Greenhorn Mountains Wilderness

The Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1993 and it now has a total of 23,087 acres. Soaring dramatically from the plains of Colorado, Greenhorn Mountain rises from 7,600 to 12,347 feet in the center of the northern section. Its summit is the highest point in the Wilderness, and nowhere else in the state provides such a vivid and dramatic change from plains to mountains.

About two-thirds of the area is forested, and as you hike along, you'll pass quickly from dry oakbrush and ponderosa pine country (or pinion-juniper in some places) through aspen, fir, and spruce, and on to alpine tundra. Most of the east-facing slopes are steep, rocky, and generally bare. Unusual for Colorado, Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness has no lakes and no towering alpine peaks--and, consequently, few human visitors. Numerous small canyons and sharp ridges are the dominant geological features. A few streams descending from the mountain furnish a habitat for threatened greenback cutthroat trout. With relatively little snow, the area attracts bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer.

Only 11 miles of trail cross the Wilderness, all in the northern half. The southern half, remote and rugged and waterless, probably has fewer human visitors than any other area of the state. If you're willing to brave the dense woodlands and rough topography, you'll find few places with as much solitude.

Please help keep Wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace practices. 

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply.
Closest Towns: Canon City, Colorado; Rye, Colorado; Gardner, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: San Carlos Ranger District

General Information


Trailhead/trail access

Forest map

View the San Isabel National Forest Visitor Map 2006 (southern portion).

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.

Go to for additional maps and information about Wilderness.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities