Rio Grande National Forest


Rio Grande National Forest
A beaver pond in Rio Grande National Forest
The Rio Grande river and forest near Coller State Trust Lands

Rio Grande National Forest includes almost two million acres of publicly owned land on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide. Parts of two spectacular mountain ranges, the San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos, are within the Forest. Also included are the headwaters of the third longest river in the United States - the Rio Grande del Norte.

The Rio Grande is one of (what was originally) eleven National Forests in Colorado. President Theodore Roosevelt established the Forest by Presidential Proclamation in 1908. This action combined parts of the former Cochetopah and the present San Juan National Forests to form the Rio Grande National Forest. The Forest Supervisor's Office is located two miles west of Monte Vista on US Highway 160. District Ranger Stations are located in La Jara, Del Norte, Creede, and Saguache.

Volcanic palisades on Rio Gande National Forest

Things to see & do on the Forest:

Black bear, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, red tail hawks, wild turkeys, and mountain lions are among the animals and birds that make the Forest their home. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has also reintroduced moose into the Forest in the Spring Creek area, west of Creede.

Variety is the word to describe the outdoor recreation opportunities of the Forest. From the rugged and jagged peaks of the Sangre de Cristos to the forested table lands and glacial canyons of the San Juan Mountains, the outdoor enthusiast can enjoy any activity suited to the day or the season.

The eastern boundary of the forest is high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Looking west through the Rio Grande Valley toward the source of the river
The Upper Rio Grande Valley
 
Most photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License
Other photos courtesy of the US Forest Service
 

Campgrounds

Conejos Peak Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Unit Length Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Alamosa 8,700' 10 25' No No
Aspen Glade 8,500' 34 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Conejos 8,700' 16 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Elk Creek 8,500' 34 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Lake Fork 9,500' 18 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Mix Lake 10,000' 22 25' Drinking water No
Mogote 8,400' 40 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Mogote Group 8,400' Group Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Spectacle Lake 8,700' 24 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Stunner 9,700' 10 25' Drinking water No
Trujillo Meadows 10,000' 50 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Divide Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Unit Length Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Big Meadows 9,500' 60 35' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Bristol Head 9,500' 16 32' Drinking water No
Cathedral 9,400' 33 35' Drinking water No
Comstock 9,700' 8 30' No No
Cross Creek 8,800' 12 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Highway Springs 8,400' 11 35' No No
Lower Beaver Creek 8,400' 23 35' Drinking water No
Marshall Park 8,800' 18 32' Drinking water No
North Clear Creek 9,900' 27 32' Drinking water No
Palisade 8,300' 12 32' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Park Creek 8,500' 20 35' Drinking water No
River Hill 9,200' 23 32' Drinking water No
Rock Creek 9,200' 23 30' No No
Silver Thread 9,500' 13 30' Drinking water No
Thirty Mile 9,300' 39 32' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Tucker Ponds 9,600' 19 35' Drinking water No
Upper Beaver Creek 8,500' 16 35' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Saguache Ranger District
Campground Name Elevation # of Sites Unit Length Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Buffalo Pass 9,000' 26 30' Drinking water No
Luders 9,900' 6 25' No No
North Crestone 8,800' 13 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Poso 9,100' 11 25' Drinking water No
Stone Cellar 9,500' 4 25' Drinking water Handicapped accessible
Stormking 9,400' 11 25' Drinking water No