Powderhorn Wilderness

Powderhorn Wilderness

Powderhorn Wilderness is located 10 miles northeast of Lake City, Colorado and occupies 61,915 acres. The southern one-fourth of the Wilderness is managed by Gunnison National Forest (13,935 acres), and the northern three-fourths by the Bureau of Land Management. Elevations range from 8,699’ in the north to 12,600' in the south.

In this Wilderness the northern verge of the San Juan Mountains reaches out into the Gunnison Basin, a dry land of sagebrush meadows strewn with fish-filled lakes, including Powderhorn Lakes. Worn by glaciation, the Cannibal and Calf Creek Plateaus contain one of the largest, least disturbed, and relatively flat alpine tundra areas in the contiguous United States. Elk and mule deer roam the plateaus and pass through the stands of aspen, pine, spruce, and fir that blanket the lower elevations.

Trails include the Powderhorn Lakes, East Fork, Powderhorn Park, North Calf Creek, Canyon Inferno and Devil's Creek trails.

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, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management
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

USGS Store: Offers a full, nationwide selection of National Forest, Ranger District, Wilderness, and Specialty Maps for purchase online.

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 Wilderness.net for additional maps and information about Wilderness.


Trailheads/trails that access Powderhorn Wilderness at Gunnison National Forest:

Access from the south from Forest Road 788:

Brush Creek Trailhead


Powderhorn Park Trailhead