Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find a job with the Forest Service?

For any questions related to "EMPLOYMENT" please go to our employment section. All Forest Service jobs are listed in the USAJOBS database at

How do I get an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass?

Details about obtaining a pass are available at

Does the Forest Service give away free trees?

The Forest Service no longer gives away trees. We recommend you check with your state forestry department for more. Find your state forestry department by state at Also, each state has a Forest Service nursery that supplies "source-identified, locally-adapted" seedlings to private landowners. You can locate the nursery for your state on our National Nursery Directory at

How do I make reservation to stay in Forest Service cabins or lookout towers?

Forest Service lodging sources include unique cabin and lookout tower rentals. To make a reservation, you must directly contact the location where you wish to stay. There is a list of locations that offer cabin and lookout tower rentals at

I have a problem or question about a tree on my property. Can someone help me?

The USDA Forest Service does not provide this service, but many state forestry departments do. Contact your state forestry department to see if they provide this service. You can find your state forestry department online at For the Colorado State Forest Service, visit

How do I get Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl to appear at my event?

Contact the National Forest nearest you at or call (202) 205-4995 during normal office hours. In the Washington, D.C. area, fax your request letter to (202) 690-5658 or mail it with at least three weeks' advance notice to USDA Forest Service, Attn: Conservation Education, PO Box 96090, Washington, DC 20090-6090. Your request letter must include the following:

- Title="list of info required in request letter"
- Which figure you are requesting, Smokey or Woodsy
- Name of the event
- Purpose of the event
- Main audience and expected attendance
- Date
- Time
- Location
- How many hours the figure is requested to perform
- The kind of presentation needed (just an appearance or an appearance combined with an educational activity or talk)
- Contact person and phone number during working hours
- Do you have someone willing to wear the costume?

I want to scatter burial ashes of a loved one. Can I do this in a national forest?

There are no rules or regulations within the Forest Service addressing this issue. However, some states regulate or prohibit the scattering of ashes. It is important you check local and state regulations and laws pertaining to this activity.

Can I plant a memorial tree in a National Forest?

The Forest Service "Plant-A-Tree" Program permits individuals and groups to donate money for planting trees on National Forests. The trees may be planted to memorialize loved ones or to commemorate special events such as births, weddings, or anniversaries. For a suggested minimum donation of $10, which pays for 10-15 seedlings, donors receive a certificate acknowledging their gift. If desired, the name of the person in whose honor the donation is made will appear on the certificate. The trees, planted mostly in large plantations, will not be individually identified by donor. Smaller (or larger) donations will be acceptable in most cases. Business groups may participate in the program as long as their participation is non-commercial. Donations may be made in person and by mail at all Forest Service offices. Forest Service offices are listed in the telephone directory under "U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture." There are two other similar programs. The American Forests group plants memorial trees in national forests in honor of loved ones. 

Where can I ride and/or camp with my horse on National Forests?

Horses are allowed anywhere on National Forests unless posted otherwise. You do not have to ride your horse only on established trails and roads; you can ride anywhere, however please do not cut switchbacks.  You may take horses into designated wilderness areas; but please use low impact camping and horse tethering methods.  Please do not tie horses to trees for long periods; use hobbles or high-lines instead. .Avoid wet, muddy trails to minimize damage from horse traffic.
Certain trails and trailheads may not be well-suited to horse use or trailer parking. Restrictions:
Horses are NOT allowed in developed campgrounds unless the campgrounds are specifically established for equestrian use.
The spread of noxious weeds is a serious problem, and we need the help of livestock owners to prevent their spread.  Only certified weed-free forage products or pelletized feeds are allowed.  Please contact the local ranger station for a list of certified weed-free hay suppliers in your area.  If you cannot purchase certified hay, you may use pelletized feeds.  

Can I recreationally shoot in National Forests? Where?

You can target practice in most areas of National Forest, with some exceptions. No shooting is allowed within 300 feet of a campground, trail head, residence, or any place people occupy. Additional areas that do not allow shooting will be posted. You are not allowed to shoot across or on a National Forest road, trail, or body of water. You must shoot in a safe manner, know where your round is going, and have a safe backstop. You cannot place a target on a live tree.
There are established target ranges on some National Forests.

Can I camp anywhere I want to on National Forests?

You can generally camp anywhere on National Forests unless the area is posted otherwise. If you need your vehicle to camp, there may be some restrictions on where you can go. You may not drive or camp where you will cause resource damage, such as making vehicle ruts off roadways or damaging trees or streams. We recommend that you camp at least 150 feet from all lakes and streams. The distance you may pull your vehicle off an established roadway will vary, depending on the travel management policies of each forest. Generally, you may not drive more than 300 feet off a roadway to park, but this distance may be less in some areas. Please contact the local office near where you want to go.
If you want to build a campfire, please check to see if any restrictions or fire bans are in effect. You may collect incidental amounts of dead and downed wood (sticks) to burn without a permit, but you may not transport any wood off the forest without a permit. Do not leave a campfire unattended. Make sure your fire is out COLD before you leave.
You may not drive nails into trees or damage live trees in any way.

Can I bring my dog to the Forest? Can I have my dog off leash?

Yes, you may bring your dog to the Forest, but leashes are required in some areas, including some designated wilderness areas, all developed campgrounds, picnic areas, and day-use areas. In most other areas of a National Forest, including trails, dogs are not required to be on a leash, but they should be under your control at all times. We recommend that you keep your dog on a leash when you are around other forest users, other dogs, or are in bear country.
Dog are not allowed to chase wildlife, except where permitted during hunting seasons.

All designated wilderness areas require dogs to be under control at all times. The areas that require your dog to be on a leash include the following: Cache La Poudre, Comanche Peak, Collegiate Peaks, Eagles Nest, Fossil Ridge, Holy Cross, Hunter-Fryingpan, Indian Peaks, La Garita, Lizard Head, Lost Creek, Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Mt. Evans, Mt. Massive, Mt. Sneffels, Neota, Powderhorn, Ptmarigan Peak, Raggeds, Rawah, and Uncompahgre.

Where can I have a campfire in National Forests?

You may have campfires in developed campgrounds but only in the metal rings or boxes provided at the site. You may also have campfires anywhere you are legally camped when you are "dispersed camping" (camping outside of developed, fee campgrounds) in the general forest areas. In hot, dry seasons, there may be SEASONAL FIRE RESTRICTIONS that prohibit open flames of any kind. This may include campfires even in developed sites. It is always a good idea to call the local forest office to find out the most up-to-date information about any fire restrictions before you go. When camping in designated wilderness areas, you should check to see if campfires are allowed in the area you will be using. Read the campfire regulations at the trailhead before you go into the Wilderness area. You also should break down your fire rings and disperse your campfire ashes to "leave no trace" when you leave the area. You may not leave trash in your campfire ring anywhere on National Forests. You usually do not need a permit to have a campfire, nor to pick up and burn small amounts of dead wood, but you may not take firewood out of the forest without a fuel wood permit.

Do I need a permit to use the National Forest? When? How do I get one?

You do not usually need a permit for general access or use of National Forest lands for recreation. Some heavily-used designated wilderness areas may require a permit to monitor and manage the number of people using the area, but most do not.

You WILL need a permit IF:
- You plan to remove any forest products such as firewood, poles, ferns, rocks;
- You plan to use the National Forest land for camping for an extended period of time (usually more than 14 days);
- You plan to use the National Forest for any type of profit or commercial use, such as outfitting or guiding

Forest product permits include the following: personal-use fuel wood; commercial-use fuel wood; personal-use transplants; personal-use boughs; ferns; posts and poles; mushrooms; and Christmas trees.
Special use permits are issued for the following: outfitting/guiding; still photography/motion picture permits; special events (such as weddings, reunions); and recreation residences.

Where can I find information on avalanche danger?

In Colorado, avalanche information can be found at:
In Wyoming, please use the Web site at:

How tall are the falls on Fish Creek, located near Steamboat Springs, Colorado? How do I get there?

Fish Creek Falls, located 5 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, drops 283 feet. Drive up Fish Creek Falls Road from 3rd and Lincoln in downtown Steamboat Springs, next to the Post Office. Travel 5 miles uphill to the self-service fee parking areas. From there, trails lead to an overlook or to the base of the falls. Dogs must be on a leash and bicyclists must dismount and walk their bikes to the first bridge across Fish Creek. Restrooms and drinking water are available during the summer season. The area is designed to be fully accessible and also offers many educational and interpretive opportunities.

When do I need a Special Use authorization from the Forest Service? What is a Special Use Permit or authorization?

Generally, you will need special, written authorization to do something that is not normally available to the general public. This may include the following:
1. If you intend to occupy, use, or build on National Forest system land for personal or business purposes, whether the duration is temporary or long term.
2. If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the use.
3. If an activity on National Forest system land involves individuals or organizations with 75 or more participants or spectators.
A special-use authorization is a legal document such as a permit, lease, or easement that allows the holder to have certain occupancy, use rights, or other privileges on public lands. The authorization is granted for a specific period of time for a specific use.

How do I know if what I propose to do on the National Forest is appropriate or consistent with the mission of the National Forest?

1. Your request must be consistent with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and special orders that apply to the National Forests.
2. Your request must be consistent with the Forest Plan that established standards and guidelines for management of the land where the activity will take place. A copy of the forest plan is available at your local Forest Service office and in many libraries.
3. Your request must not endanger public health or safety.
4. Your request must not require exclusive or perpetual use or occupancy.
5. Your request cannot conflict or interfere with administrative use by the Forest Service, other authorized existing uses, or uses of adjacent nonfederal lands.
6. The applicant must not owe any fees to the Forest Service from a prior or existing special-use authorization.
7. No gambling or providing of sexually oriented commercial services can be authorized on National Forest system land, even if permitted under state law.
8. No military or paramilitary training or exercises can be authorized on NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM land unless the exercises are federally funded.
9. No disposal of solid waste or storage or disposal of radioactive or other hazardous substances can be authorized on NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM land.

How do I apply for a Special Use Authorization?

1. Contact a Forest Service office and request an application. You will receive an application, depending upon your requested use. Application information is also available on the special uses home page at
2. Prior to submitting the proposal, you are required to arrange a pre-application meeting at the local Forest Service office where the use is being requested. A staff member will discuss your proposal, potential land use conflicts, application procedures and qualifications, probable time frames, fees and bonding requirements, additional coordination with other agencies, environmental reports, and field reviews.
3. Most commercial uses require additional information with the application. You may need business plans, operating plans, liability insurance, licenses/registrations, or other documents. A commercial use is when an applicant intends to make use of NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM lands for business or financial gain.
4. Complete and submit the application form, including supporting documents, to the local Forest Service office. An incomplete proposal could delay the processing.

What are recreation events and who needs a permit?

Recreation events are commercial activities requiring temporary, authorized use of National Forest system land. Examples of recreation events include, but are not limited to, animal, bicycle, motocross, or triathlon races; jeep rallies; dog trials; fishing contests; rendezvous; rodeos; adventure games; youth treks; wagon trains; concerts; and other similar events. A permit is required for these type of events, regardless of the number of people involved in the activity.

How do I know if my recreation event is commercial or not?

A commercial use or activity on NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM land occurs when (a) an applicant intends to charge an entry or participation fee, or (b) the primary purpose is the sale of a good or service, regardless of the intent to produce a profit. Money collected may cover expense categories, such as food, transportation, prizes, advertising, purchase replacement of equipment, or compensation for the leader of the activity.

Use is considered noncommercial if the fees charged are used only for the purpose of paying for actual expenses directly related to operating or staging the activity, with any excess funds returned to participants. The fees charged should not include costs for employees or personnel who stage or run the event.

Is a fee required for a recreation event?

Yes, land use rental fees are required and there are two ways to determine the fees: (1) 5% of adjusted gross receipts for one time events and 3% of adjusted gross receipts for multiple events under a single permit; or (2) using the minimum fees for recreation events that have been established, but may vary, by National Forest.

There may be other costs for which you are responsible as part of your authorized activity. Liability insurance coverage and a performance bond to ensure protection of the environment and site cleanup may be required. Depending on the size and duration of your activity, costs associated with law enforcement, crowd control, safety issues, and sanitation may also be required.

Where can I look for further information regarding special use permits and recreation events on national forests?

