|San Isabel National Forest|
|Location||Colorado, United States|
|Nearest city||Pueblo, CO|
|Area||1,120,233 acres (4,533.42 km2)|
|Established||April 11, 1902|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
|Website||Pike and San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands|
San Isabel National Forest is located in central Colorado. The forest contains 19 of the state's 53 fourteeners, peaks over 14,000 feet (4,267 m) high, including Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado.
Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.
Mount Elbert is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado and the entire Mississippi River drainage basin. The ultra-prominent 14,440-foot (4401.2 m) fourteener is the highest peak in the Sawatch Range and the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States after Mount Whitney. Mount Elbert is located in San Isabel National Forest, 12.1 miles (19.4 km) southwest of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado.
It is one of eleven national forests in the state of Colorado and contains the Sawatch Range, the Collegiate Peaks, and Sangre de Cristo Range. It has a total area of 1,120,233 acres (1,750.36 sq mi, or 4,533.42 km²) spread out over parts of eleven counties in central Colorado. In descending order of land area it is located in Chaffee, Custer, Lake, Huerfano, Fremont, Pueblo, Saguache, Las Animas, Park, Costilla, and Summit counties.
The Sawatch Range is a high and extensive mountain range in central Colorado which includes eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation, the highest peak in the Rockies.
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km2) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties.
The Sangre de Cristo Range, called the East Range locally in the San Luis Valley, is a high, rugged and narrow mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado in the United States, running north and south along the east side of the Rio Grande Rift. The mountains extend southeast from Poncha Pass for about 75 mi (121 km) through south-central Colorado to La Veta Pass, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of Walsenburg, and form a high ridge separating the San Luis Valley on the west from the watershed of the Arkansas River on the east. The Sangre de Cristo Range rises over 7,000 ft (2,100 m) above the valleys and plains to the west and northeast.
San Isabel National Forest is co-managed by the Forest Service together with Pike National Forest, Cimarron National Grassland, and Comanche National Grassland from offices in Pueblo. There are local ranger district offices located in Cañon City, Leadville, and Salida.
The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres (780,000 km2). Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, Business Operations, and the Research and Development branch. Managing approximately 25% of federal lands, it is the only major national land agency that is outside the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Pike National Forest is located in the Front Range of Colorado, United States, west of Colorado Springs including Pikes Peak. The forest encompasses 1,106,604 acres (4,478 km²) within Clear Creek, Teller, Park, Jefferson, Douglas and El Paso counties. The major rivers draining the forest are the South Platte and Fountain Creek. Rampart Reservoir, a large artificial body of water, is located within the forest.
Cimarron National Grassland is a National Grassland located in Morton County, Kansas, United States, with a very small part extending eastward into Stevens County. Cimarron National Grassland is located near Comanche National Grassland which is across the border in Colorado. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service together with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Comanche National Grassland, from common headquarters located in Pueblo, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Elkhart, Kansas. The grassland is the largest area of public land in the state of Kansas.
There are seven officially designated wilderness areas lying within San Isabel National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Four of them extend into neighboring National Forests, and of these, one also onto land under management of the National Park Service. Another one extends onto land of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (as indicated).
A wilderness area is a region where the land is in a natural state; where impacts from human activities are minimal—that is, as a wilderness. It might also be called a wild or natural area. Especially in wealthier, industrialized nations, it has a specific legal meaning as well: as land where development is prohibited by law. Many nations have designated Wilderness Areas, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness areas are managed by four federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The term "wilderness" is defined as "an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions." As of 2019, there are 803 designated wilderness areas, totaling 111,368,221 acres (45,069,120 ha), or about 4.5% of the area of the United States.
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.
The Buffalo Peaks Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in San Isabel and Pike National Forests in central Colorado. The 43,410-acre (175.7 km2) wilderness was named after two highly eroded volcanic mountains, East Buffalo Peak and West Buffalo Peak, in the Mosquito Range and was established in 1993. The wilderness contains Colorado's largest herd of bighorn sheep.
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.
