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Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres (1,492.55 sq mi, or 3,865.68 km²) [1] in (in descending order of land area) parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.

Uncompahgre National Forest
Wetterhorn peak.jpg
Wetterhorn Peak in Uncompahgre National Forest
Map showing the location of Uncompahgre National Forest
Map showing the location of Uncompahgre National Forest
LocationColorado, United States
Nearest cityMontrose, CO
Coordinates37°58′59″N 107°46′55″W / 37.983°N 107.782°W / 37.983; -107.782Coordinates: 37°58′59″N 107°46′55″W / 37.983°N 107.782°W / 37.983; -107.782
Area955,229 acres (3,865.67 km2)
EstablishedJune 14, 1905
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
WebsiteGrand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

Within the national forest boundaries can be found the arid Uncompahgre Plateau and the northern portion of the San Juan Mountains. The forest contains three alpine wilderness areas, Uncompahgre (formerly the Big Blue Wilderness), Mount Sneffels and Lizard Head.

The Uncompahgre National Forest is managed jointly with the Grand Mesa and Gunnison National Forests headquartered in Delta. There are local ranger district offices located in Montrose, Gunnison, and Norwood.


The varied climate, sparse population, and abundance of sun make the Uncompahgre National Forest popular with jeepers, atv'ers, sight seers, and hikers. A common recreational activity within the Forest boundaries is scenic driving, thanks in part to the Million Dollar Highway.

There are several dirt roads within the Uncompahgre; some are mining roads left from the 1800s mineral rush, others are occasionally used by the Forest Service. Paved roads include the San Juan Skyway, Alpine Loop, the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway and Owl Creek Pass, which is gravel.

Wilderness areasEdit

There are three officially designated wilderness areas lying within Uncompahgre National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. One of them lies mostly in a neighboring National Forest, while another one extends onto land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (as indicated).

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit