Located in Lake County in central Colorado, Mosquito Peak is part of the Mosquito mountain range in the Rocky Mountains. It is rumored that the pass here originally got its name when a mosquito landed on the signature box and Judge Wilbur F. Stone felt that this was an apt name for his mining company and the 115th highest peak in Colorado.
With diverse landscapes ranging from high alpine tundra to dense forests and luscious greenery, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Sections of the peaks are classed as an area of critical environmental concern, with the unique geological formations and significant biodiversity providing an ideal habitat for an array of wildlife and flora; including 18 rare plant species. Mosquito Peak forms part of the White River National Forest, which includes over 7,000 acres of BLM- managed land. With Fairplay to the east and Leadville to the west, this is also a destination with an extensive mining history. Fans of the adult animation show might also want to pay a visit to nearby South Park, the town that inspired the show of the same name.
Dispersed camping across Mosquito Peak promises a back-to-basics adventure in untouched Colorado wilderness. There are plenty of beautiful spots to stop and enjoy a picnic, as well as nearby fishing, hiking, mountain climbing and more. Check out our in-depth guide to RV camping at the Mosquito Peak for more information about the wealth of recreational activities on offer, as well as driving conditions, directions, and nearby campgrounds.
Mosquito Peak is located approximately two hours from Denver, and it is around 2.2 miles north of the Mosquito Pass that connects Alma and Leadville. From the south, drive 4.5 miles from 285 Colorado 8. Then, from the town of Park City, continue on the Park County 12 for 2.5 miles before bearing right at the fork in the road, following the road signs.
The Mosquito Pass is open from late July to early September, but it is not passable in the winter months or when there is still snow on the mountains. Remember, the mountain weather can be quite changeable, so we always advise checking the weather forecast and driving conditions when you are planning your trip. Whatever the time of the year, the latter end of the road leading to Mosquito Peaks is only accessible by four-wheel-drive or high clearance vehicles. It should be noted that this is the highest road in America, and it is only recommended for more experienced drivers.
In the winter you need to park at approximately 10, 900 feet but in the summer, it is more likely 11, 520 feet. There are parking areas available at the nearby day-use centers and by some of the nearby attractions. However, parking is limited in some areas of the Peaks, and some hiking may be required.
There is no public transport to the Mosquito Peak area due to its remote location.
There is dispersed camping available throughout the Mosquito Peak area, and we recommend you choose your campsite carefully. This is primitive camping, with no facilities or amenities. Instead, Mosquito Peaks offers the chance to reconnect with nature in a breathtakingly beautiful location that promises solitude and relaxation. It is important to remember that with such a high elevation, your body will need time to get used to the altitude. Moreover, you must also implement the leave no trace principles, which include plan ahead and prepare; camp on durable surfaces; the proper disposal of waste; the importance of leaving behind what you find; being respectful of wildlife; being considerate of visitors; and minimizing the impact of campfires.
Named after local legend Father Dyer, this family-friendly campsite offers lakeside camping at the scenic Lake Turquoise. The location of this campsite makes it the ideal choice for anyone looking to enjoy fun on or in the water, with a boat ramp for easy access. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring with a grill, and firewood is available for purchase. The facilities here are pretty basic, but there are vault toilets, drinking water, and trash collection on-site.
Situated near the base of Sheep Mountain, the Horseshoe Campground offers a scenic camping experience and the chance to get back to nature. This campground is located around eight miles west of Fairplay and it is managed and maintained by the USDA Forest Service. There are 19 sites here, with a maximum trailer and an RV length of 25 feet. This is dry camping only, with no hook-ups, but there are picnic tables, vault toilets, and campfire rings provided. Drinking water is also available on-site and pets are permitted as long as they are on a leash and under control.
This site is ideally situated for those looking to climb the 14ers in the region, and there is also excellent fishing to be had at the nearby Horseshoe Creek.
As previously mentioned, Mosquito Peak is an area that is rich in local history. This makes an ideal base for a vacation where you journey back in time and dive into the spirit of the Wild West. Explore the old ruins at the North London Mine, which are around three miles from the summit of Mosquito Peak, or adventure into the nearby Wild West Towns.
The old mining town of Fairplay is a great choice for anyone looking to prospect some gold, particularly in the middle fork of the Platte River. You will need to obtain a permit beforehand and should always ensure that you are up to date with prospecting laws in the region, and do not collect on private land. Also, remember if you are exploring the mining locations, please ensure you are safe and leave equipment as it is for the next person to enjoy.
There are several alpine lakes located near to Mosquito Peak, with an excellent variety of world-class angling on offer. Turquoise Lake is a popular fishing spot, with the chance to catch cutthroat, rainbow, brown and lake trout. Located just five miles from Leadville, this picturesque lake can be fished from the shore or by boat.
Alternately, Cooney Lake is just 1.8 miles from Mosquito Peak at an elevation of 12, 600 ft. This hidden gem may not be as popular as Turquoise Lake, yet the nutrient-rich water here makes it the perfect habitat for a diverse range of fish species. If you are planning on fishing during your Mosquito Peak stay, ensure you are aware of current catch limits and hold a relevant permit or license.
When the weather outside is frightful, many brave and seasoned snow sports-enthusiasts are speeding down the pistes at the Mosquito range. Big lines and steep chutes dominate the eastern slopes of the Mosquito Peaks with sheer skiing down towards Cooney Lake. As well as excellent backcountry skiing, this area is also a popular choice for snowshoes, snowboarding and snowmobiles.
The North London Mill is a great not-for-profit organization for snow sports in the area, with this long-abandoned centuries-old mining shack providing a base for winter sports in the area.
Although there are no formal hiking trails surrounding Mosquito Peak, the area offers class 2 off-trail hiking, with grassy slopes and some rocky sections. Hiking up to the summit is particularly popular, with such impressive views of the Colorado landscape on offer. On a clear day, you may even get to see the peak of Mt. Elbert, which is the highest mountain in the Rockies.
If you are planning on hiking in the area, it is important to remember that mountain weather can change quite quickly. Ensure you dress appropriately and always let someone know where you are planning on going.
Clamber up to the summit of Mosquito Peak for superb views and panoramic vistas of the valleys below. This peak is often climbed alongside Kuss and Treasurevault as a loop hike. However, there is a vast choice of top climbing options in the area, with single and multiple routes developed throughout this section of the Rockies.
If you are planning on climbing within the region, it is generally easier from the east side of the mountains. This can be accessed by several forest roads from State HWY 9. For those hoping to climb in the winter, you must check the avalanche conditions before you set out. If the danger is reported to be moderate or high, climbing is not recommended.
The Mosquito Pass OHV road is a popular trail for ATV enthusiasts, and it is 16.8 miles long. This is a rocky trail with steep inclines and declines, and best suited to intermediate to skilled drivers. To complete the entire trail system, it should take around two to four hours. OHV riding in the area is only recommended in the summer, with the area being impassable in the winter months. It is also essential to remember that Mosquito Peaks is an area of critical environmental concern and it is imperative you stick to the routes and trails that are already developed.