Trailhead Host & Monitor 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!

Trail Head Host 2017 Volunteer Danny Smi

IPWA volunteer Danny Smith

2017 Trailhead Host at East Portal Trailhead


IPWA volunteers Bette Erickson and Carol Marsh

2016 Trailhead Host Day at the 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. 

2019 Trailhead Host Program

This year we will hold our Traditional Trailhead Host program on the following dates at the following locations:

  • Saturday June 29 - Hessie Trailhead - 7am to 1pm

  • Saturday July 20 - East Portal Trailhead - 7am to 1pm

  • Saturday August 24 - Hessie Trailhead - 7am to 1pm

  • Saturday September 21 - East Portal Trailhead - 7am to 1pm

As we did last year, we will have a tent, a table, chairs, signage, water, and handouts provided. All you have to do is show up! We will have two 3-hour shifts (4 slots per day). Sign-up information will be sent out at a later date. 

2019 Pilot Individual Trailhead Monitor Program


This year we are also going to Pilot a different type of Trailhead Host program, one that other Wilderness groups have enacted with success. Similar to a routine hike in terms of the method you now use to sign up, execute and report the hike we are now going to encourage Individual ( or with another volunteer) Trail Head Hosting.


You pick the trail (except any trails at Brainard Lake which are excluded from this Pilot program), the time and date and then go up on your own to the trailhead for the number of hours you choose. The idea is to get more IPWA trailhead exposure, allow Volunteers to pick and choose locations, dates and times, and to provide a new volunteer opportunity for those Volunteers that want to be active but for whatever reason aren't up for a hike that day. You provide your own chair (optional), water and coverage from the sun.


To help facilitate, we will provide a small box of maps, leashes, signage, etc. that you can take with you in order to facilitate the "Individual" hosting event. There will also be a small folding table you can use to set-up a display. We will have two sets  of these boxes and tables (thus allowing up to 2 Individual Trailhead Host events per day) located at the Forest Service building site in Boulder. You can check them out and take with you for the day. The boxes and folding tables are small, lightweight and easily transportable and carried. More details on this Pilot program will be given at the Training session on June 8.


Tim Bickmore has volunteered to coordinate the Trailhead Host & Monitor Programs this year. Feel free to contact him via email at or phone 303-887-0056 if you have any questions or ideas you would like to discuss.

"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 once again expanded the Trailhead Host Days 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.