About the Forest

View of the Flat Tops Wilderness


The White River National Forest was established in 1891 as the White River Plateau Timber Reserve; the second such reserve to be named in the United States.  In 1905, the newly formed Forest Service was given authority of the reserve. Long before this designation, the area was home to the Ute Indians who followed herds of elk and bison on their seasonal migrations.

Today the Forest is a world-renowned recreation destination. With more than 10 million visitors per year, the White River is the most-visited recreation forest in the country. The forest encompasses five ranger districts

Forest Facts

The White River National Forest spans 2.3 million acres, and includes:

  • 8 Wilderness areas
  • 12 ski resorts
  • 4 major reservoirs
  • 10 peaks higher than 14,000 feet in elevation
  • 2,500 miles of trails
  • 1,900 miles of Forest Service system roads