- La Garita Wilderness encompasses 129,600 acres of mountainous terrain. Approximately 35 miles of the Continental Divide lie within this wilderness and forms the boundary between the Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests. Low numbers of people and 175 miles of trail make this area perfect for anyone seeking solitude.
Copyright: H.D Shiles - US Forest Service
Wheeler Geologic Area - 10.89
The southern area of the wilderness contains the Wheeler Geologic Area. It was added to the wilderness in 1993 and comprises a hard to reach site with a startling mass of pinnacles, domes and spires of rock.
San Luis Peak attracts many mountaineers to the La Garita Wilderness. This mountain is one of 54 fourteeners in Colorado, it rises to a height of 14,014 feet. The drive to the trailhead is rather long so it is important to get a very early start if planning to climb the peak the same day. If you are lucky, you may spot some bighorn sheep on the distant mountainside as you gain the saddle before the final ascent.
Recreation - All wilderness areas are closed to mechanized and motorized vehicles. Hikers, backpackers and equestrians may enjoy the solitude and natural beauty of this area.
Climate - Weather for the area can vary greatly; but generally, you can expect a cool mountain climate with scattered rain showers throughout the summer months. Normally, the La Garita area is snow-free from mid-July to September, but conditions depend upon the elevation and amount of snowfall each winter. Lower elevations from around 9,000 to 10,000 feet may become snow-free by early June, but some creek and water levels will still be high. The annual precipitation varies from 25 to 40 inches.
The La Garita Wilderness is located eight miles north of Creede in the San Juan Mountains. Highway 149 leads around the southern and western portions of the wilderness area from South Fork north to Lake City. In order to reach Forest Developed Roads 502, 503, 600 and 729, visitors to the wilderness must use Highway 149. State Highway 114 is the largest thoroughfare to the north of La Garita Wilderness. From this road visitors will find Forest Road 804, which leads to Forest Roads 787, 794 and wilderness access.