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Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > San Carlos Ranger District
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San Carlos Ranger District

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General Information

Lakes of the Clouds - 10.95
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Lakes of the Clouds - 10.95
Description - The San Carlos Ranger District comprises the southern part of the San Isabel National Forest. The San Carlos Ranger District encompasses the eastern half of the Sangre de Cristo Range, which contains five of the state's coveted fourteeners. Other attractions on public lands in the region include, the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Greenhorn Wilderness, Spanish Peaks Wilderness Study Area, Lake Isabel Recreation Area, Cuchara Valley Ski Area and Cuchara Valley Recreation Area. The public lands in this region are vast and the population in the area is not. Those two factors create some great terrain for solitude with nature.

Recreation - The major activities available to to outdoor enthusiasts are: camping , hiking, sightseeing, backpacking, mountain bike, motorcycle and ATV riding, hunting, picnicking, horseback riding, fall color viewing, scenic driving four-wheel driving, fourteeners, rock climbing and last, but not least, fishing.

Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find in the San Carlos Ranger District. Elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet. In general, the climate at low elevations is cool and arid while the high country is cold and humid.

Generally, heavy frost can be seen in September, requiring the shutdown of many campground water systems. Heavy snows typically begin in late October and continue into April.

The traditional beginning of the summer season in late May is often marked by wet snows, thunderstorms with small hail and cool nights. At elevations above 9,500 feet, depending on snowfall and the orientation of the site, snow drifts can linger in some areas into early July

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 San Carlos Ranger District is part of the San Isabel National Forest and is located in south central Colorado. The ranger district contains mountainous land on the eastern and western sides of the Wet Mountain Valley. Access to the region is possible via Highway 50 in the north; State Road 69, which leads north and south through the Wet Mountain Valley; State Road 96, which crosses the Wet Mountains near Wetmore; and State Road 165; that provides access to the southern Wet Mountains.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Contact Information:
San Carlos Ranger District, 3170 East Main Street , Cañon City, CO, 81212, Phone: 719-269-8500, Fax: 719-269-9719

Additional Information:
Cañon City Area - Lake Isabel Recreation Area and the Greenhorn Wilderness are in San Isabel National Forest to the south.
Pike and San Isabel National Forests - The Pike San Isabel National Forest is an administrative compact between the two forests southeast of the Continental Divide in Colorado.
Pueblo Area - Pueblo lies 100 miles south of Denver along the Arkansas River.
San Isabel National Forest - The San Isabel National Forest consists of over one million acres of mountains, rivers, canyons and meadows. The forest is bounded on the west and north by the Continental Divide and on the east by the Pike National Forest.
Walsenburg Area - Walsenburg is at the edge of the Great Plains. On a clear day, from Trinchera Peak, the Spanish Peaks or Greenhorn Mountain, you may think you can see Kansas to the east.

Current Fire Conditions - The current fire conditions in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.
Pike, San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron, Comanche National Grasslands - The official agency website.


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