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White River National Forest

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is one of the largest and most scenic sections of the National Forest System.

Home to world-renowned ski resorts and the birthplace of designated Wilderness Areas, the White River National Forest has something to offer every outdoor enthusiast.

With 10 peaks over 14,000 feet, and eight Wilderness Areas encompassing more than 750,000 acres, the Forest is world-reknowned for its scenery.

There are eight Wilderness areas in Colorado which are managed by the White River National Forest: Collegiate Peaks, Eagles Nest, Flat Tops, Holy Cross, Hunter-Frying Pan,Ptarmigan Peak, Maroon Bells-Snowmass, and Raggeds.

With eight "fourteeners" (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness probably possesses the highest average elevation of any Wilderness in the Lower 48.

Hundreds of miles of trails are available to to hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. Off-Highway Vehicle users will find many opportunities for off-road enjoyment in the White River National Forest.

The Forest has many developed facilities including family and group campgrounds and picnic areas.

There are seven Ranger Districts: Aspen/Sopris, Blanco, Dillon, Eagle/Holy Cross, andRifle. Each Ranger District offers an extensive listing of recreation activities within its District, so make sure you visit the links above to learn more!

The Rifle Ranger District is rich with cultural history and amazing outdoor recreational opportunities. The first human use probably occurred from 5,000 to 10, 000 years ago. The Ute Indians were the last Native American tribe to inhabit the area. Signs of the early uses of the land by European settlers can still be seen in abandoned mines, wagon roads, and cabins.

The Dillon Ranger District is home to 25 cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails and eight snowmobile trails. Visitors to this area also enjoy the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, where you can ride your snowmobile in the morning and cross-country ski or snowshoe in the afternoon.

There are 4 major ski resorts located in the Dillon Ranger District: Arapahoe Basin,Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and Keystone. These resorts account for almost 4 million skier days per year!

The Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District is home to the well-known ski resorts of Vail andBeaver Creek.

First-timer’s Adventure

Take a short hike on the Sapphire Point-FDT 89. This wheel-chair accessible path takes you to spectacular scenery with views of Dillon Reservoir and the Tenmile Range. A walk to the overlook to watch the sunset is an experience not to be missed!

Statistics

State(s):

Colorado

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Denver

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 and Fees:

Purchase an annual pass for access to all federal recreation areas that charge entrance fees, including National Parks, National Recreation Areas, and other destinations. Learn more, or purchase The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass online today!

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.