You'll find that any areas in the Rockies, or out here in the Cascades or Sierra, area strict about campfires. They are usually forbidden near or above timberline where the wood supply is scarce or nonexistent and where scars can take a lifetime to heal. They are also forbidden at any altitude in times of high fire danger, which often happens in late summer. I suggest you bring a stove (either buy a canister stove or make your own alcohol stove) for cooking and consider a campfire a luxury to be used only when appropriate--at lower altitudes in pre-existing fire rings and where there is plenty of dead and down wood available. All wilderness areas have rules about party size and about camping so many hundred feet away from trails and water sources. (Note that each wilderness area may have different rules.) They all require that you dig catholes well away from water for potty purposes, that you pack out all your trash and garbage including toilet paper, that you not cut green trees or cut down snags. The purpose of these restrictions is to preserve the wilderness for the next generation of backpackers. If you don't like these restrictions, I suggest you find a place other than the western mountains where the environment is a bit less fragile.

Also, if you're going to the Rockies, give yourselves extra time to acclimatize to the altitude. Either plan very short days, with no more than 1,000 ft. elevation gain per day, for the first 3-4 days, or spend a few days before your trip camping at lower elevations and hiking higher up during the daytime.

For online research, start with the websites for national forests ( and national parks ( Google is your friend.

Edited by OregonMouse (02/10/09 12:45 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey