|White River National Forest|
|Location||Colorado, United States|
|Nearest city||Glenwood Springs, CO|
|Area||2,285,970 acres (9,251.0 km2)|
|Established||June 28, 1902|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
|Website||White River National Forest|
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.
The forest contains 2,285,970 acres (3,571.8 sq mi, or 9,250.99 km²). In descending order of land area it is located in parts of Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, Summit, Rio Blanco, Mesa, Gunnison, Routt, and Moffat counties.
The White River national forest provides significant habitat for deer, elk, mountain sheep, mountain goat, bear, mountain lion, bobcat, lynx, moose, raptors, waterfowl, trout and many other species of wildlife.
The forest contains 1,900 mi. (3,058 km) of forest system roads, 2,500 mi (4,023 km) of trails, and the Dillon, Green Mountain, Ruedi, and Homestake reservoirs.
The forest is managed from Forest Service offices in Glenwood Springs. There are local ranger district offices in Aspen, Carbondale, Eagle, Meeker, Minturn, Rifle, and Silverthorne.
The Dillon Ranger district, run out of Silverthorne, was transferred from the Arapahoe National Forest to the White River National Forest in 1998.
There are eight officially designated wilderness areas lying within White River National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Five of them extend into neighboring National Forests (as indicated).
The following ski areas are located inside the forest:
There are ten peaks with an elevation higher than 14,000 ft (4,267m), colloquially known as 14ers in the forest:
The following two peaks are often included in lists of the Colorado fourteeners, but do not pass the 300 ft. topographic prominence metric commonly used by U.S. Mountaineers:
Gunnison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,324. The county seat is Gunnison. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.
Castle Peak is the ninth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,279-foot (4352.2 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Elk Mountains and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The peak is located 11.6 miles (18.7 km) northeast by north of the Town of Crested Butte, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating Gunnison National Forest and Gunnison County from White River National Forest and Pitkin County. The summit of Castle Peak is the highest point of both counties.
The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.
Capitol Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is the 52nd highest mountain in North America. The 14,137-foot (4,309 m) fourteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 8.7 miles (14.0 km) east by south of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Mount Sopris is a twin-summit mountain in the northwestern Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 12,965-foot (3,952 m) mountain is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 6.6 miles (10.7 km) north by northeast of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Snowmass Mountain is a fourteen thousand foot tall mountain in the U.S. state of Colorado, and is the thirty-fourth highest mountain peak in the state. Located in the Elk Mountains, within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest, it lies along the border between the Pitkin and Gunnison counties, west of Aspen and southwest of the town of Snowmass Village.
Aspen Mountain is a mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 10,705-foot (3,263 m) peak is located in White River National Forest, 1.4 miles (2.2 km) south-southeast of downtown Aspen in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States. The north face of the mountain is the location of the Aspen Mountain ski area, one of four adjacent ski areas operated collectively as Aspen/Snowmass.
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 (7,004 km2) is denoted as ARP by the Forest Service. Separately, Arapaho National Forest consists of 723,744 acres (2,929 km2).
The Roaring Fork Valley is a geographical region in western Colorado in the United States. The Roaring Fork Valley is one of the most affluent regions in Colorado and the U.S. as well as one of the most populous and economically vital areas of the Colorado Western Slope. The Valley is defined by the valley of the Roaring Fork River and its tributaries, including the Crystal and Fryingpan River. It includes the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork River serve as symbols of the Roaring Fork Valley.
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 Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about half a kilometer. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet (4317 m), is the 27th highest peak in Colorado. North Maroon Peak, at 14,019 feet (4273 m), is the 50th highest. The view of the Maroon Bells to the southwest from the Maroon Creek valley is very heavily photographed. The peaks are located in the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was one of five areas in Colorado designated as wilderness in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness area surrounds the extremely popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is a major access point for Wilderness travel.
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.
Crystal is a ghost town on the upper Crystal River in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. It is located in the Elk Mountains along a four-wheel-drive road 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Marble and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Crested Butte. Crystal was a mining camp established in 1881 and after several decades of robust existence, was all but abandoned by 1917. Many buildings still stand in Crystal, but its few residents live there only in the summer.
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.
Snowmass Peak in the U.S. state of Colorado dominates the view from Snowmass Lake. It is often mistaken for Snowmass Mountain, the thirty-fourth highest mountain peak in the state, as well as for Hagerman Peak. Snowmass Peak is not really a peak but the lower end of Hagerman Peak's east ridge. Natural forced perspective causes the optical illusion that Snowmass Peak is higher than Hagerman Peak though it is actually 221 ft shorter than Hagerman's summit. This illusion combined with its striking rise behind Snowmass Lake justifies it being a named point on USGS topographical maps. It is located in the Elk Mountains, within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of the White River National Forest. It lies along the border between Pitkin and Gunnison counties, west of Aspen and southwest of the town of Snowmass Village.
The Flat Tops is a mountain range located in Colorado within the Routt and White River National Forests. Much of the range is within the boundary of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. While there are notable peaks in the Flat Tops, the dominant feature of the range is the high plateau from which the peaks arise. The plateau forms the northeastern portion of the White River Uplift capped by horizontal basalt flows from tertiary volcanic activity and is bounded by steep drops to valleys carved out by subsequent glaciation. The resulting mix of areas of treeless plateau at an elevation of 11,000 to 12,000 feet interspersed with verdant valleys is unique among Colorado mountain ranges. The area contains approximately one hundred and ten ponds and lakes and is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including many large mammals such as moose, elk, mule deer, black bear, and cougars. This area has been affected by the non-native plant species, yellow toadflax. The most common trees are Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir and lodgepole pine, with aspen groves at lower elevations. The top of the plateau is alpine tundra.
The Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the Elk Mountains of central Colorado. The 181,535-acre (734.65 km2) wilderness was established in 1980 in the Gunnison and White River national forests. Within its boundaries are 100 miles (160 km) of trails, 6 of Colorado's fourteeners and 9 passes over 12,000 feet (3,700 m). The wilderness is named after the two peaks known as the Maroon Bells as well as Snowmass Mountain.
Cathedral Peak is a high mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,950-foot (4,252 m) thirteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 11.1 miles (17.9 km) south by west of the City of Aspen in Piktin County, Colorado, United States.
"White River has 70 Streams and 110 lakes for fish," June 10, 1937. (Colorado Historic Collection) Aspen Daily Times. "Recreation in the Forest ." March 1, 1945 (Colorado Historic Collection)
Axelton, John . Big Game Hunters Guide to Colorado. second ed. : Wilderness Adventures Press, 2008. (Google Books)
Forest Plan Focus, White River National Forest, August 1997. S.l.: s.n., 1997. (Google Books) Graves, Henry S.. Vacation days in Colorado's national forests. Washington: G.P.O., 1919.(Google Books)
N.p., n.d. Web. <www.nps.gov2Fthro2Fhistoryculture2Ftheodore-roosevelt-quotes.htm>.