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South Park Ranger District


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General Information

The view west from Wilkerson Pass shows the expansiveness of South Park
Copyright: Amy Pyle - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
The view west from Wilkerson Pass shows the expansiveness of South Park
Description - There are many things to do in the South Park Region. The terrain varies from deep canyons to 14,000 foot peaks. Windy Ridge Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area is home to the bristlecone pine, the oldest known living trees. Windy Ridge, near timberline northwest of Alma, is home to these gnarled, twisted trees that lure photographers and painters. Many other splendid bristlecones can be found throughout the South Park Area.

Wilkerson Pass Visitor Center is a great place to get amazing views coupled with interpretive signage, exhibits, a nature trail and picnic area. Staff members are on site to provide information usually from Memorial to Labor Day.

The Boreas Pass Road was a historic railroad grade, which is now a scenic road. This passage through the mountains offers beautiful scenery and Native American, exploring, mining, logging and railroading history. This pass is also a popular mountain bike ride.

The Jefferson Lake Recreation Area is a popular site for camping, picnicking and fishing. The 90 acre lake is located at 10,700 feet. Several hiking and mountain biking trails exist in the vicinity.

The Colorado Trail traverses the South Park District beginning in the Lost Creek Wilderness. Sections four and five cross the area terminating at Kenosha Pass. From this vista hikers gain access to spectacular views of South Park.

Recreation - A plethora of outdoor activities can be enjoyed by visitors to the South Park Ranger District. The list includes, but is not limited to the following: boating, camping, backpacking, fishing, hiking, biking, motorcycle riding and horseback riding. The varied terrain of the region provides excellent opportunities for recreationists of all skill levels to participate in their favorite or a new sport.

Climate - Controlled mainly by the Rocky Mountains, weather in the Pikes Peak Ranger District varies extremely on a yearly, daily and hourly basis. Colorado's high elevation makes the air thinner and harder to breathe. The elevation also makes it easier to get a sunburn, because there is less air between you and the sun to filter ultraviolet light. Temperatures are affected by elevation, cooling four degrees for every 1,000 feet gained.

When hiking, particularly on high mountain peaks, during the summer, morning and early afternoon hikes are best to avoid lightning and thunderstorms. The average yearly precipitation is 16 inches, the majority of which comes in spring and summer. Summer temperatures average 72 degrees during the day. Nighttime freezing temperatures are not uncommon during the summer. The mean winter temperature is 26 degrees. The low humidity on the eastern slopes makes both warm and cold temperatures seem more comfortable.

Location - The South Park Ranger District encompasses the mountainous terrain that surrounds the South Park region of the state. It includes the western section of the Lost Creek Wilderness, Elevenmile Canyon, eastern Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, Windy Ridge Scenic Area and the Jefferson Lake Area.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Bill Alden (Bailey, Co)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I have a cabin in Valley of the Sun that borders the National Forest at Sacramento Creek. A year ago I was hiking in the forest about a quarter-mile from the cabin a dog approached me, the dog was very large appeared to be wild and my first thought was do we have wolves in Colorado? A neighbor of mine in Bailey told me that the fish and game Department had introduced wolves into the South Park area. Can anyone confirm this for me? Bill Alden Bailey, Co Bill4142001@yahoo.com


More Information

Contact Information:
South Park Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, P.O. Box 219 , Fairplay, CO, 80440, Phone: 719-836-2031

Additional Information:
Fairplay Area - Fairplay is the seat of South Park County and the largest town in the park. Visitors aware of the town's gold-mining roots will find it impossible to miss the remains of the industry that mark the surrounding country side.
Pike and San Isabel National Forests - The Pike San Isabel National Forest is an administrative compact between the two forests southeast of the Continental Divide in Colorado.
Pike National Forest - The Pike National Forest encompasses over one million acres of land in south central Colorado. This region includes 14,000 foot mountains, gold-medal fishing streams, wilderness areas, campgrounds, scenic byways, ski resorts and hundreds of miles of trails.

Links:
Current Fire Conditions - The current fire conditions in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.
Pike, San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron, Comanche National Grasslands - The official agency website.

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