- This ranger district encompasses the mountains and high plateaus surrounding Pagosa Springs. Some of the undeveloped area of the district includes the Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas.
More developed areas are described in the paragraphs below. The Chimney Rock Archeological Area lies in the southern part of the district. It encompasses a 1,200 foot-high sheer rock landmark that overlooks prehistoric Indian ruins of the Chaco culture. Elwood Pass, on the eastern boundary of the forest, was the first wagon road into Pagosa Springs from the San Luis Valley. Murray Place, in the southeastern part of the district, is one of many good examples of an early homestead in the Colorado wilderness. The San Juan Overlook, near Wolf Creek, provides a spectacular view of the San Juan River Valley. In addition to these sights the district has many developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
Recreation - Excellent fishing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, camping, sight seeing, scenic driving, horseback riding and backpacking can all be found in this part of Colorado.
Climate - The high elevations in this district support a long winter season. (Wolf Creek Ski Area gets some of the heaviest snow pack of any Colorado ski area.) Some of the high-elevation passes remain snow covered through July. In June the high country begins to open. Most hikes above 9,000 feet will still have snow on the trail in July. Be prepared for these cold, wet conditions. Any time you're traveling above 9,000 be sure to take long sleeves, gloves and hats. Hypothermia can kill in any season.
The Pagosa Ranger District makes up the eastern third of the San Juan National Forest. U.S. Highway 160 goes through the middle of the Ranger District providing access from Durango and Alamosa. Major rivers in the district include the Piedra and the San Juan River.