Complete regulations on special use permits and recreation events on national forests are published at 36 CFR 251. You may obtain copies from your local Forest Service office, law library, or by visiting the National Archives and Records Administration's Code of Federal Regulations home page at

What are non-commercial group uses?

Non-commercial groups uses are any activity conducted on National Forest system lands involving 75 or more people, either as participants or spectators, in which (a) no entry or participation fee is charged, and (b) the primary purpose of the activity is not the sale of a good or service. Examples of non-commercial activities include club or family recreation outings, reunions, and weddings. No permit fee, bonding, or insurance is required for non-commercial group uses.

Who needs a non-commercial group use permit?

A permit is required for all non-commercial groups uses.

How do I apply for a non-commercial group use permit and how long will it take to get the permit?

To apply:

Contact the ranger district office in the area where you wish to have your activity. You must complete an application providing (1) the applicant's name and mailing address; (2) if the applicant is an organization, the name of an individual authorized to receive notice of the decision on the application; (3) a description of the activity; (4) the location and description of the National Forest system lands and facilities you would like to use; (5) the estimated number of participants and spectators; (6) the starting and ending date and time of the activity; and (7) the name of the person or persons 21 years of age or older who will sign the permit on behalf of the applicant. The application must be received by the local ranger district office at least 72 hours in advance of your activity.

All applications for noncommercial group uses will be deemed granted unless denied within 48 hours of receipt. If your application is granted, a permit will be issued prior to the start of your activity.

What is Outfitting and or Guiding and who needs a permit?

Outfitting is providing through rental or livery any saddle or pack animal, vehicle or boat, tents, or camp gear, or similar supplies or equipment, for pecuniary remuneration or other gain. The term Outfitter includes the holder's/permittees employees, agents, and instructors. Guiding is providing services or assistance (such as supervision, protection, education, training, packing, touring, subsistence, interpretation, or other assistance to individuals or groups in their pursuit of a natural resource-based outdoor activity) for pecuniary remuneration or other gain. The term "Guide" includes the holder's/permittees employees, agents, and instructors. A permit is required for these type of events, regardless of the number of people involved in the activity.

Is a fee required for Outfitting and Guiding?

Yes, land use rental fees are required and is the greater of (1) or (4), plus (2) and/or (3), if applicable. The actual amount will depend upon the nature and portion of use of each agency lands and can vary by National Forest and/or Bureau of Land Management Field Area: (1) 3% of adjusted gross receipts, published fee schedule, flat fee, or bid and prospectus. (2) Assigned/Reserved Site fees. (3) Grazing fees. (4) Minimum fee.

There may be other costs for which you are responsible as part of your authorized activity. Liability insurance coverage and a performance bond to ensure protection of the environment and site cleanup may be required. Depending on the size and duration of your activity, costs associated with law enforcement, crowd control, safety issues, and sanitation may also be required.

Do I need a back country permit to camp on National Forests?

In the Rocky Mt. Region, you need a back country permit in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (near Rocky Mt. National Park and Boulder, CO). Also, the White River National Forest now requires a Wilderness Pass to use the Holy Cross and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Areas. They are FREE and can be self-issued at wilderness trailheads. Monthly passes are available at the District offices. Entrance Fees and Use Fees are required in some areas but are separate from a back country permit.

Even if the Wilderness you are traveling through does not require a permit, you should register at the trailhead, be aware of all regulations, camp well off the trail and away from streams and lakes, use an existing site (if it's a legal one) and LEAVE NO TRACE. For more information about Wilderness use, please visit the Leave No Trace Web site at:

Where can I ride my ATV? Can I ride cross-country, off roads and trails?

In most areas of National Forests in the Rocky Mountain Region, you need to stay on roads and trails that are designated as OPEN to motorized travel. In many areas, you may not take your ATV behind a closed gate, or travel OFF the road or trail (cross-country), unless the area is specifically designated for that use. Motorized vehicles are not allowed in any Wilderness Areas. You may want to contact the local office of the forest you intend to visit for more details and maps to help you learn where you may ride. Many forests have ATV-friendly trails that provide great riding. Illegal, off-road use by ATV's can be a problem in some areas, especially during hunting seasons. Areas may be seasonally closed to ATV use to protect the environment, to prevent erosion on trails and roads, or to provide secure places for big-game animals. Illegal use of motorized vehicles can be disruptive to other hunters and can move entire herds of game animals out of areas and limit the ability of anyone to hunt them. PLEASE use your ATV responsibly. For information on how you can "Tread Lightly" on the land with your ATV, please visit:!/tlohv.htm.

In Colorado, all ATVs must be registered with the State of Colorado. Home state registrations are no longer recognized. Please contact a Colorado State Parks and Recreation Office to register your ATV.

What are special-use authorizations?

A special-use authorization is a legal document such as a permit, lease, or easement, which allows occupancy, use, rights, or privileges of National Forest system land. The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time.

Will filing a mining claim enable me to buy land for about $1 an acre?
Are there ways that I can buy BLM land?
Can I homestead land?
Is there any land for sale and other related information.

Check out these and related topics at the current web page at

Where can I get information on hunting? Where can I get a hunting license? What about chronic wasting disease?

The Forest Service and BLM manage the habitat for wildlife, while the hunting seasons, bag limits, and licenses for game animals are handled by each state's game and fish agency. In Colorado, that is the Colorado Division of Wildlife. For information, updates on chronic wasting disease and a directory of Division of Wildlife field offices, please visit their Web site at Links to other states will be available soon.

Hunting is allowed on most National Forest and BLM lands, including designated Wilderness Areas. However, you still need to be aware of and follow any existing restrictions for the areas you wish to hunt. For example, wheeled game carts are not allowed in Wilderness Areas because they are a mechanical device. Also, in some Forest areas, certain roads and trails may be seasonally closed to motorized travel (including ATV's) during the wet fall months to prevent damage and erosion. You should contact the local Forest or BLM office near the area you wish to hunt to find out about travel management policies and any restrictions that may affect your hunting area. They can also provide you with information about any other activities occurring in your hunting area, such as domestic livestock (sheep or cows), timber sales, prescribed fires, or recreation events.

How do I become a firefighter?

Seasonal Firefighter - People interested in a job as a seasonal firefighter must apply to the agency they are interested in working for. Each agency (Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Idaho, etc.) has its own process for hiring seasonal employees. You may want to consider applying to more than one agency. To become a wildland firefighter, you must be between the 18 and 35 years old and pass a physical fitness test. The average firefighter is paid $8.00/hour. They sometimes earn time and a half or "hazard duty" pay. Most agencies hire a fair number of employees on a seasonal basis (generally from May to September). Almost without exception, regardless of the type of work seasonal employees are hired to do, everyone receives basic firefighter training. During seasons where there are a lot of fires, people who have had basic fire training are called upon to help organized fire crews. If you do an outstanding job, regardless of what function you are in, you will be noticed and your chances of getting a "fire job" next season will be greatly increased.

Professional Full-time Firefighter - Check with the agency you are interested in and obtain an information package on how to apply for these types of jobs.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

What kinds of aircraft are used in fire suppression activities?

Helicopters - In a typical year, there are 15-20 "heavy" and "medium" helicopters under contract in the United States for wildland firefighting purposes. Also, there are an additional 175 under contract on a "call when needed" basis. Helicopters support firefighters on the ground by dropping water, foam or retardant on flaming trees, brush and even structures to cool hot spots and prevent a fire from spreading. Air tankers - Air tankers are large planes fitted with tanks for transporting and dropping fire retardant or water. Their capability ranges from 2,000 gallons to the larger aircraft that are capable of delivering 3,000 gallons. Air tankers drop their load in a long string, creating a line of retardant. The purpose of the retardant is to slow the fire down in order to give ground support forces the opportunity to build firelines. A pink dye is added to give the pilot an idea of where the drop landed. In a typical year, 40-50 air tankers are under contract to state and federal agencies for wildland firefighting purposes. Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) - A MAFFS unit is a pressurized 3,000 gallon tank system containing either water or a water-based retardant designed to fit into a C-130 aircraft. MAFFS units can only be utilized when there is imminent danger to life and property and other aerial resources are exhausted or committed. Lead Planes - These planes are used to "lead" the air tankers to and through their retardant drops and are also used for aerial reconnaissance of fire areas.

Infrared Aircraft - These are aircraft equipped with highly specialized infrared mapping systems. The Infrared scanners locate hot spots inside and outside a fire's perimeter. Infrared scanners can pinpoint a 6-inch hot spot from an altitude of 8,000 feet (1.5 miles) above ground level and can cover almost one million acres in one hour. Flights are generally flown after sunset and before sunrise when temperatures between the terrain and the fire differ the most, making it easier to pinpoint heat sources.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

How will an increase in the use of fire benefit ecosystem health?

The effects of fire can retard or accelerate the natural development of plant communities, alter species diversity, change nutrient flows, and interact with other physical, chemical, and biological systems. Thus, for most North American ecosystems, fire sustains functional ecosystems.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

Throughout history, what are some of the most memorable fires?

The National Interagency Fire Center maintains a FAQ Web site which includes a great table of fire history at

What is fire's natural role in ecosystems and why do we need to be concerned about this?

More than 100 years of excluding fire, combined with past land-use practices, have altered the landscape. This has resulted in changes such as a heavy buildup of dead vegetation, dense stands of trees, a shift to species that have not evolved and adapted to fire, and, occasionally, even an increase in non-native fire-prone plants. Because of these conditions, today's fires tend to be larger, burn hotter, and spread farther and faster, making them more severe, more dangerous, and more costly in human, economic, and ecologic terms.

The goal of the fire policy is to restore the natural balance by adopting land management practices that integrate fire into ecosystems as an essential natural process. Fire can be used to reduce the buildup of dead and downed trees and curb insect and disease infestations, while releasing and recycling nutrients essential for the growth and reproduction of many plant species. Land managers must balance wildland fire suppression with the use of fire for resource benefit.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

What is a "prescribed" fire?

A prescribed fire is any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives (i.e., to reduce flammable fuels, such as the accumulation of brush, logs, etc. on forest floors; or to help restore ecosystem health). Prescribed fires are preplanned ignitions, with predetermined boundaries. They are conducted only under certain weather conditions (i.e., during periods of low wind) when flame length and heat can be controlled. Land managers must obtain approval of prescribed fire plans from applicable federal or state agencies before conducting planned burns. In addition, all applicable requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be met on federal lands. Before federal land management activities (i.e., trail building, timber harvesting, use of fire, etc.) are conducted, NEPA requires that the environmental impacts of these activities be analyzed to assess their impacts on cultural resources, wetlands, soil, water quality, air quality, visibility, and other resources.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

What tools other than prescribed fire do Federal agencies have to reduce fuels hazards?

Besides wildland fire, fuel treatment may be accomplished by mechanical, chemical, biological, and manual means. In some areas, fuel accumulations may be so heavy that use of wildland fire may not be practical. In these cases pre-treatment of the area by another means, such as selective timber harvest, may be necessary before wildland fire may be applied.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

What is the relationship between fire and air quality?

Wildland fires occur naturally and are one of the many natural sources of particulate matter (tiny particles such as dust, soot, etc.) Particulate matter is the main pollutant of concern from smoke because it can cause serious health problems. Smoke can also adversely affect the clarity (visual range) of our air. Wildland fire is also part of the natural ecological process of many ecosystems. Without wildland fires the ecological health of many forests, rangelands and wilderness areas will decline.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

What can homeowners do to protect their homes from wildland fire and ensure their home can be protected in the event of a fire?

Use fire resistant building material. The roof and exterior of homes should be constructed of non-combustible or fire resistant materials such as fire resistant roofing materials, tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone. Wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, and other highly combustible materials should be treated with fire retardant chemicals. If a fire does occur near a home in the wildlands, homeowners have the responsibility to create a "defensible space" so that firefighters may safely protect their homes. Examples of defensible space are: cleaning roof surfaces and gutters regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials, or Removing portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney, maintaining a fuel break around all structures, etc.

For other fire related questions see the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) FAQ Web site at

How to effectively search this Web site and find useful answers quickly.

