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Colorado
Backpacking Guide

Backpacking in Colorado
Backpacking in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Colorado is world renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation. Backpacking in a National Forest or National Park is an excellent way to experience colorado and get away from the crowds. There are hundreds of camping spots suitable for an overnight or extended backpacking trip. Many sites are also suitable for fishing.

Description - Spending the night beside a rushing mountain brook or in a pine forest beside a high mountain lake is an unforgettable experience! The truly adventurous should try an alpine lake above timberline -- the perfect place for stargazing. Far away from the city lights and above 12,000 feet in elevation, the stars are like nothing you have seen before.

Be sure to keep a clean camp as bears are common. Hang your food from a tree or keep it in airtight containers. Definitely do NOT take any food, body lotions or other greasy and/or smelly products into the tent with you.

Be prepared for cool evenings and hot days. Sunscreen is a must at higher elevations as there is not as much atmosphere to protect you from the intense sun. Also be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms which are a regular occurrence in the mountains in July and August. Lightning is of special concern above timberline.

Treat all water before consuming as there are numerous water born diseases and contaminants. Be aware of mineral contaminants from abandoned mines.

Attractions - Most of the state's backpacking opportunities are located in its vast National Forest land. The San Juan in the South Western corner of the state offers excellent experiences in the rugged San Juan Mountains. The nearby Rio Grande also offers adventures in the San Juan Mountains as well as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The massive Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests has numerous sites in the San Juan and Elk Mountains as well as on the world's largest mesa. The Pike and San Isabel has opportunities in the Sangre de Critso, Collegiate and southern Front Range mountains. The White River offers experiences in the spectacular Elk and Gore ranges as well as the Flat Tops region. The Arapaho and Roosevelt offers backpacking opportunities in the northern Front Range mountains. Finally, the Routt National Forest has sites in the northern part of the state.

Rocky Mountain National Park offers numerous alpine experiences due to its large size and large percentage of land above timberline.

National Parks and Monuments National Forests State Parks
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Colorado
Dinosaur
Florissant Fossil Beds
Great Sand Dunes
Hovenweep
Mesa Verde
Rocky Mountain
Arapaho and Roosevelt
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison
Pike and San Isabel
Rio Grande
Routt
San Juan
White River
Arkansas Headwaters
Barbour Ponds
Barr Lake
Bonny
Boyd Lake
Castlewood Canyon
Chatfield
Cherry Creek
Crawford
Eldorado
Eleven Mile
Golden Gate
Harvey Gap
Highline
Jackson Lake
Lake Pueblo
Lathrop
Lory
Mancos
Mueller
Navajo
North Sterling
Paonia
Pearl Lake
Picnic Rock
Ridgway
Rifle Falls
Rifle Gap
Roxborough
San Luis Lakes
Spinney Mountain
Stagecoach
Sweitzer Lake
Sylvan Lake
Trinidad Lake
Vega

Guide to:
Alamosa
Aspen
Boulder
Breckenridge
Buena Vista
Canon City
Colorado Springs
Cortez
Creede
Crested Butte
Cripple Creek
Delta
Denver
Dillon
Durango
Eagle
Estes Park
Fairplay
Fort Collins
Glenwood Springs
Granby/Grand
Gunnison
Lake City
Leadville
Meeker
Montrose
Ouray
Pueblo
Salida
Silverton
Snowmass Village
South Fork
Steamboat Springs
Summit County
Telluride
Vail
Winter Park
Yampa

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