Find Solitude

San Juan Mountains

With a good pair of boots, a map, and a GPS, it isn't hard to find total solitude and eager trout in the backcountry, and the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado offer some of the best opportunities. How good can it be? Drive 9 miles from the highway on a dirt road, then hike another mile or so, and you'll find a feeder creek to the Dolores River, no more than 12 feet wide, where 12- to 20-inch cutthroat trout slam dry-fly patterns all day during the summer. Or take the Durango-Silverton narrow-gauge railroad over Coal Bank Pass. The engineer will let you out, and you can hike into a chain of lakes and creeks where brookies sip dry flies with regularity. Camp overnight, and you can flag down the next afternoon's train for a ride back to Durango. More info: Duranglers, 888-347-4346; duranglers.com. Telluride Outside, 800-831-6230; tellurideoutside.com

Next Best: Wind River Range, Wyoming Throughout the 110-mile expanse of the rugged Wind River Range are more than 1,000 lakes and streams packed with golden, cutthroat, rainbow, brook, and brown trout. This is serious backcountry fishing, where you hike or pack in on horseback or with a string of llamas. It's possible to catch 50 fish on dry flies in one day here. More info: Lander Llama Co., 800-582-5262; landerllama.com. Bridger Wilderness Outfitters, 888-803-7316; bwo.com