Gunnison County, Colorado is home to more than 2 million acres of public land. Most of that public land is part of the Gunnison National Forest and managed and protected by the United States Forest Service. The forest offers many opportunities for visitors and locals including hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, mountain biking, camping, OHV, and even cattle ranching. This shared land is one of the greatest assets of the Gunnison Valley.
Locals and visitors alike recreate on the forest. Pay attention to posted signs and maps for allowable activities in the different regions of the forest.
We have pieces of 5 different designated wilderness areas within the Gunnison Valley: the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, the Raggeds Wilderness, the West Elk Wilderness, the Fossil Ridge Wilderness, and the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. They offer quiet, peaceful trails for hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. Hunting and fishing are also allowed in many of these wilderness areas.
Other zones in the Forest offer different recreation opportunities. Mechanized trails allow mountain bikes and other non-motorized access. Miles and miles of trails are accessible to motorized vehicles, primarily dirt bikes, as well.
Our ability to continue to experience these lands depends on all of us to treat each other with respect and follow forest rules and good common sense. The primary principles include obeying all closures and access restrictions as well as using leave no trace (LNT) practices to minimize our impact.