Special Places


Creek in the grass within Lost Creek WildernessThe Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands is home to nine congressionally designated Wilderness areas with over 450,000 acres of untrammeled opportunities for challenge, solitude, tranquility and personal growth. 

Three of our Wilderness areas - Holy Cross, Mount Evans and Mount Massive - require visitors to obtain self-issued permits that are available at each trailhead at no cost. Permits are required to measure the number of visitors in the Wilderness and educate Wilderness visitors about the benefits of minimizing impacts. 

Highlighted Areas

Rampart Range Recreation Area

Welcome to the Rampart Range Recreation Area (RRRA)! RRRA is a unique setting for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to enjoy a variety of riding experiences. From the novice to the expert riders, ATV or motorcycle, the Rampart has something for everyone. Please make sure you are prepared and ride within your abilities. Changing conditions, natural hazards, as well as oncoming traffic may be encountered. Please become familiar with and obey all local rules and regulations. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) for the South Platte Ranger District are available for free at your local USFS office or can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/psicc/mvum.

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Picket Wire Canyon

Picket Wire Canyon

For a unique and unforgettable family experience, tour Picket Wire Canyon. Located on the Comanche National Grassland south of La Junta, Colorado, these primitive canyons are home to the largest dinosaur tracksite in North America. The dinosaur tracksite is located in Picket Wire Canyon on the banks of the Purgatoire River in southeast Colorado. The tracksite is the largest documented assemblage of trackways in North America. Over 1500 prints in 100 separate trackways extend across a quarter mile expanse of bedrock.

Picket Wire Canyon Auto Tours: Guided auto tours are the easiest way to experience Picket Wire Canyonlands and learn about its rich, colorful past. During the tour, knowledgeable guides will show you difficult to find dinosaur tracks, and the interesting prehistoric, historic, and natural features of the canyons. The auto tour is the only motorized access into Picket Wire Canyon. Reservations are required via www.recreation.gov or call 1 (877) 444 6777. All day tours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are offered on Saturdays in May, June, September, and October. Sign up early because the tours fill up fast! Due to rough roads, visitors will need their own four-wheel drive vehicle. 

Hiking, biking or horseback riding: Other ways to visit include hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Because of the rugged terrain and long distances to various sites, these visitors need to plan carefully for hot weather conditions by carrying ample water and leaving very early.

The round trip hike to the Dinosaur Tracks is 11.3 miles, starting at the Withers Canyon Trailhead. From here, you will descend 250 feet into the canyon. The Picket Wire Trail passes several points of interest in route to the tracksite. 

Read about the geology of the Comanche National Grasslands. (.pdf, 1.3 MB]

Frontier Pathways

A scenic drive through the Wet Mountains of the San Isabel National Forest.  For more information visit www.frontierpathways.org .

Lost Creek Wilderness

Lost Creek Wilderness was officially designated in the Colorado Wilderness Act of 1980. Today it totals 119,790 acres. Elevations range from 8,000 to 12,400 feet above sea level. Lost Creek was named after a creek of the same name that repeatedly disappears undergound only to reappear again further downstream where it ultimately becomes Goose Creek.

There are nearly 130 miles of trails that traverse tree-lined mountain parks, fascinating rounded granite domes, and rare granite arches. Black bears, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, and bobcats share the region. Vegetation includes ponderosa, bristlecone, and lodgepole pine, aspen, spruce, fir, and alpine tundra.

Please help keep Wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace practices. 

Davenport Campground

A developed, tent-only campground camping with the following attractions: hiking, fishing, bicycling, motorcycle, and ATV. Access to Squirrel Creek, 2nd Mace, and Silver Circle multi-use trails. Also access to Dome Rock and South Creek. ATV use is prohibited on Dome Rock and South Creek trails.

This campground is mostly a first-come, first-serve site, and there is a self-registration station at the entrance of the campground. Three sites are available for reservation. During the summer, the campground receives heavy use on the weekends and holidays. The maximum number of people per site is 10.

Carrizo Auto Tour Interpretive Site

Informational kiosks for this self-guided, 180-mile tour highlights many points of interest, scenery, and amenities found on the Carrizo Unit including the Granada-Fort Union military road, Carrizo and Picture canyons, the Prairie Chicken viewing area, and the Aubry cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. Roads are good when dry, but use caution if wet.