17 acres.
Anglers will find a variety of fish to target in the Rawah lakes. Trout species represented include Rainbow, Greenback, Mackinaw, and Brook. Grayling and Kokanee are also found in a few of the lakes.
How To Get There
From Fort Collins, go north on U.S. Highway 287 for six miles. Turn left to travel west on Colorado State Highway 14. Continue 53 miles to the Blue Lake Trailhead. This is a good place to begin your Rawah Wilderness adventure.
Fishing in the Rawah Wilderness requires a Colorado fishing license. Visit the Rawah website for fishing regulations and information on where to get a fishing license.