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Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest
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Rio Grande National Forest

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Conejos Peak Ranger District- There are a number of interesting and scenic attractions in this district including: Blanca Peak, the Conejos River, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad and Platoro Reservoir.
Divide Ranger District- The Divide Ranger District offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Colorado.
Saguache Ranger District- The Saguache Ranger District is the smallest district in the Rio Grande National Forest, but it is packed with numerous attractions and recreational opportunities.

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General Information

Winter on the Rio Grande National Forest
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Winter on the Rio Grande National Forest
Description - The Rio Grande National Forest provides access to countless developed and natural attractions. The forest includes the rugged and jagged peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and the forested table lands and glacial canyons of the San Juan Mountains. Within these areas high lakes and alpine streams, create livable habitat for wildlife of all sizes. Also in these forested areas are trails, campgrounds, picnic grounds, four-wheel drive roads and scenic highways to interest visitors from all walks of life.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities within the Rio Grande National Forest are countless. Visitors can enjoy easy access to hiking, mountain biking, road biking, camping, picnicking, four-wheel driving, motorcycling and horseback riding. Recreation opportunities don't diminish during the winter season. Many visitors enjoy downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and backcountry touring.

Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find in the Rio Grande National Forest. Elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet at the top of several mountain peaks. In general, the climate at low elevations is cool and arid while the high country is cold and humid. Average precipitation varies from under eight inches at the 8,000 foot level to over 50 inches in some alpine areas. Snowfall varies significantly in the Forest. North Cochetopa Pass commonly receives two feet of snow in a year when Wolf Creek receives six to eight feet.

Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 90 degrees in summer to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Rapid weather changes, with temperature changes of 40 degrees in periods as short as four to six hours, occur frequently.

Location - The 1,852,000 acre Rio Grande National Forest is on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide in southern Colorado. Alamosa is its eastern gateway, Creede is in the heart of the Forest. The U.S. Highways servicing the Rio Grande are 285 and 160. State Highway 149 takes you to Creede and over Spring Creek Pass to Lake City. The major drainages on the forest include the Rio Grande, Alamosa River and Conejos River.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Meridian (Amarillo, TX)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I tent camped at the beautiful Park Creek campground of the Rio Grande National Forest. This is a great place for fisherman as the sites are right on the river. Cool and shady, and the last week of May I was one of three sites out of 14 that were occupied, that includes the camp manager, who was very nice. If you like to be away from crowds, this is the place. Very clean. On up Wolf Creek Pass from South Fork is Tuckers Ponds, another great place for fisherman. Elevation makes it cooler and snow was still on the ground May 31. No running water either place. There were hand pumps, so bring your bottles and a pan to heat water to wash up. Toilets are not flush, but very clean. Stores are a bit of a drive either way. Be prepared. You're in the wilderness here. I even saw a wolf loping through Tuckers Ponds. If tenting, keep in mind the cold nights. But worth it! A Beautiful place.

Filed By: Rethabel (Rocky Ford, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We as a family have been going to South Fork over 25 years. It is a fun, family place something for everyone. We will be going back in three weeks can not wait. Take a coat, bring a friend, the food store Rainbow is the best place to ask questions and find the best fishing. Hope to see you there.

More Information

Contact Information:
Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 West Highway 160 , Monte Vista, CO, 81144, Phone: 719-852-5941, Fax: 719-852-6250, TTY: 719-852-6271

Additional Information:
Colorado National Forests & Parks - Colorado is well known for its National Forests and Parks which include 14,000-foot mountains, world-class ski resorts, semiarid deserts, ancient Indian ruins and wide open plains.
San Luis Valley Area - Southern Colorado's beautiful San Luis Valley is one of the highest and largest valleys in the world. A million plus acres of public lands invite the outdoorsman to enjoy the true Rocky Mountain experience.
South Central Region - This region lies just east of the Continental Divide, from the middle of the state to the southern border of Colorado. It includes the upper Arkansas River Valley, the San Luis Valley and the Colorado Springs area.
South Fork Area - South Fork is located at the junction of the Rio Grande River and its south fork. Where Highway 160 and 149 meet in the center of town, you will find the beginning of Colorado's historic Silver Thread Scenic Byway.


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