Gunnison National Forest

Gunnison National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 1,672,136 acres in Mesa, Hinsdale, Gunnison, and Saguache Counties in the Western portion of the U.S. state of Colorado. It borders the White River National Forest to the north, the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests towards the west, the San Isabel National Forest towards the east and the Rio Grande National Forest towards the south. It lies in some parts of five counties; Gunnison, Delta, Hinsdale, Saguache, and Montrose counties.

It shares the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness with the White River and the San Isabel National Forests and the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area with the San Isabel National Forest.

This forest was created by Theodore Roosevelt on June 13th of 1905 as the Cochetopa Forest Reserve and named after explorer John W. Gunnison. Today, it is administered jointly with the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests from offices in Delta. There are local ranger district offices found in Paonia and Gunnison.

The seven officially designated wilderness areas lie within Gunnison National Forest and are a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Five of the seven areas lie partially in neighboring National Forests or on land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. These wilderness areas are Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Fossil Ridge Wilderness, Powderhorn Wilderness, La Garita Wilderness, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Raggeds Wilderness, and West Elk Wilderness.

Image Caption: Copper Lake Trail, Crested Butte in Gunnison National Forest. Credit: Bob Pearson/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)