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Colorado > Mt. Sneffels Wilderness
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Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Norwood Ranger District- The Norwood Ranger District on the Uncompahgre National Forest encompasses a portion of the Uncompahgre Plateau near Norwood, the San Juan Mountains (south of the San Miguel River) and terrain surrounding Telluride.
Ouray Ranger District- The Ouray Ranger District encompasses the south and east ends of the Uncompahgre Plateau and the northern San Juan Mountains around the town of Ouray.

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General Information

Description - The Mt. Sneffels Wilderness lies within the San Juan Mountains northwest of Telluride, and is comprised of 16,505 acres. Over 66% of the terrain is above timberline, including more than 15 summits over 13,000 feet.

The landscape visible now was formed from volcanic activity millions of years ago. The peaks within this wilderness area are made of granite, and the remains of ancient lava that hardened under the earth's surface. Mt. Sneffels, the only fourteener within the wilderness boundary, is a good example of the erosion-resistant igneous rock that forms the whole of the San Juans.

Recreation - Due to the steepness of the terrain much of the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness is difficult to access. Only fifteen miles of constructed trail penetrate the rugged terrain, but many additional miles of trail skirt the wilderness boundary. Like other wilderness areas in Colorado, no mechanized or motorized vehicles or apparatus are permitted within the region. Campfires are not permitted in the Blue Lakes Area due to heavy use.

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 Mt. Sneffels Wilderness area is snow free from July to September, but conditions depend on the elevation and amount of snowfall each winter. Lower elevations from around 7,000 to 8,500 feet may become snow free by early June, but some creek and river water levels tend to be high. The annual precipitation varies from 25 inches to 40 inches.

Location - Mt. Sneffels Wilderness is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest. The closest towns are Ridgway, to the north, Ouray, to the east, and Telluride, to the west. If you are traveling from the north, Montrose is a good place to get food and supplies. Telluride merchants can provide any mountaineering supplies and food if you plan to use one of the western trailheads for the area.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Uncompahgre National Forest, Ouray Ranger District, 2505 S Townsend , Montrose, CO, 81401, Phone: 970-240-5300

Additional Information:
Colorado Wilderness Areas - Some of the most spectacular terrain in Colorado is preserved within Colorado's extensive system of Wilderness Areas.
Ouray Area - This small town known as the 'Little Switzerland of America,' was named for the Southern Ute Chief, who tried to negotiate with the U.S. Government as it pushed his tribe on to a reservation.

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