Hike + Fly Fish: Flat Top Wilderness Area (7 day)


Colorado has many amazing outdoor and wilderness gems, but the Flat Top Wilderness Area is truly special.


The Flat Top Wilderness Area is Colorado’s 2nd largest wilderness area and is one of the states best and most secluded wilderness experiences. Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides offer amazing guided backpacking, fly fishing, and multi-day wilderness experiences in the Flat Top Wilderness. Situated between 8,000’ – 12,000’, the Flat Tops are a combination of large lakes, pristine rivers, high plateau mountains, and amazing scenery. The Flat Tops wilderness also offers anglers Colorado’s best fly fishing for ribbon cutthroat trout in high alpine lakes and streams for both avid anglers or those learning the art of fly fishing.

Trip Dates

2024 Dates

We can create your adventure for any dates that you wish. Since all of our trips are custom and private we can start and finish your adventure on your schedule. With the ability to modify the number of days and activities we can help you plan your perfect Colorado adventure. Call us at (720) 242-9828 for more details!

Trip Details


Day 0:  Arrive. Meet and go over gear, food, and Itinerary in afternoon or evening.

Day 1: Depart 6 am and drive 4 hours to the trailhead at 10,255′ where we will begin our adventure. Begin hiking by 11 am. Starting at the trailhead in a flat marshy area, we hike through evergreen forests for 2.3 miles and 1000’ of gain to a divide overlooking the Colorado and Yampa drainages. The final ascent to the divide is a series of switchbacks. From the divide, we traverse and slightly descend to our camping location around by the afternoon. After a bite to eat and setting up camp. We will spend the afternoon fly fishing around the lake for the evening hatches. Hike 2.94 miles (+1,206’. Camp at 10,910’)

Day 2: Today is dedicated to fly fishing the four lakes in this basin. Plan on walking 3 to 3.5 miles today with 500’ of gain. Campsite is at same location. Lakes are from 5 to 20 acres in size and depending on the lake have Brook Trout, Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, or Rainbow Trout.

Day 3: We descend the drainage south for about 2.85 miles and 1279’. From there we ascend a plateau and head west to our camping location situated by 2 small lakes. Hike 6.05 miles (+1210’. Campsite is at 11, 072’). Plan on departing camp around 9:30 and arriving at camp around 3:30 pm. We will spend the evening fly fishing the two lakes around camp.

Day 4: In the am, we leave camp and travel through a valley and then ascend to camp. Depending on conditions, we might fly fish this drainage for the am mid day hatch and then continue to camp. Hike is 3.85 miles (+1279’ and +656’. Campsite is at 10,281’). Plan on departing camp around 9:30am and arriving at camp around 12:30 – 3:30 pm depending on fly fishing during the day. Afternoon fly fishing around camp. These lakes have cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Day 5: We have the option of fly fishing the three lakes around camp or ascending a saddle to the southwest and dropping into other lakes. If we traversed into the other valley, plan on 2.64 miles and 687’ of gain and then 1041’ of loss. If we did the hike and fish then we would have to return to camp in the afternoon, and the 2.64 miles and 1041’ would be have to be retraced. This decision will be based on the groups’ desires. Campsite is at the same location.

Day 6: Hike West onto a large plateau. From here we ascend northwest to a lake.

Hike 4.65 miles (+1279’ and +656’. Campsite is at 10,281’). Plan on departing camp around 9:30am and arriving at camp around 2:30 pm. Spend the afternoon fly fishing. Lake has Cutthroat Trout. Note: We could also make this day 7.1 miles and then camp at another lake to make the last day shorter.

Day 7: Today is a 7.4 mil hike north and then east descending back to our trailhead. Drive back to Boulder. Get back to Boulder/Denver around 7-8 pm.

Note 1: We could do the trip in either direction and that decision would be made depending upon weather.

 Note 2: We would recommend arriving 1 or best 2 days early to acclimate to the altitude. 2 nights early is recommended.

Dates 2018: Mid July – Mid September. Exact Dates are based on the clients schedule.

Group Size:  2 – 8 participants

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Moderate hiking due to altitude, elevation gain, and multi-day nature of the trip with weight on your back.  Elevations will be between 9000’ and 12,000’. All hiking will be on trails with daily mileage between 4-8 miles and as much as 2500’ gain and loss depending upon exact campsites.

Price: Seven-Day Backpacking Trip: $2,195 for two people; $1,975 for three people; $1,755 for four or more people.

Pricing Note: We offer this pricing structure because we guarantee a trip departure date, Regardless of participant #’s, or those wanting private trips.

Optional: Trip cancellation insurance. We have rentals for sleeping bag, pad, and backpacks ($65 per trip).

Included: The services of a professional backpacking and angling guide; Colorado national forest permit and back-country Colorado camping permits; transportation between Boulder and the wilderness trail heads; all food during the backpacking.


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