Search by FREQUENCY: If you think your question is fairly routine and is frequently asked by others, you can start by reviewing the first 20 questions listed. They are placed at the top based on how often they are viewed. Search by FOREST or TOPIC: Under the word "Topic" drop down to the resource or management topic or sub-topic of interest to you. Many answers apply to all National Forests within the Rocky mountain Region. If you want to see if a specific answer exists for the National Forest you will be visiting, use the drop down menu under "Forest." Search by KEYWORD: Enter keywords that are meaningful to the answer that you are searching. For instance, if you want to know 'Where can I have a Campfire?', some good keywords would be "Campfire, Camping, Fire Ban, Fire Restrictions". Some poor choices for words would be "Rules" or "Permits". Rules and permits are both too general to be valid search keywords. If too many results are pulled and do not seem relevant, try limiting the search categories by using the tips below. CLICK ON the question of interest to view the complete details on the question and answer and to see several related questions. Some quick tips about searching: * If searching with multiple keywords, to make one or two of them mandatory, place a "+" before it. * Try to limit keywords to 3 or 4. * Avoid fill-in words used in speech such as "the, and, but, was, is"
* Try searching by selecting the name of the activity you are interested in, with no keywords, to see what the most popular answers are for that specific activity (i.e., hunting, snowmobiling)
* Be active. This search engine grows with our customers, if an answer is good, use the rating at the bottom to rate it well so that more people will see it. If the answer is poor, rate it as such and we will improve upon it. Please include suggestions to help us improve the answers.

Do I need a permit to cut a Christmas tree on the National Forest? If so, how do I get the permit? Where can I cut the tree?

Permits are required to cut and remove a Christmas tree and other products from the National Forest. You should contact the individual National Forest to see if they have Christmas Tree cutting areas and a permitting process. Enter "Christmas Tree" to the search engine above and highlight the National Forest of interest under "Forests" above then click "Search" to see if forest-specific incident/answer information is already in this database.

Going to the Forest links to the left will take you to the individual Forest Web sites. Look for highlighted links or check under Forest Products or Recreation Activities.

How do I get a permit to cut a Christmas Tree on the Medicine-Bow Routt National Forest.

Check out the latest information on the Medicine-Bow Routt Web site at:

How do I get a permit to cut a Christmas tree on the Shoshone National Forest?

See current information on cutting a Christmas tree on the Shoshone by going to their Web site at:

How do I get a permit to cut a Christmas tree on the Bighorn National Forest? How much does it cost?

Current information is maintained on the Bighorn National Forest, Forest Products Web site at:

What is the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service new initiative called Service First?
Where in Colorado is it being implemented?
Can I go to just one office to get a fuel wood permit?

In Colorado, the San Juan BLM Field Office and San Juan National Forest have combined offices to provide better customer service and be more cost effective in the delivery of services to users of the public lands in southwest Colorado. For the past three years, the San Juan National Forest and BLM's San Juan Field Office have been under the direction of a single manager, and are providing a "one-stop shopping" for public lands customers. In addition, scarce-skill employees are shared between agencies, BLM employees are duty stationed at the Dolores Ranger District office, and the public can purchase joint BLM-USFS firewood permits.

Contact the San Juan Public Lands Center at:

San Juan Public Lands Center
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
(970) 247-4874
TDD: (970) 385-5121
FAX:(970) 385-1375

Office Hours are Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

When are bears active? Are they a problem? How should I deal with them?

Bears are most active in the spring and fall, right after winter hibernation and when trying to gain weight for their winter sleep. Bear sightings are most common were food and trash is accessible to them, such as around campground dumpsters and private homes. You can help discourage bears from visiting by keeping a clean campsite, properly storing food, and removing all garbage. For more information on camping in bear country, please visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site at:

Where can we "primitive" camp? Where can we camp without staying in a developed/fee campground, but still be close to Durango?

La Plata Canyon has free, primitive campsites in designated areas. La Plata Canyon is located approximately 10 miles west of Durango on US Highway 160 and then north on County Rd. 124. There is also primitive camping on the Junction Creek Road (Forest Road 171) above the Animas Overlook. There is no primitive camping allowed between the Animas Overlook and Durango city limits.

What are some good day-hikes in the Durango area?

Dry Fork, Colorado Trail, Log Chutes Trail, and Animas City Mountain Trail are close to Durango. There are dozens more within an hour drive from Durango. You can get additional information and trail brochures by calling the San Juan Public Lands Center at (970)247-4874 or visiting our office at 15 Burnett Court off US Hwy 160, 1/2 mile west of Durango. Maps and books with detailed trail descriptions are also available for purchase through the San Juan Mountains Association bookstore at the same location.

Is a permit needed to hike in the Weminuche Wilderness?

Individual permits are not required to enter the Weminuche Wilderness, but please sign in at trailheads where registers are available. This information helps the Forest Service monitor recreational use patterns. It can also help locate you in case of an emergency.
Permits ARE required if you are outfitting or leading a group of any size for monetary or other compensation, even if you are doing so as a nonprofit organization.
Please use low-impact hiking and camping techniques while visiting our fragile Wilderness areas. For more information on Leave-No-Trace ethics, please visit the Web site at:

Where can we ride ATVs (all-terrain-vehicles) and motorcycles in southwestern Colorado? Is there a difference between BLM and Forest Service rules?

Generally, ATVs and motorcycles are allowed on open Forest Service and BLM roads, unless posted otherwise. Travel OFF roads is generally not allowed in National Forests, but may be allowed in some specific areas of BLM lands. Travel management for the San Juan National Forest is marked on the Forest Map, available at all San Juan Forest offices. These maps indicate both trails and roads where motorized off-highway vehicles are allowed. Please check with your local public lands office to learn where you may legally ride. The San Juan Public Lands Center phone number is (970)247-4874 or visit us 1/2 mile west of Durango at 15 Burnett Court off US Hwy 160. Your ATV must be registered with the State of Colorado even if it is registered in another state. Please contact a Colorado State Parks and Recreation Office for information on off-road vehicle registration. Please ride your OHV responsibly. For information on how you can "Tread Lightly" on the land, please visit:!/tlohv.htm.

How do I get to the Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado?

The road to the Maroon Bells is closed at the T Lazy 7 Ranch during the winter. It opens around Memorial Day for the summer season. From mid-June to September a shuttle bus runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the only mode of accessing the lake during these hours, unless you are camping, biking, backpacking or have a child in a car seat. The cost for the shuttle is $5.50 per person and it leaves from Aspen Highlands Ski Area every 20 minutes.
From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the Forest Service charges a $10 user fee. This fee is valid for re-entry for 5 days.

Can I camp at Maroon Lake near Aspen, Colorado?

Camping is not allowed at Maroon Lake. There is no longer a campground there. The nearest campgrounds are the Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen campgrounds, located on Maroon Creek Road. The cost is $15 per night. Sites at these campgrounds can be reserved at least four nights in advance by calling 1-877-444-6777 or log onto:

What hikes/bikes do you recommend while I'm near Aspen?

There are several options for hiking/biking based on your skill level. Please stop by the Forest Service Office in Aspen to get detailed information.

Can I take my motor home over Independence Pass in Colorado?

If your motor home is shorter than 35’ you may drive it over the Pass. All vehicles over 35’ are prohibited (this is a combined measurement-car and trailer together cannot be longer than 35’). The road is extremely narrow with tight curves.

Do you give nature hikes or talks near Aspen?

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (A.C.E.S.) gives free nature walks at Maroon Lake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week. They also give nature walks at the top of Aspen Mountain. The Forest Service hosts weekly campground talks. Please stop by the Forest Service Office in Aspen for more information.

When do the leaves change around Aspen, Colorado?

Peak season is typically the third week of September. However, this is dependent on weather conditions. You may want to call the Fall Colors Hotline at 800-354-4595.

When is the best time of year to visit Aspen, Colorado?

If you are interested in hiking, the best time to visit is July through October. Trails are typically still covered with snow through the middle of June. Of course, this all depends on weather conditions. Aspen does not typically see a heavy first snow until October/November. Again, this cannot be predicted.

How do I get to the Difficult Campground, near Aspen, Colorado?

From Aspen, continue east on Highway 82 through town. Approximately 5 miles from Aspen, you will see the campground sign on your right. Continue down the road to the host site.

Can I ride my bike to the Conundrum Hot Springs, near Aspen, Colorado?

No, the trail to the Conundrum Hot Springs is in a designated Wilderness Area. No bicycles are allowed in wilderness areas.

Are the Hot Springs crowded? When?

The Hot Springs are extremely crowded on weekends during the summer. Hiking to the Hot Springs during the middle of the week is highly suggested. Holiday weekends are always crowded!

How do I get to Crested Butte from Aspen?

There are several options depending on the mode of travel you’d like to use. You can hike to Crested Butte via the West Maroon, East Maroon or Conundrum Creek Trails. You can 4-wheel drive or bike to Crested Butte over Taylor Pass, Pearl Pass or Schofield Pass. It is not recommended driving over Pearl or Schofield- both are extremely rocky and exposed and see numerous accidents each year! You can drive a passenger car over Kebler Pass. From Aspen, this route takes approximately 3 hours.

I don't have much time, but want to see some of the sights around Aspen. What do you suggest?

There are several options for scenic drives in the area. Castle Creek Valley is spectacular and takes you up to the ghost town of Ashcroft. The ghost town is 11 miles from Aspen. The drive over Independence Pass is also beautiful. This route is highly recommended if you have a small car and are traveling east toward the Leadville area. A trip to Maroon Lake/Maroon Bells is well worth it but please be aware of road restrictions from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Where can I shower while I'm vacationing near Aspen?

From noon to 2 p.m., Monday thru Friday, you can shower at the Red Brick Recreation Center. It’s located approximately 7 blocks from the Forest Service Office on West Francis.

Where can I climb a 14-er near Aspen?

The Aspen District is home to six 14,000 foot peaks. The “easiest” peak is Castle Peak but this is still a very challenging hike/climb. For your first climb up a 14,000 peak try climbing Mt. Elbert near Leadville. It is the tallest peak in Colorado and a non-technical ascent. The drive is approximately 1½ hours from Aspen.

Which campground on the Blanco Ranger District allow horse camping?

Horsethief Campground near Trapper's Lake and Marvine Campground both have horse corrals. There are trailheads at or near both campgrounds leading into the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Is it legal to take a wheeled cart into the Flat Tops Wilderness to retrieve game? Is this legal in any Wilderness?

The Flat Tops is a Wilderness Area and no mechanized devices (including anything with wheels) are allowed. This is true for all designated Wilderness Areas.

What are the regulations for using ATV's on the White River NF?

ATVs are permitted on the White River National Forest. However, you must stay on designated roads. On the White River NF, these are marked on the ground by signs and are designated on the Forest Visitor Map by three numbers in a red box. NOTE: You may not use your ATV to go off-road, even to retrieve game. For information on how to use your ATV responsibly and "Tread Lightly" on the land, please visit:!/tlohv.htm.

Colorado State Law requires that all off-highway vehicles have a Colorado registration. Registrations from other states are no longer recognized. Visitors from other states can purchase a temporary Colorado registration, available at the Division of Wildlife, any State Park Office, or local sporting goods stores.

Are bears a problem on the White River NF?

Always take the necessary precautions when camping in bear country. Some campgrounds on the White River NF have had to temporarily close due to bears. Always keep a clean camp; don't leave food out; store food in bear-resistant containers, in your vehicle, or hang in a tree at least 10 feet up and away from the trunk of the tree; set tents with spaces between them; sleep in an area well away from cooking areas; don't keep clothes you cooked or handled fish or game with inside the tent you sleep in; and keep pepper spray readily available. For more information on camping in bear country, please visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site:

What maps are available for visiting the national forest and where can I buy them?

"Visitor Maps" for each national forest and grassland provide forest-wide information on attractions, facilities, services, and opportunities. These maps are available to purchase from individual forests, the National Forest Store and many retail outlets.
"Topographic Maps" provide the greatest level of detail and only cover small portions of a forest. These maps are available to purchase from the US Geological Survey, many individual forests, and many retail outlets.

Can I cut firewood on the White River NF? Where? Do I need a permit? What are the rules? How do I measure a cord of wood?

Yes, you can cut firewood on the White River NF, with a firewood permit. The cost is $10/cord, with a two cord minimum. A map is available that marks areas where you may cut firewood. Information on what you can and cannot do when you cut wood is included with your permit. Permits can be purchased at any district office or the headquarters in Glenwood Springs.

