Mount Zirkel is located in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness of Routt National Forest in northwestern Colorado. The nearest city is Steamboat Springs, Colorado, between Jackson and Routt counties. The peak with the prominence of 12,185 ft (3,714 m) is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The mountain got its name from the German geologist Ferdinand Zirkel.
The scenic and isolated Mount Zirkel Wilderness occupies 160,000 acres (64,750 hectares) of area. It features over 70 lakes as well as Elk, Encampment and North Platte Rivers. The area offers many campgrounds for backpackers, for example, Teal Lake Campgrounds, Big Creek Lakes, Seedhouse, and Summit Lake Campground.
The Mount Zirkel Wilderness is popular with fishers as there are numerous water reservoirs with different types of fish species including Greenbrook trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and more. The license is required for fishing in the wilderness. In the winter, cross-country trails attract visitors to the area. Wildlife includes elk and mule deer.
You can do a 10-mi (16-km) Mount Zirkel Loop Trail (Zirkel Circle or Gilpin Lake Loop). The trailhead is located at the Slovania Parking area, near Clark. The months of mid-July through September are perfect for hiking the area.