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Colorado > San Juan National Forest
Frequently Asked Questions about San Juan National Forest
QUESTION
ANSWER
How long can I camp in one place on the San Juan National Forest? 14 days, then you must move outside a 15-mile radius and cannot return to the same area for 45 days.
How long is the hiking loop from the train into the Weminuche Wilderness? It is a 35-mile loop that has approximately 4,000 elevation gain twice.
Do I need to register my All-Terrain Vehicle, dirt bike or snowmobile? Yes. As a customer you San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango and the Columbine Ranger District in Bayfield offer registrations. The cost is $15.25. Please bring the make & model of your OHV, VIN number, engine size, and year.
Do I need to register my boat to use it on public lands? Yes. However, you do have to get this registration at a State Office, because they check your boat over. Navajo Reservoir & Ridgway State Parks offer them here in the Four Corners Area.
How far should you be away from a source of water when disperse camping? Leave No Trace ethics (which we promote) suggest 200 ft. However, some lakes, such as Emerald Lake and Ute Lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness have a regulation that asks you to camp even further from them.... generally these added regulations are posted.
Does a dog have to be on a leash in the forest/wilderness? In wilderness dogs must be under control at all times, either by voice control or a leash for the safety of pets and other wildlife. Dogs are required to be on a leash/chain in a developed public lands campground.
Does a dog have to be on a leash in the forest/wilderness? In wilderness dogs must be under control at all times, either by voice control or a leash for the safety of pets and other wildlife. Dogs are required to be on a leash/chain in a developed public lands campground.
Are you allowed a gun or rifle in a campground? Yes, but you cannot shoot it, unless in self-defense, such as if a bear was attacking.
Can a person target practice on the forest? Yes, but the CFR reads, "Discharging a fire arm or any other implement capable of taking human life, causing injury or damaging property cannot be used: 1) In or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area, or 2) across or on a forest development road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or palce whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such a discharge."
Do you need a permit to go into the Weminuche Wilderness? No, Unless you are getting compensated in some way (money, exchange of services, etc.) for taking folks into the backcountry. Group size limit is 15.
What is the group size limit in a wilderness area? 15 people. Your group can have up to 10 stock (horse, llama or goat) too.
Can I get updated outdoor information after hours about conditions and recreation opportunities? Yes, (970) 247-8187. In the Winter months it is update daily with avalanche and weather conditions. In the summer it is update with snowlevels, fire danger, develop campground closures, 4-wheel drive pass and other road closures, as well as some information on trail conditons.
Is it required for a person to store their food in a bear resistant manner? When you're camping in one of the below listed developed public land campgrounds or recreation areas of the San Juan National Forest, food that is not in the process of being cooked, eaten or transported must be store either in a approved bear resistant container or in a bear-resistant manner. The same applies for food containers and packaging, cooking utensils, garbage, and items such as pet food and bird feeders. THE AREAS A BEAR-RESISTANT METHOD OF STORAGE IS REQUIRED: In the COLUMBINE Ranger District: Vallecito, Haviland Lake Chris Park Group, Graham Creek, Old Timers, Pine Point, North Canyon, Middle Mountain, Junction Creek, Transfer Park, Florida, Florida Group, Miller Creek, Purgatory, Sig Creek, Pine River, Kroeger, and Snowslide campgrounds. Also, Haviland Lake Day Use Area, and all dispersed campsites/recreation areas in La Plata Canyon. In PAGOSA Ranger District: Bridge, Cimarron, Lower Piedra, East Fork, Teal, Ute Group, West Fork, Williams Creek, and Wolf Creek campgrounds.
How can I get free literature about the San Juan National Forest? Either call us at the San Juan Public Lands Center at (970) 247-4874, email us at apeterson01@fs.fed.us or fax us at (970) 385-1210. Just specify the type of information you are looking for.... for example: Information of the San Juan Skyway, hiking and OHV use.
Are there certain publications or maps that you reccommend? The San Juan Mountains Association (970) 385-1210 is a non-profit support partner of the Forest Service and BLM in Southwestern Colorado that provides a whole book store and catalog of books available for your backcountry adventures. Email Alan (apeterson01@fs.fed.us) or call them for a free catalog. They do accept mastercard and visa, if you would like to phone in an order.


Have more questions? Contact us by email.
mwinkworth@fs.fed.us



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