You must stay within the designated cutting areas; you may only cut deadwood, standing or down; if you cut a standing tree, you must trim the stump to no more than 12 inches high; always clean your slash (branches and excess material you are not taking); be sure the permit is visible on the back of your load; and have a permit for every 1/4 cord. A cord measures 4'x4'x8'.

What is the current snow depth at Meadow Lake on the White River NF? When will the snow be gone?

For the most recent report, please call (970) 625-2371.

WHat is the snow depth at Buffalo Pass, near Steamboat Springs, CO?

For current information on the snow depth at Buffalo Pass, please call (970) 879-1870.

How do I get to Buford-New Castle Road near the White River National Forest?

From Rifle: take Colorado Hwy. 13 to Colorado Hwy. 325. Follow 325 past Rifle Gap, turn right on County Rd. 226, go east about 3 1/2 miles, then left on County Rd. 247. This connects with County Rd. 245, the Buford-New Castle Road.
From New Castle: go through the town of New Castle to 7th St. and turn right. This becomes County Rd. 245, the Buford-New Castle Road.

What campgrounds are on the Rifle Ranger District on the White River NF? Do I need reservations?
How do I get there?

Meadow Lake is the only campground on the Rifle Ranger District. It has 10 campsites with 16' spurs. The cost is $12/night and reservations are NOT needed. To get there, take the Buford-New Castle Road north to Hiner Spring, turn east on Forest Road 601 to Forest Road 823, then turn south to the campground.

How do I get to Fulford Cave on the White River NF?

Fulford Cave is about 17 miles south of the town of Eagle. From Eagle take Brush Creek Rd. At the fork you will go left, which is East Brush Creek, FDR 415. Follow this road for about 7 miles until you get to the trailhead parking lot. The trail is to the left of the information board. The hike is 0.7 miles to the cave entrance. Please do not trample the fragile vegetation by shortcutting the switchbacks along the trail.

Can I access Fulford Cave on the White River NF during the winter?

People visit the cave all year-long. East Brush Creek Road is plowed by the county up to Yeoman Park, although it is not a priority road. From Yeoman Park it is about a 1.5 mile hike to the trailhead. As for the trail, it may be icy and slippery in many spots.

Is Fulford Cave on the White River NF a technical cave? Do I need special caving equipment?

Cave exploration can be fun and exciting, but also dangerous! Fulford Cave provides an opportunity to either walk and crawl through the cave, or do some vertical climbing and serious spelunking. Some recommended equipment would include warm, durable clothing, sturdy boots, gloves, hardhat, flashlights and head lamps. You are responsible for your own safety, so if you plan on exploring some of the more hard to reach parts of the cave, please bring the proper equipment and learn the proper safety procedures.

What hikes are good for small children on the Eagle District of the White River NF?

The Yeoman Park Discovery Trail is a short interpretive trail that also accommodates disabled visitors. Only 200 yards long there are several unique interpretive signs that focus on using the senses to explore nature. It’s on level terrain with a packed gravel surface. Several log benches are available to rest along the way. The trail ends at a bench that overlooks one of Yeoman Park’s beaver ponds.

Where is a good place to view wildlife on the Eagle District of the White River NF?

The Colorado Wildlife Viewing Guide lists Yeoman Park as a good place to view an extensive beaver colony. Many tree and ground squirrels also live in the area. Birds of prey, such as the red-tailed hawk, can be seen, as well as the occasional bald eagle. Mule deer can be observed in the early morning and evening hours. Many opportunities to view wildlife are available on most of the hiking trails on the Eagle Ranger District. In Glenwood Canyon, No Name and Grizzly Creek Trails are home to an abundance of wildlife including porcupine, bighorn sheep, and numerous songbirds. Along the Sweetwater and Turrett Creek Trails, elk, black bear, coyotes and pocket gophers can sometimes be spotted. Turrett Creek is also home to grouse, ermine and mink. Herds of deer and elk can frequently be seen along the rim of Deep Creek Canyon. For more information and detailed directions, please contact the district office.

How do I get to Hanging Lake on the White River NF?

Hanging Lake is located in Glenwood Canyon. If you are driving from the east and heading west you will have to double back. Take the Grizzly Creek exit and get back on I-70 eastbound until you get to the Hanging Lake exit. At the rest area there is parking and restrooms. The trailhead is ¼ mile to the east on the left side of the bike path. There are picnic tables at the rest area and trailhead. The trail to Hanging Lake is heavily used, so please be aware of the special regulations to protect this area. You may not fish or swim in the lake and dogs are not allowed on the trail. Please pick up the "Hanging Lake Trail Guide" at a Forest Service Office.

How long is the trail to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs on the White River NF?

The Hanging Lake Trail is a steep 1.2 miles that travels from the bottom of Glenwood Canyon up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon to Hanging Lake. The trail is well maintained with many switchbacks to accommodate the rise in elevation. Please do not shortcut the switchbacks as this promotes trail erosion. Some parts of the trail are rocky and at the end there are steep stairs carved into the canyon cliff rock. The trail ends at a boardwalk that goes around the lake. Please do not step off the boardwalk because the fragile shoreline breaks easily allowing more of the lake’s water to flow away. Hanging Lake is a very popular destination and the trail is very heavily used, please be courteous to others on the trail.

Can I take my dog with me to Hanging Lake on the Eagle District of the White River NF?

No. Due to the high use of this trail, dogs are not allowed on the trail. Please help us to protect this fragile corridor by leaving your dog at home.

Can I fish in Hanging Lake on the White River NF? Are there fish in the lake?

Although many brook trout may be seen in the lake, fishing is prohibited. Please leave your poles behind.

Can I swim in Hanging Lake?

No. Hanging Lake, on the Eagle District of the White River NF, has built up over time from carbonates, which are deposited on the shore as the water flows over the bank. Swimming is not allowed because body oils in the water would stop this deposition. It is very tempting to jump in and cool off after the hike, but please don’t. Spouting Rock, which is to the left before the boardwalk, is a stream that shoots straight out of the cliff wall! The path leading behind and past Spouting Rock provides the perfect opportunity to cool off in the spray.

Can I camp at Hanging Lake?

No. Hanging Lake on the Eagle District, near Glenwood Springs, is a geological wonder and home to a small, fragile ecosystem. To preserve this pristine condition, camping is prohibited.

Where can I camp in Glenwood Canyon?

There are no developed campgrounds in Glenwood Canyon. If you wish to go dispersed camping (no facilities), you can hike up the No Name Trail where there are a number of good sites along the upper part of the trail. To avoid contamination of Glenwood Springs’ municipal water supply, please do not camp along the first 5 miles of the trail.

Do I need reservations to camp on the Eagle District? What sites are available?

All the campsites on the Eagle Ranger District are managed on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend that you arrive early on holiday weekends to get the campsite of your choice.
For information on campgrounds in Colorado that do take reservations for campsites, please visit:

What are the camping fees on the Eagle District?

The Eagle District tries to keep fees minimal and has set them based on the services provided. For $8/night, campgrounds have drinking water, refuse containers, vault toilets, fire grates and picnic tables. For $6/night, sites have all of the above, except drinking water. There are even some free sites on the District which are "pack-it-in, pack-it-out", so please bring trash bags. These free sites do not have drinking water, but do have vault toilets, fire rings, and sometimes even picnic tables. For more information on specific campgrounds, please call the district office at: (970)328-6388.

Where is Deep Lake on the Eagle District? How far? What is the road condition?

Deep Lake is about 30 miles from the Dotsero exit off I-70. After you exit, follow the signs to Sweetwater/Burns and turn north onto the Colorado River Rd. Follow this road 1.8 miles and then turn left onto the Coffee Pot Rd., FDR 600. Stay on this road for 29 miles until you see signs for Deep Lake and the campground. This road is suitable for passenger cars, but by mid-summer it will become washboarded at times. Near the bottom, the road is narrow and windy in some parts with steep shoulder drop-offs for several miles. During the winter it does not get plowed.

Where can I go 4-wheeling on the Eagle District of the White River NF?

There are many roads on the Eagle Ranger district that offer 4-wheel driving. Please remember to stay only on the numbered roads and do not travel off-road. From I-70 west of Eagle take the Dotsero exit and follow the signs to Burns, turning north onto the Colorado River Rd. Follow this road for 1.8 miles to the Coffee Pot Rd, FDR 600, which will be to your left. Follow this road for 29 miles until you reach the Heart and Deep Lake area where there are many roads that are used by jeeps, ATV’s and motorcycles. FDR 618, 619, 641, 642, 643, 644 and 645 are all popular. If you go north from Glenwood Springs you can catch the Transfer Trail Loop, FDR 623 to FDR 622. FDR 602 to 632 and then 614 will loop you around to Coffee Pot Rd. If you go further up the Colorado River Rd. you can turn left onto Cabin Creek Rd., also known as the Derby Mesa Loop, Cty. Rd. 39 and connect with the Stump Park, FDR 610. This is a very rugged road with 3 to 4 stream crossings. One mile past the Stump Park Rd. you will find the South Derby, FDR 613. This is considered the roughest, most difficult road on the Eagle Ranger District!

Where can I go snowshoeing/hiking in the Vail Valley?

There are lots of great snowshoe/hiking trails on the Holy Cross Ranger District on the White River National Forest: Which one is right for you depends on what you are looking for as well as your skill level. Information and maps are available at the District office located as you take the Minturn exit off I-70.

Why are there fences up on the Meadow Mountain sledding hill?

There have been numerous injuries on the hill in the past. In response, the Holy Cross District studied City Parks and Recreation standards for sledding hills and put up temporary fences last year, while we monitored injuries. We then modified the fences until injuries were nearly eliminated.

Where is the Mining Museum in Colorado?

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is 33 miles south of I-70 on U.S. 24 in Leadville. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the summer season of May through October and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays during the winter.

What kind of wildlife lives in the Vail Valley?

There is a tremendous diversity of wildlife in this area, including large mammals such as elk, deer, black bear, mountain goats, big horn sheep, coyotes, and mountain lions, to marmots, weasels, beaver, snowshoe hare, squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. The Valley is also home to birds of prey such as bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and peregrine falcons, to smaller birds such as the infamous camp robbers (gray jays), magpies, mountain bluebirds, and songbirds, just to name a few.

Where can I go to see elk in the Vail Valley?

In the winter, it is usually quite easy. There is a viewing platform just outside the Holy Cross District Office in Minturn, with viewing scopes that you can use to watch the elk across highway 24. There is an elk herd that almost daily moves slowly northwest as they browse on the uncovered shrubs of that sunny southwesterly facing slope. In the summer, you just need to get out on the trails and be quiet and observant, as elk are abundant on the White River National Forest—home to the largest elk herd in North America.

Where can I go camping on the Holy Cross District in the White River National Forest?

There are six developed campgrounds and one group site on the District. The Camp Hale Memorial Campground and East Fork Group Site at Camp Hale can be reserved by calling 1-888-444-6777 or visit The Blodgett, Gold Park, Gore Creek, Hornsilver, and Tigiwon Campgrounds are used on a first-come, first-served basis and cost between $8 and $12 per night. In addition, dispersed camping (no facilities) is allowed in most areas of the District without a permit or fee. Please follow Leave No Trace ethics while camping in undeveloped areas to keep these places pristine for generations to come. For more information on Leave No Trace, please visit: http://www/

Where are some good places to go fishing in the Vail Valley?

There are numerous rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs throughout the Holy Cross District that offer great fishing during all four seasons for cold-water species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and native cutthroat trout. The District office maintains maps and a list of all major bodies of water in the area with details on productiveness, fish species, and access. Local fly-shops are an invaluable source for tips, gear, required fishing licenses and regulation booklets.

How do I find out which trails have been groomed for skiing and snowmobiling up at the Vail Pass Area? How do I get to the Vail Pass Area?

The Vail Pass winter trails are located between Copper Mountain and Vail in the White River NF. The trails can be accessed from Vail Pass located off I-70 or from the Town of Pando located west of Vail Pass off State Highway 24.
The trails in the Vail Pass Recreation Fee Area are groomed weekly. To see the latest grooming report, log onto and click on the Trail Reports button on top and select View Trail Reports from the drop-down list, then select the Vail Pass area. Contact information for the contract trail groomer is also listed.
Vail Pass is participating as a Winter Recreation Fee Demonstration Area that was authorized by Congress in 1996. The purpose of this program is to collect fees to help maintain and manage recreational areas and enhance visitor services and experiences. Eighty percent of the funds collected through this program remain at the site and are used for these purposes. The current fees are $5 per person daily, or $35 for an individual season pass.
This is a multiple-use area, so prior to snowmobiling in this area, please review the official management map for Vail Pass. Also, trail signs and markers are placed throughout the pass defining use areas.

