Description - The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests include nearly 1.3 million acres. Topography varies from rolling hills to snow covered peaks. Twenty percent of the area (about 300,000 acres) is in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and includes eight Wilderness Areas.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
The Arapaho National Recreation Area covers over 36,000 acres and contains five major lakes. Boating and fishing are the primary activities, with many developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails available for public recreation.
Five scenic byways run through the forest: Peak to Peak, between Estes Park and Blackhawk; Guanella Pass, between Georgetown and Grants; Mount Evans, from Echo Lake to 14,152 feet on Mount Evans; Colorado River Headwaters, from Rocky Mountain National Park to State Bridge; and Cache la Poudre - North Park, leading from the Cache la Poudre River canyon, over Cameron Pass, to North Park.
In the winter months, outstanding downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities exist at Winter Park, Eldora, and Loveland Ski Areas, all located on National Forest lands. Also enjoy nordic skiing near Brainard Lake, Cameron Pass, and in the Fraser area. Snowmobile recreation opportunities are available in many National Forest locations. The Stillwater and Supply Creek areas near Grand Lake and the Deadman Road near Redfeather Lakes are among the most popular.
Recreation - Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and scenic driving are popular activities. The Arapaho and Roosevelt rank among the top National Forests for year-round recreation use. This is due to their proximity to the high populations of Front Range communities and their well known recreation areas.
Climate - Elevations range from about 5,000 feet on the east end of the Forests, to over 14,000 feet on the highest peaks. With this enormous elevation difference and locations on both sides of the Continental Divide, the climate varies greatly. The weather is generally much warmer and drier at the lower elevations, particularly on the east end of the forests.
For summer, expect warm days and cool to freezing nights, especially in the high country. Much of the highest elevations remain inaccessible until early or mid-July. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather. The rainy season lasts from mid-July through August, when afternoon thunderstorms should be expected. The first snow can fly any time from the first of September! Although the skies are often sunny, winter temperatures can be very cold. Abundant snowfall accumulates and supports the many winter activities found on the forests.
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests are administered jointly, with the headquarters in Fort Collins. These forests encompass much of Rocky Mountains and foothills of north-central Colorado. The Forests extend from Boulder and Fort Collins on the east, to Hot Sulphur Springs and North Park on the west and the Wyoming border south to Mount Evans. The Forests surround Rocky Mountain National Park and towns including Estes Park, Nederland, Idaho Springs, Winter Park and Granby.