Rio Grande National Forest

In south-central Colorado, you’ll find 1.8 million acres of mountain peaks, rugged canyons and ancient calderas – all located in Rio Grande National Forest. With four-season weather, there’s lots of opportunities to hike, camp, fish, hunt and even cut down your very own Christmas tree in the winter. 

Being so massive, Rio Grande National Forest (named after the Rio Grande that flows through much of it) manages four wilderness areas: La Garita, Sanre de Cristo, South San Juan and Weminuche. 

Photo by Larry Lamsa (

While it’s incredible from loads of backcountry trails, there are also the Silver Thread and Los Caminos Antiguos scenic byways that run through the national forest. There’s also the Bachelor Loop, a 17-miles self-guided driving tour that loops through a historic silver mining district and ghost towns. 

Equestrians are also sure to love the region with dozens and dozens of horse-riding trails available. The Continental Divide also runs along most of the national forest’s western border.