Can I make reservations at the campgrounds on the Blanco District of the White River National Forest?

A limited number of campsites at the North Fork Campground can be reserved by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting the Web site at:
All other Blanco Ranger District campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Do I need a permit to camp on the White River National Forest?

No. Dispersed camping (camping without any developed facilities) is allowed in most areas of the Forest without a permit. However, you must follow travel management restrictions for driving and parking and you are limited to no more than 14 days stay at the same location. Also, to minimize your impacts, please try to camp where others have already camped, especially in fragile areas.

Is there a time limit for camping on the White River National Forest?

Yes. The time limit is 14 days, whether you are in a developed campground or are dispersed camping with no facilities. At the end of 14 days, you must relocate at least three miles from your previous location. Some campgrounds have shorter time limits, so read the campground information board and check with the local District Office for any special restrictions.
With the increasing visitors to National Forests, this 14-day time limit helps to ensure that places to camp and recreate will be available to everyone. These public lands are not intended to be used as alternative residences.

Does the Pikes Peak Ranger District have a firewood-cutting program? What are the details? Where can I cut wood? How much does it cost?

Yes, you may cut firewood, but only with a permit. The program runs from June 1st to December 31st. The cost is $20.00 per cord. You may purchase a minimum of one cord and up to a maximum of ten cords. You may only cut dead trees, either standing or down, and the wood is for personal use only, not for resale. Our cutting areas vary, but the current area is approximately 5 miles north of Divide, Colorado. We can mail you a map with instructions or you can get information when you pick up your permits at our office in Colorado Springs.

My trees appear to have a disease. Can someone from your Colorado Springs office come out and look at them and tell me what is wrong with them and how to remedy it?

The Colorado State Forest Service specializes in tree disease questions and is the right agency to assist private landowners. You can contact them at (719)678-2921 or at: mail You might also check with the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension at (719)636-8920 or the City of Colorado Springs Forester at (719)385-5942.
For the Colorado State Forest Service Web site, please visit:

How old do I have to be to get a job with the Forest Service? How do I apply?

You have to be at least 18 years old. For any question related to EMPLOYMENT, including career advice, fire jobs, and summer hires, please visit our Web site at: All Forest Service jobs, along with other Federal agencies, are listed in the USAJOBS database at

How can I get tree seedlings? I live in the Colorado Springs area.

In Colorado, the Colorado State Forest Service sells seedlings. You can visit their Web site at
In the Colorado Springs area, you can call them at 719-687-2921, to get details and request an order form and information pamphlet.

Where can I register my boat and ATV near Colorado Springs?

The Colorado State Parks registers boats and ATV's. Their street address in Colorado Springs is 2128 North Weber, and their phone number is 719-471-0900, or visit online at:

When will the gate to Rampart Reservoir be open and when does it close for the season?

Weather permitting, the gate to Rampart Reservoir should be open on May 4th each year. You can, however, in the meantime hike to Rampart Reservoir from the Rainbow Gulch Trailhead. The 1.4-mile trail will take you to the Rampart Reservoir inlet and to some potentially good fishing. Keep in mind that the campgrounds won't be open until May 4th, again weather permitting. The gate usually closes in November after the first major snowfall.

Can I ride my ATV in the National Forest? Where are the best ATV riding areas on the Pikes Peak Ranger District?

You must adhere to all posted and published travel management regulations. All of the County Roads prohibit ATV’s or motorized vehicles that don’t have a license plate. All of the main Forest Roads (Rds), generally those passable by cars and low clearance vehicles are closed to ATV’s and motorized vehicles that do not have license plates. Some of those roads include, Old Stage Forest Development Rd (FDR) 368, Gold Camp FDR 370, High Drive FDR 380, Mount Herman FDR 320, Rampart Range FDR 300, Rampart Recreation Area FDR 306, Crags-Fourmile Creek FDR 350, Seven Lakes FDR 376, and Rainbow Falls FDR 350. As a general rule, most of the 4-wheel High Clearance Roads are open to ATV’s. You can call with specific questions. To answer your second question, the best place for riding your ATV is Trail System 717 north of Divide, Colorado. Keep in mind that there are several County Roads in the area that are closed. For tips on using your ATV's responsibly, please visit the Tread Lightly Web site at!/tlohv.htm.

Where is the Bureau of Land Management office in Glenwood Springs?

From Interstate-70 take the West Glenwood exit; turn right at the stop sign after the off ramp; turn left at the stop light (6th Street). Go one block past the Chevrolet dealer. BLM is on the right side in the red brick building. For information on BLM maps, wood permits, Christmas tree permits or mining claims call 970-947-2800.

Where is the Colorado Division of Wildlife office in Glenwood Springs?

From Interstate-70 take the West Glenwood exit; turn right at the stop sign after the off ramp; turn left at the stop light (6th Street). Go one block past the Chevrolet dealer. BLM is on the right side in the red brick building. The DOW is next to the BLM office in West Glenwood. For information concerning hunting regulations, schedules, licenses, unit maps, and hunter safety courses call 970-947-2920.

With limited time, what is there to do in downtown Glenwood Springs?

For information about things to do in Glenwood Springs your best resource is the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. They can be reached at or 970-945-6589.

What hiking or biking trails are close to Glenwood Springs?

There are several choices with various difficulty ratings. These hike and bike trails may be located on City of Glenwood Springs, Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service lands. Ask for a copy of the Trails Guide to Glenwood Springs from any of these offices; it has trail descriptions and locations.

Here are a few trails represented on the map:
Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path – rated easy, follows the Colorado River
Hanging Lake Trail #1850 – rated more difficult, located in the Glenwood Canyon
Grizzly Creek Trail #2065 – rated moderate/more difficult, located in the Glenwood Canyon
No Name Trail #1847 (Jess Weaver) – rated more difficult, located in the Glenwood Canyon
Red Mountain Trail – rated difficult, located in Glenwood Springs on the west end of 9th Street
Boy Scout Trail – rated difficult, located in Glenwood Springs on the east end of 8th Street
Doc Holliday’s Trail – rated easy, located on 12th Street and Bennett
Storm King Memorial Trail – rated more difficult, located seven miles west on I-70
Burnt Tree Ridge Trail – rated moderate, located east of the Glenwood Canyon bike path
Spring Valley Loop – rated easy, located on Red Canyon Road past Colorado Mountain College

Do you have information on the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path?

The Glenwood Canyon recreation path runs between the Colorado River and I-70. This concrete path begins in Glenwood Springs on 6th Street, east of the Yampa Vapor Caves, past the Art Center. Other access points are No Name Rest Area, Grizzly Creek Rest Area, Shoshone Power Plant, Hanging Lake Rest Area, Bair Ranch Rest Area and Dotsero Trailhead. The trail is 16.3 miles long and is relatively flat, making it a great route for all ages and abilities. It is highly used by walkers, bikers, roller bladders, and wheelchair users.

Do you have information on the Storm King Memorial Trail?

This trail is a memorial to the twelve firefighters and two helitack crewmembers, who died on July 6, 1994, while fighting a lightning-ignited fire which began on July 2. In the early stages, the fire burned in pinyon-juniper fuels and was thought to have little potential for spread. In the afternoon of July 6, a dry cold front moved into the fire area, which brought high winds and spread the fire into dense, highly flammable Gambel oak. Within seconds, a wall of flame raced up the steep slopes and overtook the firefighters and helitack crew. The remaining thirty-five firefighters survived by escaping through the east drainage, or by seeking a safety zone and deploying their fire shelters.

The purpose of the trail is to explain what happened and reflect on the lessons firefighters have learned to prevent future fire tragedies. As you hike this steep trail, you will also have an opportunity to imagine what it would feel like to be a firefighter with a forty-five pound pack on your back. One mile up the trail is an observation point, which has interpretive signs that explain the events of the fire. Continue for one more mile and encounter the granite markers placed where the firefighters died.

From Interstate-70, take the Canyon Creek exit (Exit 109). Turn right on the frontage road and go east one mile where the road dead-ends at the parking lot for the trailhead.

Is there a trail close to Glenwood Springs where I can access the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness?

The Avalanche Creek Trail #1959 begins in the Avalanche campground (see directions for the campground). This trail is rated moderate and travels through the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. It follows the clear waters of Avalanche Creek for eleven miles and ends at Avalanche Lake. There are fine camping spots all along the route (stay one hundred feet from trail, streams and lakes). Fishing for native cutthroat trout is possible in the creek and the lake.

Where can I camp in Glenwood Springs?

There are two private campgrounds in Glenwood Springs. Ami’s Acres can be reached at 970-945-5340 or you can e-mail: amisacres
The Rock Gardens is located in the east part of the Glenwood Canyon at the No Name Rest Area exit. Their phone number is 970-945-6737 or visit their Web site at

Where is the closest Forest Service campground near Glenwood Springs?

There are two developed campgrounds located south of Glenwood Springs: Avalanche and Redstone. To find the more remote and rustic campground, Avalanche, travel south on Highway 82 (Grand Avenue) from the Forest Service office for eleven miles to Carbondale. Turn right at the stoplight onto Highway 133, and travel eleven miles. Turn left on Avalanche Creek Road (Forest Service Road # 310), and travel 2½ miles to the campground. This road is rough, narrow and for high clearance vehicles only, trailers are not recommended. Avalanche offers thirteen tent sites, which are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Redstone campground is a full service campground for tents, trailers and RV’s. Electricity is provided at some sites. This is the only campground on the White River National Forest that offers showers. Redstone offers thirty-five sites on the reservation system. Limited sites may be available without reservations on a first-come-first-serve basis. You would need to check with the campground host for those sites.

How do I make campground reservations for a Forest Service campground?

Contact the National Recreation Reservation Service to reserve a site in any Forest Service campground which takes reservations (some campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis and do not take reservations). Call the toll-free number 1-877-444-6777, or visit the Web site at for prices, maps of campgrounds and availability. You need to make reservations at least five days in advance. It is possible to reserve individual sites 240 days in advance and group sites 360 days in advance.

Is camping allowed on Forest Service lands?

Yes. Camping without developed facilities (dispersed camping)is allowed on most National Forest lands. However, some areas limit camping to designated areas and many areas have travel restrictions, limiting where you may drive and park your vehicle. For a specific area, be sure to check with the local Ranger District.
Additional regulations are also posted at many locations, such as trailheads. Camping off Forest Service trails, both inside and outside of Wilderness, is also open with some localized restrictions. Some general guidelines are to camp at least one hundred feet from lakes, streams, roads and trails; some Forests require 200 feet. Do not drive more than three hundred feet off the roadway to park and camp, and you are not allowed to drive where you may do resource damage, especially to wet areas. There is usually a fourteen-day limit for camping on most forests. Always remember: PACK IT IN – PACK IT OUT! and LEAVE NO TRACE!

Where can I go four-wheel driving around Glenwood Springs?

The two places that have many primitive roads are the Flat Tops and the Four Mile area. The east side of the Flat Tops is accessed by Coffee Pot Springs Road (Forest Service Road #600) north of Dotsero. It is an improved gravel road that is steep and windy. Be sure and stop at the Deep Creek Overlook along the way if you travel to Heart Lake and Deep Lake. The west side of the Flat Tops is accessed by the Buford-New Castle Road (Forest Service Road #245). North of the town of New Castle, the road slowly climbs up and travels through the Flat Tops and eventually drops down to the town of Buford. There are many high-clearance roads between these two points.

The Four Mile Road (Forest Service Road #300) is located south of Glenwood Springs toward Ski Sunlight. Once in the Forest, there are many high clearance roads off the main access road. Be sure to take a White River National Forest Map and stay on the roadways.

What scenic drives are available in the Glenwood Springs area?

