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La Garita Wilderness (Saguache District)


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La Garita Wilderness (Saguache District)
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General Information

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Description - This is a very remote wilderness area that takes some travel time to reach. This particular section of the wilderness has a number of trails, some of which access Wheeler Geologic Area.

The wilderness is filled with beautiful scenery and many wildlife viewing opportunities. For those wishing to be far away from everything, this is the place.

Recreation - The predominate recreational activity in this wilderness is hiking and there are a number of wonderful trails to choose from, many of them following creeks. There are a number of trails that offer loop trip possibilities and there is also fishing at Machin Lake.

Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find. Elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet at the top of several mountain peaks. In general, the climate at low elevations is cool and arid while the high country is cold and humid. Average precipitation varies from under 8 inches at the 8,000 foot level to over 50 inches in some alpine areas. Snowfall varies significantly in the Forest. North Cochetopa Pass commonly receives two feet of snow in a year when Wolf Creek receives six to eight feet.

Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 90 degrees in summer to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Rapid weather changes, with temperature changes of 40 degrees in periods as short as four to six hours, occur frequently.

Location - This remote area is accessible from two locations. Forest Road 787 is accessed from Highway 114 and it continues south past Stone Cellar Campground to the wilderness boundary. Forest Road 744 is a four-wheel drive road that goes southwest from the campground. There is also a long dirt and then four-wheel drive road from South Fork which accesses Wheeler Geologic Area.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Saguache Ranger Station, 46525 Colorado Highway 114, P.O. Box 67 , Saguache, CO, 81149, Phone: 970-655-2547, TTY: 719-655-2547

Additional Information:
La Garita Wilderness - The Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests both claim parts of this large expanse of wilderness. The main attractions to the region are the Wheeler Geologic Area and 14,014-foot San Luis Peak.

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