- Most of the Arapaho National Forest is now administered as the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Topography on the Arapaho National Forest varies from foothills in the east to snow covered peaks at over 14,000 feet along the Continental Divide.
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Williams Fork Valley
The forest contains portions of the Never Summer, Indian Peaks, Byers Peak, Vasquez Peak and Mount Evans Wilderness Areas. Several Scenic Byways run through the forest: Peak to Peak, between Estes Park and Blackhawk; Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grants View Mt. Bierstadt; Mount Evans, from Echo Lake to 14,152 feet on Mount Evans; and Colorado River Headwaters, from Rocky Mountain National Park, west to State Bridge. The Arapaho National Recreation Area covers over 36,000 acres and contains five major lakes. Boating and fishing are the primary activities, with many developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails available for public recreation.
In the winter months, outstanding downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities exist at Winter Park, and Loveland Ski Areas, both located on National Forest lands.
Recreation - Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and scenic driving are popular activities. The Arapaho and Roosevelt rank among the top National Forests for year-round recreation use. This is due to their proximity to the high populations of Front Range communities and their well known recreation areas.
Climate - With its elevation differences and its location on both sides of the Continental Divide, the climate on the Arapaho varies greatly. The weather is generally much warmer and drier at the lower elevations, especially on the east end of the forest.
For summer, expect warm days and cool to freezing nights, especially in the high country. Many of the points of interest in the highest elevations remain inaccessible until early or mid-July. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather. The rainy season lasts from mid-July through August, when afternoon thunderstorms should be expected. The first snow can fly any time after the first of September! Although the skies are often sunny, winter temperatures can be very cold. Abundant snowfall accumulates, which supports many winter activities found on the forests.
The Granby/Winter Park portion of the Arapaho National Forest is managed by the Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest.
The Dillon/Breckenridge/Summit County portion of the Arapaho National Forest is administered by the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest. Portions of the Arapaho National Forest around Middle and North Park are administered by the Parks Ranger District of the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forest.