What is Wilderness?
Wilderness is "nature on it's own terms," where natural processes are the primary influences and human activity is limited to primitive recreation and minimal tools. In Wilderness we experience wild places without intention of disturbing or destroying natural processes. Changes will occur primarily through natural disturbance, with minimal human influence.
The Wilderness Act of September 3, 1964 defines Wilderness in this way:
"Wilderness is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
There are 8 Wilderness areas in Colorado which are managed by the White River National Forest. Regulations are in place to protect and preserve these wild lands; it is your responsibility to know and adhere to these rules while traveling and camping in wilderness. Select the "Area Management" tab after selecting the Wilderness links below to see the specific regulations for each Wilderness.
The 82-mile Flat Tops Trail connects the towns of Meeker and Yampa. Approximately 40 miles of the byway are unpaved, but they are accessible by normal touring cars.
The Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway receives between 2 and 10 feet of snow in the winter and is not maintained for automobile use. The road is open to snowmobile and cross-country ski use.
Visit the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway's web site to download an audio tour, view a virtual flyover, and learn more about the history of the area.
The Southern half of the White River National Forest is anchored by The West Elk Scenic Byway. This scenic drive is bookended by the twin summits of Mount Sopris in Carbondale and continues to the deep chasms of the Back Canyon of the Gunnison.
Magnificent landscapes are abundant on this 205 mile scenic drive, which is rich with historic stops highlighting ways of life from the Native Americans, the miners, the ranchers, and early settlers of Colorado.
Visit the West Elk Scenic Loop for downloadable directions, maps, and pictures that will help you plan your journey across this scenic byway.
The Historic Crystal Mill near Marble is one of the most picturesque and photographed mining sites in Colorado.