- Visitors to the Sulphur Ranger District will soon discover that many of the summer recreational activities are water oriented. The Arapaho National Recreation Area is the focus of this activity. Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake are man-made reservoirs linked by a channel to Grand Lake, Colorado's largest natural body of water. These lakes, along with Willow Creek Reservoir are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water diversion project. Two smaller bodies of water, Meadow Creek Reservoir and Monarch Lake are also located within the Recreation Area.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
At least portions of the Indian Peaks, Byers Peak, Vasquez Peak and Never Summer Wilderness Areas lie within the Sulphur District. Much of this wilderness area straddles the Continental Divide. These areas encompass forests, vast areas of alpine tundra, numerous cirque basins, remnant alpine glaciers, and many streams and lakes.
Campgrounds are found throughout the district. The largest and most developed of these campgrounds are located in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. There are three campgrounds in the Williams Fork Valley. Other campgrounds are scattered around the Fraser and Winter Park area.
The Colorado River, Fraser River, Williams Fork River, St. Louis Creek, Willow Creek and Vasquez Creek are some of the rivers and creeks which run through the district. Combined with the lakes on the district, there are excellent fishing opportunities.
The Winter Park/Mary Jane Ski Area provides the focus of winter recreation on the district. In addition to downhill skiing however, there are miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing,and snowmobiling.
Recreation - Summer activities center around the many lakes includes motor boating, water-skiing, sailing, canoeing and fishing. Several of the reservoirs are designated for non-motorized activities only.
Camp sites are provided in 13 developed campgrounds on the district. Dispersed or backcountry camping opportunities are virtually endless. A permit is required for camping in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
The trails on the district provide opportunities for hiking and backpacking. Some of the non-wilderness trails are designated mountain bike trails. Some trails and four-wheel drive roads are open for ATVs and motorcycles.
Downhill skiing is the most popular winter activity but snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also very popular on the district. Several of the lakes in the Arapaho National Recreation Area are accessible for ice fishing.
Climate - Summer weather usually brings frequent afternoon thunderstorms from mid-June through September. Electrical storm activity is a special consideration in the higher elevations. Daytime high temperatures average around 70 degrees, with lows occasionally below freezing.
Autumn weather is usually stable with clear, cool days from early September to late October. Expect freezing temperatures at night, even snow is possible. Early autumn is a great time for travel in this area.
Winter weather brings storm systems from the northwest that start in early November, depositing large amounts of snow on leeward sides of mountain ridges. Winter weather can continue in the highest elevations until early June. Low temperatures are often below zero. Snowfall averages well over 100 inches in the higher elevations.
The Sulphur Ranger District includes the southwestern portion of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest. It lies on the west side of the Continental Divide. It takes in the area from Berthoud Pass, north to Willow Creek Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park and west to the Williams Fork Mountains. The district surrounds the towns of Winter Park, Fraser, Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs.