Trailhead Host Program

Each summer, the IPWA holds 3-4 Trailhead Host Days where volunteers host an informational booth at popular trailheads into the Indian Peaks or James Peak Wilderness areas. 

This program provides an opportunity for volunteers to greet visitors at the start of their hikes and provide them information on hiking routes, wilderness regulations and best practices, and to answer any questions they might have. During a single day at the trailhead, we've seen over 500 people hitting the trails!


IPWA volunteers Bette Erickson and Carol Marsh

2016 Trailhead Host Day at the East Portal Trailhead

Trail Head Host 2017 Volunteer Danny Smi

IPWA volunteer Danny Smith

2017 Trailhead Host at East Portal Trailhead



Trailhead hosts must have at least one year of experience as a summer patrol volunteer, and preferably hiking experience at the trailhead they will be hosting. Volunteers who are interested, should email

"The Trailhead Host program allows all visitors, hikers, to see us as they set off.  We try to greet everyone and offer help or advice. It is also a chance to spend time with fellow volunteers." 


IPWA Volunteer Zdenka Smith

Past Trailhead Host Events:

The IPWA began the program in 2016 and sponsored two Trailhead Host Days on July 17th and September 11th, both at the East Portal/Moffat tunnel area of the James Peaks Wilderness. The September 11th event included a special event where IPWA volunteers lead a hike with students from the University of Colorado's Baker Residence Academic Program.


In 2017, the IPWA expanded the Trailhead Host program by holding three events at the East Portal/Moffat Tunnel trailhead. Everyone was very appreciative of our time and we received numerous 'thank yous' from members of the public.

In 2018, the IPWA expanded the Trailhead Host Days further to hold four events including one day at Hessie Trailhead on August 26th and three days at the East Portal/Moffat tunnel on July 7th, August 11th and September 15th.  On August 11th, record numbers of visitors were recorded (over 500 hikers and 100 backpackers), many camping out to see the Perseid Meteor Shower away from the light pollution of the city. 

In 2019, the IPWA held four traditional trailhead host days at Hessie Trailhead on June 9th and August 24th, and at East Portal Trailhead on July 20th and September 21st. As in previous years, we had a tent, table, chairs, signage, water, and handouts to provide. The IPWA also piloted an individual trailhead host program, where volunteers could pick up a small box of maps, leashes, signage, etc. to take with them to the trailhead. 

The trailhead host program was paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.