Spanning nearly 1.8 million acres of southwestern Colorado, San Juan National Forest offers unparalleled opportunities for recreation. The massive forest contains diverse landscapes, from the alpine peaks of the Rockies to beautiful desert mesas. Bird-watching and other wildlife viewing are year-round activities in this forest, and visitors can choose from hundreds of miles of trails through which they can venture into the wilderness for the best peek at local nature. For those who enjoy driving to the best mountain vistas, San Juan National Forest features many scenic byways suitable for any vehicle. Camping, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding are all available here. While nature lovers will undoubtedly enjoy San Juan National Forest, history buffs will also feel at home among the historical sites located within the forest, including the famous Chimney Rock National Monument.
Activities in San Juan National Forest
The greatest appeal of San Juan National Forest is undoubtedly the beautiful natural features. This massive forest features some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the entire state of Colorado. Wildflower fields abound throughout the forest, representing just a portion of the diverse flora native to the area. Whether on a lengthy camping trip or short hike, visitors to the forest are all but guaranteed to see majestic examples of area wildlife. Other activities are abundant within San Juan National Forest.
Dozens of fishing holes are spread throughout the forest’s many lakes, and hunters with the appropriate permits will find ample game in the forest’s designated hunting areas.
There are numerous opportunities for stargazing free from the light pollution typical of cities and towns. San Juan National Forest features elevations in excess of 14,000 feet, giving visitors an opportunity for stargazing clarity not found at lower altitudes.
For those who enjoy a scavenger hunt, the forest has numerous ranger-approved geocaches hidden throughout the area for visitors to find.
How to get to San Juan National Forest
Address: 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81301
Fee: Entry fee $0
The massive size and scope of San Juan National Forest make this destination perfect for all skill levels. The forest features strenuous hikes and casual walks, all with amazing scenery and wildlife. Numerous scenic byways and RV-friendly campsites make San Juan National Forest an ideal RV trip destination. Whether winter or summer, San Juan National Forest has a recreation opportunity suitable for any traveler.
Frequently Asked Questions About San Juan National Forest
Is there a fee to get into San Juan National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into the San Juan National Forest. However, there may be fees or permits required for certain activities in the forest such as cutting down a Christmas tree or gathering wood.
Is San Juan National Forest open all year round?
Yes, the San Juan National Forest is open year-round. Some developed campgrounds are only open during the summer season, and other services may not be available in winter months, however.
What is the best time to visit San Juan National Forest?
The best time to visit the San Juan National Forest is during the late spring or fall. The weather during both of those seasons is still warm enough so you can hike and do other outdoor activities. The fall season also brings beautiful autumn colors.
How many hiking trails does San Juan National Forest have?
There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the San Juan National Forest. You'll find easy trails for beginner hikers, along with strenuous trails for experienced hikers, and everything in between.
What is the closest town to San Juan National Forest?
Durango is one of the closest towns to the San Juan National Forest. Durango is a sizeable town, and you'll find places to shop, eat, sleep, and restock to continue camping.