About the Area
On June 3, 1905, Teddy Roosevelt signed a Presidential Proclamation creating almost two million acres of National Forest in southwestern Colorado. Known by different names over the past century, including the Montezuma National Forest and Durango National Forest, this federal land is now the San Juan National Forest.
Today the San Juan National Forest encompasses about 1.8 million acres in the southwestern corner of Colorado. Terrain ranges from high-desert mesas to alpine peaks, with thousands of miles of back roads and hundreds of miles of trails to explore. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor recreation activities including hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, alpine and nordic skiing, horseback riding, and camping.
The area features a National Forest Scenic Byway, the San Juan Skyway and a Bureau of Land Management 4WD Scenic Byway, the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. The San Juan National Forest shares management of four designated Wilderness areas: Weminuche Wilderness, Lizard Head Wilderness, Hermosa Wilderness and South San Juan Wilderness.
These federal lands are managed for multiple uses; visitors are asked to respect each other and the natural resources.
Be sure to check out our special places and recreation pages to discover everything the San Juan National Forest has to offer. The area is rich in history. However, the national forest is not the only attraction to see in the area. Within the San Juan National Forest and surrounding areas lives a wide variety of other beautiful sites to see and adventures to undertake!
On June 3, 1905, Teddy Roosevelt signed a Presidential Proclamation creating almost two million acres of National Forest in southwestern Colorado.
The 1.8 million acres of the San Juan National Forest has been divided into three districts: Dolores, Columbine and Pagosa Ranger Districts.
The San Juan National Forest abounds with natural and cultural treasures with five distinct life zones ranging from elevations near 5,000 feet to above 14,000 feet. Learn more about our special places: Wilderness areas, Special Management Areas, Scenic Byways and Historic Sites.