Salida Ranger District

Map of the District

Hiker looking out over mountain view from Monarch Crest Trail




5575 Cleora Road (just east of Salida off Highway 50)
Salida, CO 81201
Ph: 719-539-3591
Fax: 719-539-3593

Browns Canyon National Monument Information
USFS Browns Canyon Website (Q&A, Photos, Every Kid in a Park Fact Sheet, etc):

The Salida Ranger District is part of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests. The district encompasses over 440,000 acres of public lands and is located in the central part of Colorado near the towns of Salida, Buena Vista and Poncha Springs. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, 4-wheeling and camping surrounded by towering peaks that rise above the valley floor. The Arkansas River flows through the valley and is one of Colorado's premiere whitewater rafting areas.


Elevations in the Upper Arkansas River valley vary from 7,000 to over 14,000 feet. Temperatures vary throughout the year from the low teens in the winter to the 80's during the summer months. The valley is known locally as the "Banana Belt of Colorado" because of the generally mild temperatures and sunny days. Springtime can be deceptive with sporadic spring snowstorms occurring from March to May. During the summer months, days are warm with cool nights. Afternoon thundershowers are common during July and August. The fall months are are generally dry and sunny with cooler morning temperatures.


Nearly 80% of Chaffee County lands are managed by Federal and State agencies as "public lands". The main river corridor is managed by Colorado State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management. The Colorado State Forest Service manages designated state lands throughout the county with the U.S. Forest Service managing most forested and high elevation portions of the valley.

District boundaries encompass a portion of the Sangre de Cristo mountains west to the Continental Divide and Monarch Pass (11,386 feet) and south to Poncha Pass (9,015 feet). The northern boundary stops north of Buena Vista and splits the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area between the Salida and Leadville Ranger Districts. The eastern boundary of the District is situated northeast of Salida and meanders north towards Trout Creek Pass.


The landscape on National Forest lands varies from desert-like pinon and juniper forests in the foothills to majestic Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir in the montane zone. High elevations areas from 9,200 to 11,000 feet are abundant with moisture seeking trees such as the Engelmann spruce and Subalpine fir. Alpine areas are located from 10,500 feet to 14,000 feet and are devoid of trees with short scrubby bushes and tough alpine grasses. Wildflowers abound throughout the subalpine zone and mid-summer displays are a riot of colors in high mountain meadows. Aspen groves are scattered throughout the forest and bring forth golden bands of foliage during the fall.


Caring for the Land and Serving People

Our mission is to achieve quality land management under the sustainable multiple-use management concept to meet the diverse needs of people.


Salida Ranger District recreation page 

Prescribed fire information on the Salida Ranger District

Fuelwood Information for the Salida Ranger District