Rio Grande National Forest

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Rio Grande National Forest
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Stony Pass road (better), Colo.jpg
Stony Pass jeep road, east of Silverton, Colorado. Spectacular scenery along this old wagon road over Stony Pass (12,588 feet), at the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness
Map showing the location of Rio Grande National Forest
Map showing the location of Rio Grande National Forest
Location Colorado, USA
Nearest city Alamosa, CO
Coordinates 37°44′24″N 106°50′07″W / 37.74°N 106.8352°W / 37.74; -106.8352Coordinates: 37°44′24″N 106°50′07″W / 37.74°N 106.8352°W / 37.74; -106.8352
Area 1,860,000 acres (7,500 km2)
Established July 1, 1908
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
http://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande

Rio Grande National Forest is a 1.86 million acre (7,530 km²) [1] U.S. National Forest located in southwestern Colorado. The forest encompasses the San Luis Valley, which is the world's largest agricultural alpine valley, as well as one of the world's largest high deserts located around mountains. The Rio Grande River rises in the forest, and the Continental Divide runs along most of its western border.[1] The forest lies in parts of nine counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Saguache, Mineral, Conejos, Rio Grande, Hinsdale, San Juan, Alamosa, Archuleta, and Custer counties. Forest headquarters are located in Monte Vista, Colorado. There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache.[2]

Wilderness areas[edit]

Mountains in Rio Grande National Forest in September of 2013.

There are four officially designated wilderness areas lying within Rio Grande National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. All of them extend partially into neighboring National Forests, and one of these also onto National Park Service land (as indicated).

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Platoro Dam Weather Station (Elevation 9,860ft)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 52
(11)
55
(13)
55
(13)
62
(17)
73
(23)
80
(27)
81
(27)
78
(26)
77
(25)
72
(22)
63
(17)
51
(11)
81
(27)
Average high °F (°C) 31.3
(−0.4)
35.6
(2)
38.5
(3.6)
45.6
(7.6)
54.5
(12.5)
66.2
(19)
69.8
(21)
67.9
(19.9)
63.2
(17.3)
54.5
(12.5)
41.8
(5.4)
32.3
(0.2)
50.1
(10.1)
Average low °F (°C) −7.0
(−21.7)
−3.0
(−19.4)
5.0
(−15)
17.0
(−8.3)
24.8
(−4)
30.4
(−0.9)
36.2
(2.3)
36.2
(2.3)
27.6
(−2.4)
19.9
(−6.7)
9.7
(−12.4)
−5.2
(−20.7)
16.0
(−8.9)
Record low °F (°C) −38
(−39)
−48
(−44)
−24
(−31)
−14
(−26)
2
(−17)
14
(−10)
24
(−4)
24
(−4)
14
(−10)
−4
(−20)
−20
(−29)
−36
(−38)
−48
(−44)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.30
(58.4)
2.16
(54.9)
3.57
(90.7)
1.80
(45.7)
1.39
(35.3)
1.02
(25.9)
3.14
(79.8)
3.21
(81.5)
2.08
(52.8)
1.54
(39.1)
2.68
(68.1)
2.20
(55.9)
27.10
(688.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 27.8
(70.6)
39.1
(99.3)
54.2
(137.7)
19.5
(49.5)
8.1
(20.6)
0.1
(0.3)
0.0
(0)
0
(0)
1.6
(4.1)
8.5
(21.6)
39.2
(99.6)
39.2
(99.6)
237.3
(602.7)
Source: [3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

The Continental Divide of the Americas separates the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan National Forest