San Isabel National Forest
San Isabel National Forest is one of eleven National Forests in Colorado. The Forest includes over one million acres of beautiful scenery with snow-capped mountain peaks, spring wildflowers, autumn colors, crystal clear mountain lakes, and clear blue skies to enjoy.
Prior to the establishment of the forest, the presence of American Indians, Spanish Land Grants, homesteading, and the discovery of gold and silver were important in shaping the land.
Cool fact: The San Isabel National Forest contains 19 of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners–peaks over 14,000 feet high.
The lands originally set aside as Forest Reserve in 1902 were renamed the San Isabel National Forest in March 1907. From 1907 until 1945, the forest grew steadily in size as several other forests and additional lands were integrated into it. Today, the forest is administered by three district offices and the supervisor’s office.
The forest is bounded on the west and northwest by the Continental Divide and on the northeast by the Pike National Forest.
The Wet Mountains, Collegiate Peaks, Sawatch Range, Spanish Peaks, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains provide a variety of scenery.
Elevations range from a low of 5,860 feet to the top of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak, at 14,433 feet. The high elevations account for the comfortable summer temperatures and the year-round snow on some of the higher peaks.
Black bear, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, wild turkey, and mountain lions are among the animals and birds that make the forest their home.
If you come to the San Isabel National Forest for an armchair cruise from your sedan, or are a goat-like beast hiking fourteen thousand foot peaks, there’s something you need to do. We all need to Leave no Trace and Care for Colorado NOW, because tomorrow might be too late. Read more about what you can do today.