Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests
The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests extend from north central Colorado to central Wyoming.
These forests encompass portions of many mountain ranges including the Gore Range, Flat Tops, Parks Range, Medicine Bow Mountains, Sierra Madre, and Laramie Range.
The Forests provide year-round recreation opportunities for thousands of people. They also provide wildlife habitat, natural resources, timber, forage for livestock, and are a vital source of water for irrigation, domestic use, and industry.
The topography varies greatly within the Forests due to the large geographic area encompassed. Elevations range from 5,500 feet to 12,940 feet. The climate of the Forests ranges from semi-arid at low elevations to cold and humid in the high country. Frost may occur at any time, and visitors to the higher elevations should be prepared for harsh weather, including snow and high winds, even during the summer months.
The Thunder Basin National Grassland is located in northeastern Wyoming in the Powder River Basin between the Big Horn Mountains and the Black Hills. The Grassland ranges in elevation from 3,600 feet to 5,200 feet and the climate is semi-arid. The Grassland provides unique opportunities for recreation, including hiking, sightseeing, hunting, and fishing. There are no developed campgrounds; however, camping is allowed.
The Grassland abounds with wildlife year-round, provides forage for livestock, and is underlain with vast mineral resources. Land patterns are very complex because of the intermingled federal, state, and private lands. The Douglas Ranger District administers the Grassland.
There are 10 designated Wilderness Areas on the Forests, approximately 1360 developed sites, 2 ski areas (the Steamboat Springs Ski Area has worldwide acclaim), 162 recreational homes with Forest Service permits, and eight mountain lakes with developed boating facilities. There are also miles and miles of hiking trails.
On the combined Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, downhill skiing and general winter sports are the most popular activities, followed by mechanized travel (including driving, OHV, boating, and bicycling), camping and developed site uses, hunting, whitewater rafting and fishing.