There are three scenic drives, which provide mile after mile of breathtaking scenery. The West Elk Loop Scenic & Historic Byway travels through the Crystal River Valley and includes Redstone, Coal Basin, and Marble on the loop to Crested Butte. The second drive, the Summer Discovery Tour, begins in Aspen and travels over Independence Pass, Tennessee Pass where the famous 10th Mountain Hut Division trained for winter warfare, and continues to the Eagle valley. The third drive, the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, tours the area between the towns of Yampa and Meeker with many points of interest. Stop by the Forest Service Office in Glenwood Springs to pick up brochures on these three drives.

Where can we go fishing in the Glenwood Springs area?

Fishing is allowed along the Colorado River and accessed by the Glenwood Recreation Path east of Glenwood Springs, Two Rivers Park in town, or Interstate-70 west of town. There are also the three “Gold Medal and Wild Trout Waters.” The Crystal River flows through the towns of Marble, Redstone, and Carbondale. The Roaring Fork River begins in the Aspen area and continues to Glenwood Springs where it joins the Colorado River. The Fryingpan River begins at Reudi Reservoir dam and flows to the town of Basalt. At the Forest Service office pick up a brochure called Fishing the Three Rivers which provides anglers information concerning access points to some of the best trout fishing in the United States.

What are the current travel restrictions for the White River National Forest?

With the implementation of the White River’s Revised Forest Plan, the most significant change in summer use is that all mechanized (bikes) or motorized vehicles must now stay on designated roads and trails. Those roads and trails are on the White River National Forest map. For information regarding snowmobile use in the winter, please contact the local Ranger District office.

When is the Pikes Peak Highway open? How much does it cost? What are the current weather conditions?

Generally, the Pikes Peak Highway is open year-round with some closures during severe weather. For current information, please call the Pikes Peak Tollgate at 719-684-9383 or toll free at 1-800-318-9505 or visit them online at:

How do I make campground reservations in Parks and Forests, or any other public land?

It depends on which agency operates the campground you are interested in. For the National Forest Service or the Army Corps of Engineers, you can make reservations through the national reservation center at 1-877-444-6777 or online at If you want to camp at a Colorado State Park, call 1-800-678-2267 or online at If you want to camp at National Park Service facilities, call 1-800-365-2267 or visit them online at
It's a good idea to make your reservations well in advance. IMPORTANT TIP: You will need to know the name of the campground where you want to stay before you call the reservation center.

Please explain the America the Beautiful Interagency Pass. Are Golden Eagle Passports, Golden Age Passports and Golden Access Passports still valid for entrance?

If you recreate frequently on federal lands such as National Forests, National Parks, Bureau of Land Management, or US Fish and Wildlife Service lands, look into purchasing an America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass. America the Beautiful Interagency Senior Pass (Persons 62 years of age and older) or America the Beautiful Interagency Access Pass (Persons with permanent disabilities) are also honored at these same locations. For details, visit
Golden Eagle Passports and National Parks Passes are no longer valid. These passes were issued up to December 31, 2006 and were only valid for one year. Golden Age Passports and Golden Access Passports will continue to be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder. .

How much snow is on Pikes Peak? How long will it last?

Snow depth varies from year to year and season to season. As an average, you can expect to see a few feet of snow through March or April and then it quickly recedes in May. By June the snow will have disappeared from most of the areas on Pikes Peak.

What is the outlook for wildfires for summer 2009?

For information on wildfire forecasts, as well as lots of other information on wildfires, please visit the National Interagency Coordination Center Web site at:

Where are the best fishing spots on the Pikes Peak District?

For river fishing, the South Platte is popular. If you like reservoir or lake fishing, Rampart Reservoir is a favorite. The Colorado Division of Wildlife can assist you in locating the hottest fishing spots. You can reach them in the Colorado Springs area at 719-227-5200 or visit them online at They can also tell you about their stocking schedule. TIP: You may want to check out the information on our Forest Web site by clicking on the "Fishing" button on our homepage to learn more. ANOTHER TIP: Check out the fishing report column in the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph.

What accommodations are available at Barr Camp and what are the fees?

Barr Camp is operated by Quest Adventures Inc. under a special use permit through the Forest Service. For information on accommodations and prices, you can call them at 719-635-4741 or visit them online at

Is water available on the Barr Trail?

No. However, there is a spigot at Barr Camp. It's a good idea to take a quality water filter with you in case you have to drink untreated, "natural" water. The filter should, at a minimum, be able to filter out Giardia cysts. If you don't have a filter and need to drink untreated water, you should boil it for at least 3-5 minutes. The best idea is to take enough "safe" water with you to see you through the hike. For more information on the Barr Trail, visit the Barr Camp Web site at

When and where can I see wildflowers blooming along the Front Range?

In general, wildflowers bloom along the Front Range from mid April through late September. Many factors influence the exact time wildflowers bloom, but you can nonetheless expect a pretty good showing from late May through the end of June. Bear in mind that, as a general rule, wildflowers bloom earlier at lower elevations. For details on when and where all the varieties of wildflowers bloom check out one of the many books on the subject, most are available at a public library. You can also call the Forest Service Wildflower Viewing Hotline (800-354-4595) for field reports on the progress of wildflower blooming.

How do I get to the Forest Service Pikes Peak District Office from Interstate 25?

Get off on Exit 141 (Cimarron Street) ��œ Make a right turn at the bottom of the exit ramp ��œ Go six blocks east into the downtown area to Weber Street ��œ Turn right (south) onto Weber Street ��œ Travel one and a half blocks down Weber Street ��œ Our office is on the left (east) side of the street ��œ You will know you are there when you see a yellow and dark brown brick building with a matching USDA Forest Service sign in the front, a flag pole, several large ponderosa pine trees and a parking lot on the south side of the building.

Are there any lakes you can swim in on the Pikes Peak District?

Not on the Pikes Peak Ranger District, but you might check with Colorado State Parks. You can reach them at 719-471-0900 or visit them online at You may also consider calling the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 719-227-5200 or visiting them online at for the lakes and reservoirs under their management.

How do I get rid of nuisance critters?

The agency to help you with this is the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Please visit them online at

Can I hunt on the Manitou Experimental Forest? At Rampart Reservoir?

The answer is yes with the following conditions: You cannot shoot a weapon within the boundary of the Manitou Experimental Forest in June, July and August and you cannot shoot a weapon within 150 yards of a developed recreation area or building. You must also adhere to the posted and published travel management regulations.

Is the Gold Camp Road open all the way to Cripple Creek?

No. You can only go as far as Tunnel #3 which partially collapsed in 1988. You can, however, take Old Stage Road to where it meets the Gold Camp Road and then continue to Cripple Creek. This area is managed by the Pikes Peak Ranger District. For more information, please call our office at 719-636-1602.

How much does it cost to ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway? How do I make a reservation? When does it run?

You can make reservations and check out the fee schedule online at: or you can call the COG Road Depot at 719-685-5401. You can also e-mail them at Generally, the Railway is open for business April through November.

Where can I go canoeing, rafting or kayaking in the Pike National Forest?

Anywhere in the Forest where it is not expressly prohibited by Special Order. All Forest Service offices should have the Special Orders that pertain to their area for you to review. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please respect the rights of private landowners. Ask permission first.
Some local favorites for boating are Rampart Reservoir, Manitou Lake, and the tri-lakes of the North Slope Recreation Area.

What are the rules for panning gold in the National Forest? Where are the best places?

You can pan for gold on a limited, recreational basis (not commercial) on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands without a permit, providing you are not causing any ground disturbance. It is your responsibility to know whether you are on private or public land. You will also want to contact the local office to ensure that you avoid any patented mining claims in the area.

Where is a good mountain bike trail on the Pikes Peak District?

The 11.6 mile trail around Rampart Reservoir is a good one, but there are many trails of all levels of difficulty from easy to extreme. A good variety of guidebooks on mountain bike trails can be found at local bookstores and even the public library.

What are some good hiking trails for children on the Pikes Peak District?

Three good trails for children are Waldo Canyon Loop No. 640 (6.8 mile loop/Easy), the Crags Trail No. 664 (2 miles one way/Moderate) and the Aspen Grove Trail No. 712 (.4 mile loop/Easy). Other favorites are Centennial Bicycle Trail No. 669 (8.2 miles/Easy) and the Rampart Reservoir Trail No.700 (11.6 miles/Easy). Take plenty of water, rub on some sunscreen and have fun!

When will Pikes Peak District be having its summer campground programs and where will they be held?

They are held at Colorado Campground at 7 p.m. on Saturdays Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Can I pick berries in the National Forest? Do I need a permit?

Yes, you may pick berries for personal use without a permit. Strawberries, thimbleberries, gooseberries, serviceberries and chokecherries are all popular berries to pick. You may need to get to them before the bears do though!

Are the lakes and reservoirs on the Pike National Forest iced over? When do they thaw?

They generally begin to ice over in November and then thaw out around mid-April to mid-May, depending on how warm our spring is.

Is Rampart Shooting Range open to the public? How do I get there?

It is open to the public. From I-25 take exit 141 west. This will place you on Cimarron Street (also known as Highway 24). Travel west on Cimarron Street approximately 5 miles until you reach the Manitou Springs exit. Get off on the Manitou Springs exit-traveling west. This will take you under Cimarron Street. Turn right on Garden of the God's Place, i.e., the first street past the Cimarron Street overpass. A short distance from there you will turn right on Garden of the God's Road. Follow Garden of the God's Road to Balancing Rock. You will see Forest Development Road (FDR) 300 on the left a short distance past Balancing Rock. When you turn on to this road you will see a sign that identifies the road as FDR 300. Follow this rough, bumpy and washboardy road approximately six miles to the Rampart Shooting Range. RECOMMENDATION: Think about taking a high clearance vehicle because this road is very rough in places.

When is the Pikes Peak Marathon held? Is the Barr Trail open during the race?

The trail is closed during the Marathon. You can get more information by calling the Pikes Peak Marathon Committee at 719-473-2635 or visiting their Web site at

when is the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb? Can I camp along the road while it is being held?

Generally, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held on the fourth Saturday in June. To be sure, check the schedule on their Web site At that time the road will be closed to vehicular traffic.

What is the telephone number to the Pikes Peak Summit House and what are its hours of operation?

The telephone number is 719-661-8080. We recommend that you ask them for their hours of operation since they can vary.

What is the elevation of Pikes Peak?

14,110 feet

Can I do recreational shooting on Mt. Herman Road?

Although recreational shooting is generally permitted in the National Forest there are exceptions and conditions. The exceptions are normally outlined in Special Orders. In this case, Special Order 91-08 prohibits recreation/target shooting in all of El Paso County including the area west of Monument. You can obtain a map from us that shows you exactly where these restrictions apply. The best alternative area for recreation/target shooting west of Monument is off Mt. Herman Road and down Forest Development Road (FDR) 322A. This area is located in Teller County approximately six miles from Red Rocks Ranch Road. The other common sense conditions are as follows: (1) you cannot discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area (2) you cannot discharge a firearm across or on a Forest Development road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge (3) you cannot discharge a firearm into or within any cave. PLEASE familiarize yourself with Colorado State law regarding possessing and transporting firearms.

How long will it take me to drive to the top of Pikes Peak?

Allow yourself approximately 2 hours one-way. Remember that you must be off the Pikes Peak Highway by sunset — no overnight parking is allowed. The road is 38 miles roundtrip.

How do I reach the Colorado State University Extension Service?

Visit them online at:

What is the Fall Colors and Wildflower Viewing Hotline?

The number is the same for both: 800-354-4595.

Can you see the curvature of the earth from Pikes Peak?


How long will it take me to hike up Pikes Peak?

Approximately three hours if you're a world-class marathoner. If not, it could take you from 8 to 12 hours, depending on your fitness level. Then again, you could drive up to Pikes Peak in about an 2 hours or take the Cog Railway which would get you there in about 1:15 minutes.

How big is the Pike National Forest?

It is about 1.3 million acres, which is a little larger than the Great Salt Lake.

Where can I go in the forest to get rocks, pinecones, pine boughs, logs, posts, etc?

You have to have a permit to remove any minerals or wood products from the National Forest. To obtain one of these permits check with your nearest National Forest Service office.

I'd like to have my wedding ceremony or reception on the National Forest. How do I go about it?

