La Garita Wilderness: Gunnison


Approach to San Luis Peak in La Garita WIlderness

La Garita Wilderness spans 129,626 acres within Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests in Colorado.  La Garita is a Spanish name meaning the "the overlook." From the summit of this Wilderness's single fourteen foot peak (14,014’ San Luis Peak), climbers can observe the upper Rio Grande Valley and down the long stretch of the San Luis Valley.

About 35 miles of the Continental Divide lies above the forestland and provides habitat for large numbers of elk and mule deer during the warmer months. The southern slopes in Wason Park and Silver Park, added in 1993, maintain an ancient forest of towering spruce and fir. This Wilderness contains rushing streams, broad and gentle alpine meadows, beaver ponds, long talus slopes, and mountain vistas.

The Wheeler Geologic Area (Rio Grande National Forest) hides in the southeast corner of the Wilderness. It once claimed to be Colorado's most visited site and is probably the state's most unusual geological formation: fine, light-gray volcanic ash compressed into rock and wildly eroded into a striking series of domes, spires, caves, ledges, pinnacles, ravines, and balanced rocks.

Many trailheads open onto approximately 175 miles of trail, almost all well suited for horse-packing. About 27 miles of the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide National Scenic Trail follow the divide through La Garita Wilderness.

Parts of this Wilderness receive less use than others due to its remote location. Always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep this area wild, clean, and pristine.

At a Glance

Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply.
Closest Towns: Lake City, Colordao: Creede, Colorado; South Fork, Colorado; Del Norte, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

National Forest Recreation Maps - South Gunnison (pdf)  (Zoomify)

Topo maps

Forest Service Topography Maps: These maps overlay Forest Service assets, such as roads, trails, and campgrounds, on USGS's topographic maps. They are available for download by quadrangle.

Buy maps online

National Forest Store: Offers a full, nationwide selection of National Forest, Ranger District, Wilderness, and Specialty Maps for purchase online or by phone, fax, and mail.

Colorado’s Fourteen Thousand Foot Peaks (14ers)

Fourteen Thousand Foot Peaks on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest.

Find more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks at the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.

Go to for additional maps and information about Wilderness.

Climbers on San Luis Peak in La Garita Wilderness


Trailheads/trails that access La Garita Wilderness at Gunnison National Forest:

Eddiesville South Trailhead (area is unavailable)

Spring Creek Road ( 592)

Mineral Creek Trailhead - Mineral Creek Trail #466

Rough Creek Trailhead - Rough Creek Trail #463

Stewart Creek Trailhead -  Stewart Creek Trail #470

Tumble Creek Trailhead (area is unavailable) -Skyline Trail #465, Cebolla Trail #459

See also:


Areas & Activities