top of page
  • Writer's pictureIPWA

Wilderness Ranger Recipes

Looking for some great backpacking recipes? Check out the Wilderness Ranger Cookbook (2nd Ed. published 2014), a collection of backcountry recipes by wilderness rangers (staff and volunteers) from across four agencies. Ralph Swain, coauthor & curator of the book, is the U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Program Manager for the Rocky Mountain Region.

Below are two recipes reprinted from the book by former rangers who patrolled in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (eastern and western slope):

Taco Salad

Greig Heid, Aurora, CO

1 15-ounce can chili con carne

3 ounces mild or hot sauce

1 or 2 handfuls of tortilla chips

1/2 tomato

1/2 small onion

1/4 head of lettuce

2-3 ounces grated cheddar cheese

Heat up the chili and salsa in a saucepan. Pour over a plate of crushed tortilla chips (easily prepared by putting bag at the bottom of your backpack). Dice up tomatoes, onion and lettuce. Mix with chips and chili. Cover with grated cheese. Let the cheese melt and enjoy.


Hell Canyon Brownies

Margaret Foster, Granby, CO

1/4 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

8-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

6-ounces frozen orange juice

1/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

To prepare (at home): Cream the margarine, sugar and eggs. Add all of the other ingredients. Mix and spread into a shallow, greased 9x9 inch pan. Bake at 325F for 30-35 minutes. Cut into squares and seal in an airtight container to take along on your backcountry trip. These brownies are guaranteed to get up to Hell Canyon and back in a day.


Do you have a favorite backcountry recipe to share? Email them to us at and we may feature them in an upcoming newsletter!


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page