White River National Forest is a National Forest in northwest Colorado. It is named after the White River that passes through its northern section. It is the most visited National Forest in the United States, primarily from users of the twelve ski areas within its boundaries.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is an American national park that conserves an area of large sand dunes up to 750 feet (229 m) tall on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, and an adjacent national preserve located in the Sangre de Cristo Range, in south-central Colorado, United States. The park was originally designated Great Sand Dunes National Monument on March 17, 1932 by President Herbert Hoover. The original boundaries protected an area of 35,528 acres. A boundary change and redesignation as a national park and preserve was authorized on November 22, 2000 and then established by an act of Congress on September 24, 2004. The park encompasses 107,342 acres while the preserve protects an additional 41,686 acres for a total of 149,028 acres. The recreational visitor total was 442,905 in 2018.
Mount Columbia is a high mountain summit of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,077-foot (4,291 m) fourteener is located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.9 miles (16.0 km) northwest by west of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was named in honor of Columbia University in the City of New York and in commemoration of its rowing victory at the renowned Henley Royal Regatta in 1878.
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over thirteen thousand feet.
Arapaho National Forest is a National Forest located in north-central Colorado, United States. The facility is managed jointly with the Roosevelt National Forest and the Pawnee National Grassland from the United States Forest Service office in Fort Collins, Colorado. It has a wildlife refuge which manages a protection for all birds and mammals. The combined facility of 1,730,603 acres is denoted as ARP by the Forest Service. Separately, Arapaho National Forest consists of 723,744 acres.
The Roosevelt National Forest is a National Forest located in north central Colorado. It is contiguous with the Colorado State Forest as well as the Arapaho National Forest and the Routt National Forest. The forest is administered jointly with the Arapaho National Forest and the Pawnee National Grassland from offices in Fort Collins, and is denoted by the United States Forest Service as ARP.
Comanche National Grassland is a National Grassland located in southeastern Colorado, United States. It is the sister grassland of Cimarron National Grassland and contains both prairie grasslands and canyons. It is separated into two sections, each operated by a local ranger district, one of which is in Springfield and the other of which is in La Junta. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service together with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, and the Cimarron National Grassland, from common headquarters located in Pueblo, Colorado.
The Spanish Peaks Wilderness is a 19,226 acres (77.80 km2) wilderness area in Huerfano County and Las Animas County, Colorado, United States, located 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Walsenburg. All of the wilderness area is located within San Isabel National Forest, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Humboldt Peak is a high mountain summit of the Crestones in the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,070-foot (4,289 m) fourteener is located in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 11.9 miles (19.2 km) south-southwest of the Town of Westcliffe in Custer County, Colorado, United States. The Crestones are a cluster of high summits in the Sangre de Cristo Range, comprising Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, Kit Carson Peak, Challenger Point, Humboldt Peak, and Columbia Point.
Greenhorn Mountain is the highest summit of the Wet Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 12,352-foot (3,765 m) peak is located in the Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 5.2 miles (8.4 km) southwest by west of the Town of Rye, Colorado, United States, on the boundary between Huerfano and Pueblo counties. The summit of Greenhorn Mountain is the highest point in Pueblo County, Colorado. The peak's summit rises above timberline, which is about 11,500 feet (3,500 m) in south-central Colorado.
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 located in Monte Vista, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache.
The Mount Massive Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sawatch Range, located in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is operated jointly by the United States Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the San Isabel National Forest and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. It is 30,540 acres (123.6 km2) in size, with 27,980 acres (113.2 km2) in San Isabel National Forest and 2,560 acres (10.4 km2) in Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and it was designated by the US Congress in 1980. The name comes from Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado, located inside the wilderness. Elevations in the wilderness range from 9,700 feet (3,000 m) to 14,421 feet (4,396 m). It is the only federally designated wilderness area within the National Fish Hatchery System.
Devil's Head Lookout is a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout tower at the summit of Devils Head in Douglas County, Colorado. Located on a large pinnacle of Pikes Peak granite, the fire lookout point lies within the Pike National Forest and is accessed by hiking the Devils Head National Recreation Trail.
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.
The Manitou Park Recreation Area is a recreation area in the Pike National Forest, located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) north of Woodland Park along Colorado State Highway 67 in Teller County, Colorado. The recreation area includes several campgrounds and a picnic area, the Manitou Lake Picnic Area.