La Garita Wilderness

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La Garita Wilderness
View of the La Garita Wilderness area from the parking lot at the terminus of Forest Road 787
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Location Hinsdale / Saguache / Mineral counties, Colorado, United States
Nearest city Monte Vista, CO
Coordinates 38°00′N106°53′W / 38.000°N 106.883°W / 38.000; -106.883 Coordinates: 38°00′N106°53′W / 38.000°N 106.883°W / 38.000; -106.883 [1]
Area129,626 acres (524.58 km2)
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The La Garita Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the La Garita Mountains of southern Colorado. The 129,626-acre (524.58 km2) wilderness established in 1964 in Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests includes segments of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. At 14,014 feet (4,271 m), San Luis Peak is the highest point in the wilderness area. [2] [3] [4]

One entrance to the wilderness area is via Forest Road 787 from Saguache Park and Cochetopa Park off State Highway 114 west of Saguache, Colorado. There is a parking lot for visitors to the wilderness area at the south end of FS 787. Cochetopa Park may also be entered from the east over Cochetopa Pass via Saguache County Road NN14.

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Saguache County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

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Mineral County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Mineral County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 712, making it the second-least populous county in Colorado, behind San Juan County. The county seat and only incorporated municipality in the county is Creede. The county was named for the many valuable minerals found in the mountains and streams of the area.

Hinsdale County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Hinsdale County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 843, making it the third-least populous county in Colorado. With a population density of only 0.75 inhabitants per square mile (0.29/km2), it is also the least-densely populated county in Colorado. The county seat and only incorporated municipality in the county is Lake City. The county is named for George A. Hinsdale, a prominent pioneer and former Lieut. Governor of Colorado Territory.

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Saguache, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

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Powderhorn Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

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Gunnison National Forest

The Gunnison National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 1,672,136 acres in Mesa, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Saguache Counties in Western part of the U.S. state of Colorado. It borders the White River National Forest to the north, the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests to the west, the San Isabel National Forest to the east and the Rio Grande National Forest to south. It lies in parts of five counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Gunnison, Saguache, Hinsdale, Delta, and Montrose counties.

San Luis Peak

San Luis Peak is the highest summit of the La Garita Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,022-foot (4273.8 m) fourteener is located in the Gunnison National Forest portion of the La Garita Wilderness in Saguache County approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Creede. It is situated rather far to the east of the other fourteeners in the San Juans, and has more of a wilderness setting than many of the others.

Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest is a 1.86 million-acre (7,530 km²) U.S. National Forest located in southwestern Colorado. The forest encompasses the San Luis Valley, which is the world's largest agricultural alpine valley, as well as one of the world's largest high deserts located around mountains. The Rio Grande river rises in the forest, and the Continental Divide runs along most of its western border. The forest lies in parts of nine counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Saguache, Mineral, Conejos, Rio Grande, Hinsdale, San Juan, Alamosa, Archuleta, and Custer counties. Forest headquarters are currently located in Monte Vista, Colorado, but plan to move to Del Norte. There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache.

Wheeler Geologic Area

The Wheeler Geologic Area is a highly eroded outcropping of layers of volcanic ash, in the La Garita Mountains of Mineral County, in southern Colorado in the western United States about 10 miles east north-east of Creede. The ash is the result of eruptions from the La Garita Caldera approximately 25 million years ago.

Sangre de Cristo Wilderness

The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness is a long and narrow wilderness area covering 220,803 acres (893.56 km2) of the Sangre de Cristo Range centered about Saguache and Custer counties, Colorado. Smaller areas are located in Fremont, Alamosa, and Huerfano counties. All of the wilderness area is located on U.S. Forest Service land within the San Isabel and Rio Grande National Forests and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The wilderness area is home to several fourteeners and quite a few thirteeners. Crestone Needle is considered the most difficult.

Cochetopa Pass Mountain pass in Colorado, US

Cochetopa Pass is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado. It lies on the Continental Divide between the city of Gunnison to the northwest and the town of Saguache to the southeast. It also lies on the boundary between the Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests. Its name is taken from the Cochetopa Hills that it lies within, Cochetopa being the Ute Indian word for "pass of the buffalo". The original pass is traversed by Saguache County Road NN14, a maintained gravel road. Another crossing, sometimes called North Cochetopa Pass and more often simply North Pass, is located nearby on State Highway 114, which is paved and reaches a slightly higher elevation.

Colorado State Highway 114

State Highway 114 (SH 114) is a 61.7 mi (99.3 km) long state highway in southern central Colorado. SH 114's western terminus is at U.S. Route 50 (US 50) east of Gunnison, and the eastern terminus is at US 285 in Saguache.

La Garita Mountains

The La Garita Mountains are a high mountain range in the San Juan Mountains, a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are located in Saguache and Mineral counties in southwestern Colorado and are almost entirely managed as public land within the Gunnison National Forest and the Rio Grande National Forest.

Cochetopa Hills

The Cochetopa Hills are a ridge of uplands on the Continental Divide in Saguache County, southern Colorado, United States.

Cochetopa Creek

Cochetopa Creek is a stream in Saguache and Gunnison counties in Colorado, United States. It rises on San Luis Peak in the La Garita Mountains. It merges with Tomichi Creek near the town of Parlin, Colorado, along Highway 50.

Cochetopa Dome Mountain in Colorado, United States

Cochetopa Dome is a mountain in the San Juan Mountains, in Saguache County, Colorado. The 11,138 ft (3,395 m) mountain is located in the Gunnison National Forest. With a prominance of 1,752 feet (534 m), Cochetopa Dome is the 110th most prominent summit in the state of Colorado.


  1. "La Garita Wilderness". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  2. "La Garita Wilderness". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  3. "La Garita Wilderness". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  4. Warren, Scott S. (2002). Exploring Colorado's Wild Areas: A Guide for Hikers, Backpackers, Climbers, X-C Skiers, and Paddlers (2nd ed.). Seattle, Washington: The Mountaineers. ISBN   0898867843.