|San Juan National Forest|
|Location||Colorado, United States|
|Nearest city||Durango, CO|
|Area||1,878,846 acres (7,603.42 km2)|
|Established||June 3, 1905|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
|Website||San Juan National Forest|
The San Juan National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering over 1,878,846 acres (2,935.7 sq mi, or 7,603.42 km²) in western Colorado. The forest occupies land in Archuleta, Conejos, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Mineral, Montezuma, Rio Grande, San Miguel and San Juan Counties. It borders the Uncompahgre National Forest to the north and the Rio Grande National Forest to the east. The forest covers most of the southern portion of the San Juan Mountains west of the Continental Divide. The forest contains two alpine wilderness areas; the Weminuche and South San Juan, as well as the Piedra Area. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad passes through the National Forest.
The name of the forest comes from the San Juan River, which was originally called the Rio San Juan, after Saint John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista in Spanish).
Theodore Roosevelt created the forest by proclamation on June 3, 1905. Forest headquarters are located in Durango, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Bayfield, Dolores, and Pagosa Springs.President Barack Obama designated part of the forest as Chimney Rock National Monument by proclamation on September 21, 2012.
There are three officially designated wilderness areas lying within San Juan National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. All of them extend partially into neighboring National Forests (as indicated).
The San Juan Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized and figured in the gold and silver mining industry of early Colorado. Major towns, all old mining camps, include Creede, Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. Large scale mining has ended in the region, although independent prospectors still work claims throughout the range. The last large scale mines were the Sunnyside Mine near Silverton, which operated until late in the 20th century and the Idarado Mine on Red Mountain Pass that closed down in the 1970s. Famous old San Juan mines include the Camp Bird and Smuggler Union mines, both located between Telluride and Ouray.
San Juan County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 699, making it the least populous county in Colorado. The county seat and the only incorporated municipality in the county is Silverton. The county name is the Spanish language name for "Saint John", the name Spanish explorers gave to a river and the mountain range in the area. With a mean elevation of 11,240 feet (3426 meters), San Juan County is the highest county in the 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.
The Tonto National Forest, encompassing 2,873,200 acres, is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. The forest has diverse scenery, with elevations ranging from 1,400 feet in the Sonoran Desert to 7,400 feet in the ponderosa pine forests of the Mogollon Rim. The Tonto National Forest is also the most visited "urban" forest in the United States.
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.
The Lizard Head Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado. It contains 41,309 acres (167.17 km2) and is jointly managed by the Uncompahgre and San Juan National Forests. It is 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the town of Telluride and is named for a prominent rock formation that is said to look like a lizard's head. Lizard Head itself is 13,113 feet (3,997 m) and is a volcanic spire of crumbling rock. Due to the steepness of the cliffs and the poor quality of the rock for fixing ropes, only experienced mountaineers should attempt to summit the spire. Another 37 miles (60 km) of trails in this infrequently visited wilderness, are also strenuous and should be attempted by more advanced backpackers.
The Coconino National Forest is a 1.856-million acre United States National Forest located in northern Arizona in the vicinity of Flagstaff. Originally established in 1898 as the "San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve", the area was designated a U.S. National Forest in 1908 when the San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve was merged with lands from other surrounding forest reserves to create the Coconino National Forest. Today, the Coconino National Forest contains diverse landscapes, including deserts, ponderosa pine forests, flatlands, mesas, alpine tundra, and ancient volcanic peaks. The forest surrounds the towns of Sedona and Flagstaff and borders four other national forests; the Kaibab National Forest to the west and northwest, the Prescott National Forest to the southwest, the Tonto National Forest to the south, and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to the southeast. The forest contains all or parts of ten designated wilderness areas, including the Kachina Peaks Wilderness, which includes the summit of the San Francisco Peaks. The headquarters are in Flagstaff. There are local ranger district offices in Flagstaff, Happy Jack, and Sedona.
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.
Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres in parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.
Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest is the official title to a U.S. Forest Service managed area extending over 2,222,313 acres (8,993.38 km2) in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, United States. What were once three separate areas, Medicine Bow National Forest, Routt National Forest, and Thunder Basin National Grassland were administratively combined in 1995 due to similarity of the resources, proximity to each other and for administrative purposes.
The San Juan Skyway is an All-American Road and a component in the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway System. It forms a 233.0-mile (375.0 km) loop in the southwest part of the U.S. state of Colorado traversing the heart of the San Juan Mountains. It roughly parallels the routes of the narrow gauge railways: Rio Grande Southern ; and the unconnected Ouray and Silverton Branches of the Denver & Rio Grande along US 550 with the Silverton Railroad bridging a part of the gap. Its origin can be traced to the Around the Circle Route promoted by the D&RG.
The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south east of the town of Silverton and about 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Durango. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. The wilderness was named after the Weminuche Indians.
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 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.
Chimney Rock National Monument is a 4,726-acre (1,913 ha) U.S. National Monument in San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado which includes an archaeological site. This area is located in Archuleta County, Colorado, between Durango and Pagosa Springs, and is managed for archaeological protection, public interpretation, and education. The Chimney Rock Archaeological Site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970. U.S. President Barack Obama created Chimney Rock National Monument by proclamation on September 21, 2012 under authority of the Antiquities Act.
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.
Rio Grande Pyramid, elevation 13,827 feet, is a summit in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. The peak is in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan National Forest northeast of Durango.
South River Peak, elevation 13,154 ft (4,009 m), is a summit San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The mountain is in the Weminuche Wilderness of Rio Grande National Forest.
Trout Lake is a lake located in southeast San Miguel County, Colorado, in Uncompahgre National Forest. Trout Lake is a 15-minute drive from Ophir via Colorado State Highway 145 and a 30-minute drive from Telluride.