The first thing to do is contact the local Forest office near where you would like your ceremony. Do this as early as possible, so the Forest Service has time to work with you on a location. Some offices require a permit, but generally you do not need one if you are having a simple ceremony and your wedding party is fewer than 75 people. Some locations that are very popular for weddings are also popular with the general public, or may already have other group activities scheduled. You cannot "reserve" or "close" your wedding site to the general public, but by working with the local Forest office, you can avoid unnecessary user conflicts. You also will have to follow existing regulations about driving into the site and what is allowed there.
A good option to have a site reserved for your use is to reserve a Group Campground. You can make a reservation for many of the group sites in this Region by calling ReserveUSAReservation Center at 877-444-6777 or online at

How can I volunteer for the Forest Service? How old do I have to be?

There are no age limitations. You can visit a local office to find out what jobs are available and fill out an application. 

Do you sell books and maps at the Pikes Peak District Office?

Yes, we sell a variety books and maps through the Rocky Mountain Nature Association which is a non-profit organization. We also sell Forest Service maps for all the National Forests and National Grasslands in Colorado.

Can I use a metal detector on Forest Service lands?

We don’t encourage the use of metal detectors on Forest Service lands because we are interested in protecting and preserving cultural and historic artifacts. Also, you should be aware that the National Historic Preservation Act generally prohibits collecting anything 50 years old or older.

What are the rules on geocaching in the Forest?

While geocaching is NOT an appropriate use of a designated Wilderness Area, it is increasing in popularity in general forest areas. You must remember to follow all existing regulations when placing or looking for caches. This includes understanding and following all motor vehicle restrictions, avoiding damage to trees or roots, avoiding impacts to streams, wetlands and lakeshores, and minimizing your impacts on other forest visitors. Recreational public use of National Forests is intended to be short-term and low-impact, so that the many other forest visitors have an opportunity to enjoy the same lands also. Permanent or long-term structures or improvements are not allowed. If you are unsure about whether geocaching is appropriate in a certain area, please contact the local Forest office and ask.

Does the Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad stop to allow me to access National Forest trailheads for hiking and camping?

The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad stops at Elk Park, where you can access the Elk Creek Trail (#503) and at Needleton, where you can access the Needle Creek Trail (#504). For trail information, please call the San Juan Public Lands Center at 970-247-4874, or visit the Forest Web site at You can go to Recreation Information and check out the Columbine Ranger District Trails information.
For train ticket and schedule information, please visit
PLEASE BE AWARE that the train drops you off at high elevations. If you are coming from sea level, or low elevation, please be careful about overexerting yourself before you can acclimate to the high altitude.

Where is the Ice Lake Basin? How do I get there?

The Ice Lake Basin is located near Silverton. Follow US 550 north of Silverton 3 miles. Turn LEFT on Forest Road #585, South Mineral Creek Road. Go 3 miles to the South Mineral Campground. The trailhead to the Ice Lake Basin is located across from the campground entrance.
Please be aware the trail is a steady uphill climb for 4.5 miles at high elevation. It starts at 9,800 feet and reaches 12,200 feet. Expect snow until late June, at least at the higher elevations, and be aware of frequent lightning storms in the afternoons.

How do I cut a Christmas tree on the Routt National Forest in Colorado?

November 21, 2003 - - Christmas tree permits are available at all Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest offices in Colorado for $10.00 each. Permits are also available at the Yampa River State Park office in Hayden. Each permit allows for the cutting of one tree on National Forest System Lands. There is a limit of five permits per household. Trees must be for personal use, not for resale. The permit must be clearly displayed around the stem of the tree before leaving the cutting area.
Some areas of the Forest are closed to tree cutting or may be difficult to access, so please contact the local Forest Service office for specific site information, including the status of roads. Area closures this year include an area on the Yampa Ranger District within 300 yards of Forest road 900 in the Bear River Corridor. However, cutting is encouraged on the Yampa District in the Forest road 100 area. Visitors to the Hahns Peak/Bear’s Ears District are reminded that cutting is prohibited in the Fish Creek Falls area and within the boundaries of the Steamboat Ski Area. The Forest Service would like to emphasize that Wilderness areas are off limits to cutting on all Forest Service districts including the Flat Tops, Mount Zirkel, Rawah, Neota, and Never Summer.
Weather conditions can change quickly, so please be prepared.
Dress for winter conditions and have your vehicle equipped with adequate tires, chains and a shovel. Some reminders when cutting your tree include:
• Trees may not be cut within 100 feet of roads or within 200 feet of campgrounds, picnic areas, scenic pullouts, administrative sites, timber sale areas or designated Wilderness areas.
• Choose a tree that is growing with other trees in a cluster. Do not choose the “perfect” tree that stands alone. The forest environment benefits by thinning the clusters and allowing the strong trees to remain and provide for a healthy genetic source for the future forest.
• Maximum tree height is 20 feet.
• Cut tree six inches or less above the ground, or below the lowest living branch, whichever is lower. If one living branch is left on the stump, the tree will continue to grow, although it will probably become deformed and encourage disease.
• If boughs are wanted, please choose a taller tree than needed (maximum 20 feet) and use the lower branches for boughs. Please do not cut boughs from other living trees.
Tree cutting regulations have been established to maintain a healthy forest environment. For more information, contact your local Forest Service office.

Is shooting/target practice allowed in the Medicine Bow forest south of Douglas, WY?


How do I purchase maps for forests and grasslands in Nebraska?

There are two forest recreation maps that cover the Nebraska National Forest. One is for both the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest and a portion of the Nebraska National Forest (Bessey Ranger District)located in central Nebraska.
The northwestern portion of the Nebraska NF near Chadron (Pine Ridge Ranger District) is included in a Nebraska NF map combined with the Oglala National Grassland. The maps are one inch to the mile scale and made of a durable, waterproof, tearproof plastic. You may purchase a map by calling or mailing to the Nebraska NF Supervisor's Office in Chadron, the Bessey Ranger District in Halsey, the Samuel R. McKelvie NF office in Nenzel, or the Pine Ridge Ranger District in Chadron. You can find the addresses and phone numbers of these offices by clicking on the Nebraska NF listed in the drop-down menu on the left column of this Web site. The maps cost $7 and can be paid by check or credit card. Please be sure to include a note with your return address.

Can I get information about picking mushrooms? Will there be mushrooms in the forest because of the fires last year?

There may be mushrooms in some of the areas burned by fires last year. If you are picking mushrooms just for your personal use, you will probably not need a permit, but you should still check with the local forest office near the area you are interested in to find out about what specific areas are available, what areas are set aside for commercial harvest, what roads are open, or any other special restrictions.
If you are interested in any type of commercial harvest and want to resell your mushrooms to a buyer, you will need a PERMIT from the Forest Service and will need to contact the local forest office.

You can find general information on mushrooms at

When do the campgrounds around Steamboat Springs open?


Are there restrictions/bans on campfires this summer? Are charcoal grills allowed? Are gas stoves allowed? What about cigarettes?

Seasonal fire restrictions can change fairly quickly due to weather patterns and can vary from one forest or grassland to another. For fire and burning restrictions in Colorado by County, visit
The best information on the outlook for fire danger is available on
It would also be a good idea to visit the forest Web site or call the office closest to wherever you will be camping shortly before you travel to get the most up-to-date information on any restrictions. In addition, you should watch for the large yellow fire posters with information on what is allowed and what is not at points of entry to National Forests, trailheads, picnic areas, visitor centers, offices, information kiosks, and at campgrounds.

Is the Scott Fire Lookout Tower on the Bessey Ranger District open to the public?

Yes, it is. We have volunteers that staff the tower during the summer months for part of the day. Check with the campground host or Ranger District office at 308-533-2257 for schedules.

Can we make reservations for campsites on the Nebraska NF?

At this time, reservations are available for the universally accessible campsites, picnic shelter and group campground. All other sites are on a “first come-first served” basis. We anticipate having more campsites available for reservation through the National Recreation Reservation System by the 2004 summer season. You can make a reservation by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting their Web site at: for prices and availability.

Is the Nebraska National Forest open all year around?

Yes, the offices and entire public land acreage are open all year around. Starting December 1, 2003, the bathrooms/showers by the pool may be closed from Dec.1-March 1. Water will be turned off to all campsites within the Recreation Complex by Oct. 31 except for the group campground and universally accessible campsites, which will have water until Dec. 1. Water will be turned back on following the last freeze period of the spring.

What is the vehicle pass and do we need to have one on the Nebraska National Forest?

If you are using any developed facilities, i.e. restrooms, picnic tables, campsites, swimming pool, and recreation areas within the recreation complex or camping areas, then a vehicle pass will be required in addition to any camping and/or pool fees. Day passes are available for $3.00; annual passes (which are good for one calendar year) are $15.00. The vehicle passes are part of the Recreation Fee Demonstration project which allows fees collected to remain at the forest to maintain and improve facilities and services. A self-serve pay station at the Bessey Recreation Complex provides the convenience to pay the appropriate fees using cash or credit card, 24 hours a day.

Where can we ride OHVs and motorbikes on the Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest? Are there any rules or regulations?

The Bessey RD has one developed OHV trail that’s 11 miles long and extends from the Dismal River Trail Head, 1 ½ miles south of the recreation complex, to Whitetail Campground. Roads off limits to OHV and motorbikes are 203, 212, 259, 277and State Spur 86B (the one to Scott Tower.) No motorized vehicles are All two-track trails are available for travel unless restricted as noted above. Cross-country travel is currently allowed, but not encouraged since the fragile covering of grasses is easily disturbed, resulting in wind-eroded blowouts.

Within five years the forest will initiate a public process to determine which routes or areas will be open for motorized use. If you are interested in participating in this process, send your name, phone number and address (including email) to Nebraska National Forest, 125 North Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337, Attention: Travel Management.

OHVs and motorbike operators must only ride to and from the trailhead and campsites. They may not use the vehicles for motoring around the campgrounds or going to the bathrooms or swimming pool. Quiet time is between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Helmets and goggles are strongly encouraged.

Where do you have blinds for viewing sharp-tailed grouse or greater prairie chickens during the spring courtship displays?

The Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska NF has two blinds, one for sharp-tailed grouse, and one for greater prairie chicken, available by reservation. They are set up from March through May. Maps with directions are available by stopping at the office the day prior to viewing or by contacting us by mail or phone. We are at State Spur 86B,
PO Box 38, Halsey, NE 69142. Our phone number is 308-533-2257.

Where can I go prairie dog shooting on Buffalo Gap National Grassland?

With one exception, anywhere on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland and all associated units of the Nebraska National Forest that are open to hunting. The exception is the Conata Basin south of Wall, SD, which is part of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland and is the world’s most successful black-footed ferret recovery site. The black-footed ferret is a federally listed endangered species and depends almost exclusively upon prairie dogs for its food and shelter.

Where can I ride my ATV in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland? Where are the designated trails?

There are no designated OHV trails on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, however, you can ride anywhere on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland with the exception of the Indian Creek area, where motorized travel is restricted to the numbered road that bisects the area.

Be aware of the impact cross-country riding will have to soils and vegetation. You are encouraged to ride on Forest Service numbered roads and well established two-tracks. All OHVs are required to have spark arrestors.

s there a scenic drive/highway in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland?

There is not a designated scenic drive through Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Several state highways go through parts of the grassland: Interstate 90, South Dakota State Highways 240, 44, 79, and 385.

Where can I hunt coyotes, big game, and upland game on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland?

Hunting is allowed anywhere on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, as regulated by state laws and regulations. Contact the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department for license, availability of tags and other information. You can visit their Web site at

Do you have any hiking trails in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland?

You can hike anyplace on the national grassland. There is one developed trail near Wall. To access this trail, take exit 116, off I-90, go south a very short distance to cross the cattle guard/auto gate. The parking area and trailhead are on the west side of the road. Wood 4x4 posts mark this 5 1/2 mile loop trail. There is an extension of this trail to make it a 17 ½ loop. Be sure to take plenty of water. There is no shade along this trail so early morning, or spring and fall are good times to plan this hike. This is also a popular biking trail.

Where can I go rockhounding on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland?

There are several exposed rock beds on Buffalo Gap National Grassland created by water erosion from the Black Hills as they formed between 40 and 60 million years ago. General locations for rock beds include: Conata Basin, Weta Basin, French Creek Campground and near Oelrichs, SD. See the Buffalo Gap Recreation map for these general locations. Little vegetation covers the river cobbles making up the rock beds so they are readily visible.

