Description - Colorado is well known for its National Forests and Parks which include 14,000-foot mountains, world-class ski resorts, semiarid deserts, ancient Indian ruins and wide open plains.Approximately 36 percent of the state of Colorado is designated public land.
Colorado has 13 National Forests that are grouped into 6 administrative
units: Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests; Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre
and Gunnison National Forests; Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests;
Pike and San Isabel National Forests; San Juan and Rio Grande National
Forests and White River National Forest. Colorado also has 8 National Parks
and Monuments of which Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National
Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park are the best known.
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Maroon Bells from West Maroon Creek
- Colorado's National Forests and Parks offer and incredible array of year round recreation activities.
Recreation - Skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities. Colorado offers skiers the opportunity of lift service at many world class ski resorts or wilderness experience in several backcountry hut systems.
Summer activities include hiking, road biking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, rafting, kayaking and mountain biking. The wide variety of geographic terrain includes deep canyons, high mountains and semiarid deserts, that offer everyone exciting recreation opportunities.
Climate - The climate in Colorado varies tremendously from hot dusty summer days on the plains and deserts to frigidly cold winter blizzards. Colorado is known for its thunderstorms which form over the rocky mountains and then head across the eastern plains, often reaching 10,000 feet or more in height. Lightning is a serious threat, particularly on mountain peaks, lakes and open fields. Summertime temperatures routinely reach 90 degrees on the plains and the 80s in the mountains. Cool weather is always possible at night or at higher elevations. It is not uncommon to need both shorts and a jacket on the same day.
The winter routinely brings severe winter driving conditions with icy roads and limited visibility. Temperatures range from the 40s and 50s on the plains to well below zero in the mountains. Proper winter clothing and food is necessary to avoid hypothermia and one should be prepared to spend an unexpected night out if traveling in the backcountry or on the highways.
The National Forests and Parks are located primarily in the western half of the state. Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests, Pike San Isabel National Forests and Rocky Mountain National Park are within easy driving distance of Denver and the major front range metropolitan areas. San Juan Rio Grande National Forests, Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park are located in the South Western part of the state. White River National Forest and Routt National Forest are located in the North Western portion of the state.