Wilderness Areas

Area Status: Open

The Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands is home to nine congressionally designated wilderness areas with over 385,000 acres of untrammeled opportunities for challenge, solitude, tranquility and personal growth. Wilderness areas provide critical habitat for a multitude of species and help to protect important natural resources, such as clean water.

There are regulations in place for each wilderness (e.g., group size, number of stock animals, type of stock feed, campfires, camping locations and dogs) to minimize human impacts to these unique and special areas. Some wildernesses require visitors to obtain self-issued permits that are available at each trailhead at no cost. Permits are required to measure the number of visitors using an area and educate visitors about the benefits of minimizing our collective impacts.

Many of the forest's popular climbing peaks over 14,000' (Fourteeners) are within designated wilderness where regulations apply. Please always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean and pristine! Read the special considerations for Bear Country.

Maps are available.

Wilderness areas

At a Glance

Permit Info: Three Wilderness areas - Holy Cross, Lost Creek, and Mount Evans - require visitors to obtain self-issued permits. Permits are available at each trailhead at no cost.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: June-September
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands district offices.

General Information

General Notes:

Colorado’s Fourteeners

For more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks please visit the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.

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.


Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Areas for XC Skiing/Snowshoeing at Wilderness Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  • 'Queen of the 14ers' Link opens in a new window

    She is the agency’s Colorado Fourteeners Program manager; others simply refer to her as ‘Queen of the 14ers’.