The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km sq) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties.
The Collegiate Peaks area includes much of the Sawatch Range and has the highest average elevation of any wilderness area in the United States. Five of the area's 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks are named for famous universities and colleges, including Mt. Harvard, Mt. Oxford, Mt. Yale, Mt. Princeton and Mt. Columbia. These peaks are the source of the name for the wilderness area. Other fourteeners in the area include La Plata Peak, Mount Belford, Huron Peak, and Missouri Mountain.
The Collegiate Peaks also includes several notable 13,000-foot (4,000 m) peaks including the Three Apostles, a chain of three mountains about six miles (10 km) south of the ghost town of Winfield. The middle peak of the Three Apostles is also referred to as Ice Mountain and is generally recognized as one of the most difficult peaks to climb in the Sawatch Range. Notably, the Collegiate Peaks also has two peaks named Grizzly Peak one is south of Independence Pass at 13,988, and the other is north of Taylor Reservoir on the Continental Divide at 13,281.