White River National Forest

Coordinates: 39°35′20″N 105°38′35″W / 39.589°N 105.643°W / 39.589; -105.643
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White River National Forest
The Maroon Bells in White River National Forest
Map showing the location of White River National Forest
Map showing the location of White River National Forest
LocationColorado, United States
Nearest cityGlenwood Springs, CO
Coordinates39°35′20″N 105°38′35″W / 39.589°N 105.643°W / 39.589; -105.643
Area2,285,970 acres (9,251.0 km2)
EstablishedJune 28, 1902
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
WebsiteWhite River National Forest
The forest highlighted in red in a map of Colorado.

White River National Forest is a National Forest in northwest Colorado. It is named after the White River that passes through its northern section. It is the most visited National Forest in the United States, primarily from users of the twelve ski areas within its boundaries.

The forest contains 2,285,970 acres (3,571.8 sq mi, or 9,250.99 km2). In descending order of land area it is located in parts of Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, Summit, Rio Blanco, Mesa, Gunnison, Routt, and Moffat counties.[1]

The White River National Forest provides significant habitat for deer, elk, mountain sheep, mountain goat, bear, mountain lion, bobcat, lynx, moose, raptors, waterfowl, trout and many other species of wildlife.

The forest contains 1,900 mi. (3,058 km) of forest system roads, 2,500 mi (4,023 km) of trails, and the Dillon, Green Mountain, Ruedi, and Homestake reservoirs.

The forest is managed from Forest Service offices in Glenwood Springs. There are local ranger district offices in Aspen, Carbondale, Eagle, Meeker, Minturn, Rifle, and Silverthorne.[2]

White River National Forest map sign, picture taken near the Sapphire Point

The Dillon Ranger district, run out of Silverthorne, was transferred from the Arapahoe National Forest to the White River National Forest in 1998.[3]

Wilderness areas[edit]

There are eight officially designated wilderness areas lying within White River National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Five of them extend into neighboring National Forests (as indicated).

Ski areas[edit]

The following ski areas are located inside the forest:


There are ten peaks with an elevation higher than 14,000 ft (4,267 m), colloquially known as 14ers in the forest:

The following two peaks are often included in lists of the Colorado fourteeners, but do not pass the 300 ft topographic prominence metric commonly used by U.S. Mountaineers:

  • North Maroon Peak, the lower of the two Maroon Bells Summits 14,019 ft (4,273 m), Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Elk Mountains
  • Conundrum Peak, a neighboring summit of Castle Peak, 14,040 ft (4279 m), Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Elk Mountains

See also[edit]


"White River has 70 Streams and 110 lakes for fish," June 10, 1937. (Colorado Historic Collection) Aspen Daily Times. "Recreation in the Forest ." March 1, 1945 (Colorado Historic Collection)

Axelton, John . Big Game Hunters Guide to Colorado. second ed. : Wilderness Adventures Press, 2008. (Google Books)

Forest Plan Focus, White River National Forest, August 1997. S.l.: s.n., 1997. (Google Books) Graves, Henry S.. Vacation days in Colorado's national forests. Washington: G.P.O., 1919.(Google Books)

N.p., n.d. Web. <www.nps.gov2Fthro2Fhistoryculture2Ftheodore-roosevelt-quotes.htm>.

External links[edit]