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Weminuche Wilderness



Weminuche Wilderness (Columbine District)- The Weminuche Wilderness is Colorado's largest roadless area. It encompasses nearly a half million acres in the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of the state.
Weminuche Wilderness (Divide District)- The Weminuche Wilderness is Colorado's largest roadless area.

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General Information


Copyright: Unknown
"The Window," Rio Grande Pyramid
Description - The Weminuche Wilderness lies on both the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests. The area encompasses over 490,000 acres of roadless forests. Elevations in the area range from 8,000 to 14,083 feet. The headwaters for the San Juan and Rio Grande Rivers are included within the wilderness, as well as approximately 80 miles of the Continental Divide. The wilderness is buffered by the Carson Peak Roadless Area to the north, the Sin Miguel Roadless Area to the northwest and the Piedra Area to the south. Access to the wilderness can be gained from Highway 550, south of Silverton, Highway 149, south of Lake City, and Highway 160, west of Wolf Creek Pass.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities in this, as well as all other wilderness areas is limited to non-motorized and non-mechanized travel. Horseback riding, hiking and backpacking opportunities abound on the 475 miles of trail within the region. Fishing is permitted on the many lakes, streams and rivers that flow through the region. Three fourteeners in the western half of the wilderness draw many peak baggers.

Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find in the Weminuche Wilderness. In general, the climate in the lower elevations is arid, with cool nights and hot days while the high country is cold with lots of precipitation

Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 85 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 wilderness is rather large, but is entirely contained in the San Juan-Rio Grande National Forests. The Continental Divide marks the boundary between the Divide and Columbine Ranger Districts. The major U.S. Highways surrounding the Wilderness include: 149 north of South Fork, 160 west of South Fork and 550 north of Durango.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Contact Information:
Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038

Pagosa Ranger District, 180 Second Street, P.O. Box 310 , Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147, Phone: 970-264-2268, Fax: 970-264-2268, TTY: 970-264-1539

Additional Information:
Colorado Wilderness Areas - Some of the most spectacular terrain in Colorado is preserved within Colorado's extensive system of Wilderness Areas.

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