Description - Over 3 million acres of wild lands have been appropriated as wilderness areas in
Colorado. The United States Congress began designating these areas in 1964.
The intention of the original wilderness bill was to preserve natural areas in
which humans and civilization do not dominate the landscape. These are areas
where humans are welcome to visit, but not reside. Wilderness areas are free of
motorized and mechanized travel. A few are heavily used by recreationists, and
are considering instigating permits to reduce human impact. In Colorado over
50 vehicle-use restricted areas exist.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Trail Rider Pass looks over Snowmass Lake and can be reached by Geneva Lake Trail number1973
- A few of the most popular Wilderness areas are the Maroon Bells-Snowmass
Wilderness, Holy Cross Wilderness, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and Mt. Evans
Wilderness. If your looking for the solitude avoid the regions mentioned above,
and travel a bit further out of your way to enjoy some of the less crowded, but
no less scenic, wilderness areas.
Recreation - Recreation in these spectacular wilderness areas is limited to non-mechanized
and non-motorized activities, that include backpacking, horseback riding,
hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and mountaineering. It is extremely
important that recreation enthusiasts take extra care to minimize their impact
on the often fragile wilderness area. Visiting a wilderness area should be a very
special occasion and not a daily occurrence. These areas are appropriated to
support activities that help spur reflection of and offer relief from our
increasingly mechanical society.
Climate - The climate in Colorado varies tremendously from hot dusty summer days on
the plains and deserts to frigidly cold winter blizzards. Colorado is known for
its thunderstorms which form over the Rocky Mountains and then head across
the eastern plains. Lightning is a serious threat, particularly on mountain
peaks. Summertime temperatures routinely reach 90 to 100 degrees on the
plains and the 70 - 80 degrees in the mountains. Cool weather is always
possible at night throughout Colorado, particularly at higher elevations. It is
not uncommon to need both shorts and a jacket on the same day.
winter routinely brings severe winter driving conditions with icy roads and
limited visibility. Temperatures range from the 40s and 50s on the plains to
well below zero in the mountains. Proper winter clothing and food is necessary
to avoid hypothermia and one should be prepared to spend an unexpected
night out if traveling in the backcountry or on the highways.
Wilderness areas pervade the western two-thirds of Colorado. A few are very
accessible and relatively close to major highways throughout the state. Many
wilderness areas are located in the most inaccessible portions of the state. By
definition these regions do not contain usable roads.