Pike, San Isabel

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) areas are perhaps the most diverse of all National Forests. The Cimarron is located in Kansas and the others are in Colorado.

These diverse Forests and Grasslands range from the short grass prairies of the eastern grasslands to the alpine tundra of the northern districts, and all of the variety in between.

This Forest complex celebrates a wealth of significant experiences from historic cabin rentals to the birthplace of developed recreation on the San Carlos Ranger District. The Comanche Ranger District lays claim to the internationally-known dinosaur trackway at Pickewire Canyon. And on the South Platte Ranger District, you'll find the historic Devil's Head Lookout Tower.

There are six Ranger Districts: Leadville, Pikes Peak, Salida , San Carlos, South Park, South Platte. Check out the site for the District you plan to visit for more information.

There are nine Wilderness Areas, numerous Scenic Byways and a full spectrum of recreational and camping opportunities. There are Off-Highway Vehicle trails on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Cimarron National Grassland.

The Comanche and Cimarron Grasslands provide access to some remote backcountry that promises interesting geological, historical and cultural sites. Reminders of ancient life that existed in the area, both reptilian and Homo sapiens, pervade the grassland. Solitude is guaranteed in most areas of the grasslands.

Several areas of the grasslands are open for various recreational uses. Hiking, mountain biking, educational activities, viewing historical sites, scenic driving, horseback riding and picnicking are among the recreation opportunities to be enjoyed in the region.

The Pike National Forest offers sightseeing, hiking, lake fishing, boating, picnicking and cross-country skiing at the 500-acre Rampart Reservoir.

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests contain all or parts of nine Wilderness areas, each with its own character and opportunities. There are five Wilderness areas in the San Isabel National Forest: Buffalo Peaks, Collegiate Peaks, Holy Cross, Mount Massive, and the Sangre de Cristo.

The north end of Pike National Forest is marked by Mount Evans (14,264 feet elevation) and is surrounded by the 73,000 acre Mount Evans Wilderness. Mount Bierstadt, another of Colorado's "fourteeners" at 14,060 ft. elevation is also located in the Mount Evans Wilderness. The Pike National Forest also contains the Lost Creek Wilderness.

For the winter sports enthusiasts, the San Isabel Forest has four ski areas: Monarch, Cooper Hill, Conquistador, and Cuchara Valley. Cross country skiing is popular in many undeveloped areas.

Map:


Pike, San Isabel statistics

State(s):
Colorado, Kansas

Nearest large Urban Area:
Denver, Albuquerque

Notes & Conditions:
Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Permits, passes, fees:
Maps:
Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.

First-timer's adventure:
Hike up to the Devil's Head Lookout Tower. The trail to the tower is 1.4 miles and has an elevation gain of 940 feet. Hiking time up to the tower is from 45-90 minutes, depending on your pace.

There are several rest stops with benches and tables along the trail for your comfort. When you reach the base of the tower, you are welcome to climb the steps up to the actual fire lookout room.

The trailhead begins at the Devil's Head campground. There is a parking lot where you can leave your car and begin the hike.

Contact Info:
2840 Kachina Drive Pueblo, CO 81008
719-553-1400

Telephone for the Hearing Impaired: 719-553-1404

Forest Service website >>

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