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National Parks and Forests
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Arapaho National Forest

Activities


Basics

The Arapaho National Forest was established on July 1, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It is named after the plains Indian tribe which frequented the region for summer hunting. The Arapaho National Forest includes land on both sides of the Continental Divide, the ridge of mountains which separates the Platte River watersheds that flow to the Atlantic Ocean and the Colorado River watersheds that flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Administered jointly with the Roosevelt National Forest, the two forests combined include 1.3 million acres of Federal land in the mountains and foothills of northern Colorado. These Forests provide a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities, habitat for an abundance of wildlife, forage for livestock, and timber. They are also a vital source of water for domestic use, agricultural irrigation, and industry.

The Arapaho National Forest is characterized by its high alpine lakes, glaciers, alpine tundra, meadows, rocky ridges, deep canyons and striking rock formations. Trees found in the area include spruce fir, lodgepole pine and aspen. Wildlife includes deer, elk, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, and coyote.

Approximately 20% of the area within the forests lies within the National Wilderness Preservation System, including all or portions of five wilderness areas. These wilderness areas include Byers Peak, Eagles Nest, Indian Peaks, Never Summer, Mount Evans, and Vasquez.

Because of their nearness to large communities of people along the Front Range and other popular nearby natural recreation areas, the Arapaho and Roosevelt forests rank among the top national forests for year-round recreation use. They act as a major part of the scenic backdrop for tourism in Colorado. Camping, hiking, fishing, scenic driving, hunting, and driving for pleasure are popular activities.

In the winter months, outstanding downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities exist at Winter Park and Loveland resorts, both of which are located on National Forest lands. The close proximity of these resorts to Denver make them a very popular destination for skiers and snowboarders alike. Snowmobiling is also popular during the winter.

Within the forest lies the Arapaho National Recreation Area which spans 36,000 acres and includes five major lakes. Boating and fishing are the primary activities within the recreation area. Visitors will also discover many developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails within this recreation area.

Clear Creek Ranger District - The Clear Creek Ranger District lies just west of Denver in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. The district surrounds the towns of Idaho Springs, Central City and Georgetown. Its close proximity to the Denver metro area, combined with its majestic mountain beauty, makes this area extremely popular.

Dillon Ranger District - The Dillon Ranger District includes much of Summit County, Colorado - the area surrounding the popular resort areas of Silverthorne, Dillon, and Breckenridge. The district lies along the western side of the Continental Divide.

Sulphur Ranger District - The Sulphur Ranger District encompasses the southwest portion of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. It surrounds the towns of Winter Park, Granby, and Hot Sulphur Springs and includes the Arapaho National Recreation Area.

Contact Information

Arapaho National Forest
1311 South College Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80524-3098
(970) 498-2778

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