Special Places

 The San Juan National Forest abounds with natural and cultural treasures. Five distinct life zones range from elevations near 5,000 feet to above 14,000 feet.


Chicago Basin

Several of Colorado’s famous “14’ers” can be found in the Weminuche and Lizard Head Wilderness areas. The San Juan also includes the South San Juan Wilderness and the newly designated Hermosa Wilderness.

Special Management Areas (SMAs)

Hermosa Creek SMA

"The purpose of a Special Management Area is to conserve and protect for the benefit of present and future generations the watershed, geological, cultural, natural, scientific, recreational, wildlife, riparian, historical, educational, and scenic resources of the Special Management Area." SJNF encompasses the Hermosa Creek SMA and the Piedra SMA. 

Scenic Byways

Photo of lake and mountains.

Whether you are interested in paved highways or backcountry roads, you can find a route through the San Juan National Forest that provides spectactular mountain views.

Historic Sites

Chimney Rock View

Cultural resources run the gamut from historic mining ghost towns and mills to Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and pit houses to a fire lookout tower that can you can reserve for an unforgetable experience. Some heritage sites offer guided tours; others are unmarked treasures you may happen across in the backcountry.