What are the fixed anchor/bolting regulations in Wilderness Areas managed by the Forest Service in the Rocky Mt. Region?

There are currently no general regulations prohibiting the placement of anchors in Wilderness Areas managed by the Forest Service. However, the most popular climbs already have a number of fixed anchors in place, so the addition of new anchors is not needed and is heavily discouraged. An exception to this would be the need to protect an endangered species (i.e., peregrine falcon nesting), which may require special restrictions on climbing routes and/or fixed anchors. There may be new direction on fixed anchors in Wilderness Areas by this September, 2003, so you may want to check with a Forest Service office after September, or recheck this answer.

Where can we take OHV's on the Pine Ridge Ranger District (Nebraska NF) and the Oglala National Grassland?

There are no trails on the Pine Ridge Ranger District or Oglala National Grassland specifically designated for OHV use. You can currently ride anywhere on the national forest and national grassland except areas closed to motorized use. To reduce soil erosion, we recommend using existing roads as much as possible. Soldier Creek Wilderness, Pine Ridge National Recreation Area, Pine Ridge Trail, Toadstool Trail and Bison Trail are designated for non-motorized use only.

Within five years the forest will initiate a public process to determine which routes or areas will be open for motorized use. If you are interested in participating in this process, send your name, phone number and address (including email) to Nebraska National Forest, 125 North Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337, Attention: Travel Management.

Be sure your OHV is equipped with spark arrestors. As closures may occur due to fire danger, be sure to check with the ranger district for fire danger status.

Where can I hunt on the Nebraska National Forest or Oglala National Grassland?

You can hunt anywhere on the national forest or Oglala National Grassland unless restricted by state or federal law or regulation. Public lands are intermingled with private lands. You must obtain permission to cross private lands to access public lands unless you are on a public road. State law prohibits hunting within a 200 yard radius of an inhabited dwelling or from a public road right-of-way. All state laws and regulations for hunting apply to hunting on public lands. The best way to distinguish public lands from private is to purchase a forest recreation map at the nearest Forest Service office.
For more information on hunting regulations and opportunities in Nebraska, please visit the Nebraska Game and Parks Web site at:

Where can I get information on camping and horseback riding at Ft. Robinson State Park?

Ft. Robinson State Park is managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, not the Forest Service. You can contact them at 308-665-2900 or visit their Web site at

Where can I go horseback riding on the Nebraska National Forest or the Oglala National Grassland? Are there corrals?

You can ride anywhere on the Pine Ridge Ranger District and Oglala National Grassland except in developed campgrounds. Approximately 80 miles of marked trails make up the trail system on the Pine Ridge Ranger District and the Oglala National Grassland. Maps are available at Forest Service offices.

Soldier Creek Wilderness Trailhead, west of Ft. Robinson, Roberts Tract Trailhead, at the north side of the Pine Ridge National Recreation Area, and Outrider Trailhead, just north of Chadron State Park, include corrals and are available on a “first come, first served” basis.

Ride the Ridge, an organized trail ride co-sponsored by the Forest Service, is held the third weekend in July. The ride location changes each year, please call the ranger district for information.

When is the Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed open?

The Visitor Center at Hudson-Meng is open for tours to the public, May 15 – Sept., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Special arrangements can be made for group tours April – October. For more information please call 308-432-4475.

Where can I mountain bike on the Nebraska NF or Oglala NG?

You may mountain bike anywhere on the national forest or grassland except in the Soldier Creek Wilderness.

Can I collect pinecones on National Forests?

Yes, you can collect pinecones for personal use. If you want to resell the pinecones, either wholesale or in items such as wreaths or other objects, you need to get a special use permit. Contact the local forest office for more information.

Can I collect fossils and rocks on the Oglala National Grassland?

Rock hunting and surface collection of rocks and agates is popular in many areas on the Oglala National Grassland. They may be collected for personal use without a permit.

Artifacts, such as projectile points, pottery shards, or any other archeological resources are protected by law, and collection is not allowed.

Collection of vertebrate fossils is allowed by permit only. Please contact the ranger district office for additional information.

Is prairie dog shooting allowed on the Ft. Pierre National Grassland?

Prairie dog shooting is allowed. There are about 750 acres of prairie dog towns scattered throughout the grassland. Shooting prairie dogs is closed from March 1st – June 14th on all public lands in South Dakota.

Is camping allowed in Ft. Pierre National Grassland?

You may camp anywhere on the National Grassland. Open fires are not allowed.

Are hunting and fishing allowed on Ft. Pierre National Grassland?

The national grassland is available for hunting and fishing as regulated by state law. Public lands are intermingled with private lands and access across private lands to reach public lands requires landowner permission.

There are several stock ponds that contain panfish and largemouthed bass. Upland bird hunting is popular, with sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie chicken, and ring-necked pheasant available. Hunters see some success during early season mourning dove and duck seasons. Big game hunters can pursue both mule and white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope. For application purposes, the Ft. Pierre National Grassland and intermingled private lands are within one management unit.
For more information on hunting and fishing regulations in South Dakota, please visit the Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks at

Is off-road travel allowed in the Ft. Pierre National Grassland?

From September 1 through November 30 off road motorized travel is prohibited. Access is provided on numbered Forest Service roads. During the rest of the year, you may currently use motorized vehicles to travel anywhere on the grassland except the Richland Wildlife Area.

Within five years the Fort Pierre National Grassland will initiate a public process to determine which routes or areas will be open for motorized use. If you are interested in participating in this process, send your name, phone number and address (including email) to Nebraska National Forest, 125 North Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337, Attention: Travel Management.

How do I purchase maps for forests and grasslands in South Dakota?

There are three separate maps that cover the Black Hills National Forest, the Fort Pierre National Grassland and the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Recreation/Visitor maps can be purchased by mail or phone from any Forest or Grassland office for $7 for a waterproof, tearproof plastic map, one inch to the mile scale.

How can I reserve Fish Creek Falls or Seedhouse Group Campground for my wedding?

Please contact the Forest Service Office in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for details at 970-870-1870.

Can I reserve a campsite on the Routt National Forest?


Where were the forest fires last year on the Routt National Forest near Steamboat Springs, Colorado? Will any trails be closed?

There were wildfires in portions of the Zirkel Wilderness, Service Creek Wilderness and the Flattops Wilderness areas. At this time, no trails are planned to be closed due to the fires.

How many days can I camp in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area?

The maximum that you can camp or leave camping equipment or personal property on National Forest lands is 14 days within a 30-day period on a Ranger District. This limitation applies to all Forest land on the Routt NF, including the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.

If you take horses or other livestock into a Wilderness Area, do you need to bring special feed?

YES. Noxious weeds are a growing problem in the west and have even taken hold in some Wilderness areas. If you need to bring feed, you are required to use CERTIFIED weed-free hay or processed feed (pellets).  

What are some easy day hikes in the Steamboat Springs area for kids?

Good hikes are the Yampa River Core Trail (paved and level through Steamboat), Spring Creek Trail through the City Park just outside Steamboat, Fish Creek Falls (paved and fully accessible 5 north of Steamboat) and the Sarvis Creek Trail, south of Steamboat.

How do I find out about campfire bans before I get to the forest?

For a list of fire restrictions by County for Colorado, visit
Another way to know for sure is to call ahead to the forest office closest to where you want to visit. If fire bans have been in effect for awhile, the forest Web site may have information posted on its home Web page. You can use the drop-down menu on the left margin of this Web site to find all the national forests and grasslands in the Rocky Mt. Region. Their phone numbers are posted on their Web pages. In addition, once you get to the forest, if a fire ban is in place, there should be large yellow signs indicating what is legal and what is not at all entrances to National Forests, trailheads, campgrounds, offices and visitor bulletin boards.

How do I get to the Sopris Ranger Station in Carbondale, Colorado?

If you’re driving from Denver, Colorado, you may take I-70 westbound to the Glenwood Springs exit, connect with HWY 82 and drive 11 miles to the Carbondale exit. Take the Carbondale exit and drive approximately 12 blocks to the stop light and turn left on Main Street. Drive about six blocks to the Ranger Station which is on your right directly across from the Post Office. Our address is 620 Main Street.

Which Forest Service campgrounds near Carbondale, Colorado, have hook-ups and showers?

The Redstone Campground is the only campground that offers hook-ups and showers on our district. There is an extra fee for hook-ups in the Allegier and Osgood loops. There is no charge for the showers.

Where can we find the Gold Medal Waters in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado?

The Fryingpan, the Colorado, and the Roaring Fork Rivers offer some of the most outstanding fly-fishing in the country. All three rivers produce Gold Medal Waters with spectacular scenic vistas and canyons including rough waters and placid flows through high-country prairies and cottonwood forests. The rivers contain stretches of rainbow and brown trout averaging 12 to 15 inches — or at least that's what is claimed!

Is there a hike near Carbondale, Colorado, where I can view a waterfall?

Yes, the North Fork Trail #1974 lends wonderful views and a waterfall can be seen along the way. The trail follows the North Fork of the Crystal River until it goes over Frigid Air Pass. A large waterfall can be seen about a mile east of Love’s Cabin. Love’s Cabin is a well known landmark at the junction of Hasley Basin and the North Fork of the Crystal. Fravert Basin, a wide, open, scenic valley with beautiful views is seen from the trail. The back side of the Maroon Bells can be viewed from the basin as well. This trail begins at the same spot as the Geneva Lake trail. The grade is moderate until the waterfall, and is mild until the ascent over Frigid Air Pass. It can be part of a loop trail connecting West Maroon Pass and Snowmass Lake.

Do you have a place near Carbondale, Colorado, where we could camp with a tent next to a river or stream?

You might enjoy camping at Bogan Flats Campground near Marble. Bogan Flats offers spectacular scenery with dense forest habitat, very large trees for shade, sites located just five to ten feet away from the Crystal River, great flyfishing and quiet surroundings away from the bustle of the city. Bogan Flats maintains basic amenities such as paved campground roads, a picnic table and benches, fire rings, spurs for parking, vault toilets, water from spickets, and camping for both tents and hard shell campers.

Which four wheel drive route can we take to see plenty of wildflowers near Carbondale, CO?

The Lead King Basin Loop (FDR #315) passes very close to the boundary of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and affords some spectacular views of mountains, canyons and meadows of spectacular wildflowers. The majority of the flowers are usually in bloom throughout July and the show is quite colorful with a lot of variety.

Where can we see the old Crystal Mill near Carbondale, CO and how do we get there? Do we need 4-wheel drive?

The Crystal Mill is actually named Deadhorse Mill and is a historical landmark attraction worth seeing. The mill is located just below Crystal City and still stands next to the Crystal River. This site is pictured on many postcards of Colorado. It’s located on private property off Forest Road #314, which parallels the Crystal River all the way to Crystal City. The scenery on this drive is spectacular.

While traveling from Carbondale go south on Colorado Highway 133 about 22 miles to the Marble turnoff. Go east on the Marble road, through Marble, and past Beaver Lake. The road begins to head uphill and passes over shale rock. About 1 mile outside of Marble there is a fork in the road; four-wheel drive is recommended from this point on. At the fork, take a right onto FDR #314. The road immediately heads downhill and on to Crystal City.
This route also links to FDR #315 and form the Lead King Basin Loop. If you choose to take the entire loop, the recommended direction of travel is #315 to #314.

Is Fish Creek Falls, near Steamboat Springs, CO, open in the winter? Is there parking? Is there a fee?

Fish Creek Falls, one of Steamboat Springs’ most popular attractions, often remains open all winter. If so, the upper and lower parking lots will be plowed and the restrooms will be open for skiers, snowshoers and other winter recreationists. The area use fee is $5 per day. An annual pass can be purchased for $30 per calendar year. About 90 percent of the money collected is used to maintain and improve facilities at Fish Creek Falls. Interpretive signs, restrooms, paved parking lots, and improved trails are some of the projects paid for with area use fees. The interpretive specialists providing information and answering questions at Fish Creek Falls during the summer months are also paid for by use fees.
Other permits that can be used at Fish Creek Falls include Golden age (62 years or older), which costs $10 for life; Golden Eagle, which is $65 per year; and Golden Access for those people who show proof of federal benefits for being disabled.
For more information about Fish Creek Falls, please visit the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District at 925 Weiss Drive in Steamboat Springs, or call 879-1870.