Rio Grande National Forest

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Rio Grande National Forest
Stony Pass road (better), Colo.jpg
Stony Pass jeep road, east of Silverton, Colorado. Spectacular scenery along this old wagon road over Stony Pass (12,588 feet), at the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness
Rio Grande National Forest locator map.svg
Location Colorado, United States
Nearest city Alamosa, CO
Coordinates 37°44′24″N106°50′07″W / 37.74°N 106.8352°W / 37.74; -106.8352 Coordinates: 37°44′24″N106°50′07″W / 37.74°N 106.8352°W / 37.74; -106.8352
Area1,860,000 acres (7,500 km2)
EstablishedJuly 1, 1908
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
Website Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest is a 1.86 million-acre (7,530 km²) [1] 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 rises in the forest, and the Continental Divide runs along most of its western border. [1] 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. [2] There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache. [3]


Wilderness areas

Mountains in Rio Grande National Forest in September 2013 Rio Grande National Forest September 2013.JPG
Mountains in Rio Grande National Forest in September 2013
The Continental Divide of the Americas separates the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan National Forest GreatDivideNationalForests.JPG
The Continental Divide of the Americas separates the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan National Forest

There are four officially designated wilderness areas lying within Rio Grande National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. All of them extend partially into neighboring National Forests, and one of these also onto National Park Service land (as indicated).


Climate data for Platoro Dam Weather Station (Elevation 9,860ft)
Record high °F (°C)52
Average high °F (°C)31.3
Average low °F (°C)−7.0
Record low °F (°C)−38
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.30
Average snowfall inches (cm)27.8
Source: [4]

See also

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  1. 1 2 USDA Forest Service, Rio Grande National Forest
  2. Rio Grande National Forest announces plans for new headquarters in Del Norte
  3. USFS Ranger Districts by State
  4. "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. March 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2013.