Weminuche Wilderness: Rio Grande

Window near Pyramid Peak in Weminuche Wilderness

At three quarters the size of Rhode Island, the Weminuche Wilderness is the largest Wilderness area in Colorado at 499,771 acres. The Weminuche was designated by Congress in 1975, and expanded by the Colorado Wilderness Acts of 1980 and 1993.

The Weminuche spans the Continental Divide, North America's geological backbone, with its headwaters diverted to both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Eolus, Sunlight, and Windom peaks rise above 14,000 feet, while many others reach above 13,000 feet. With an average elevation of 10,000 feet above sea level, the Weminuche is rugged country, but its ecosystems are fragile.

Heavy winter snow and summer thunderstorms provide an abundance of water leading to some of North America’s most spectacular wildflower displays.  Wildflower season peaks in the high country in mid-July, but often continues into early September in the subalpine forests.

As you visit, you will join thousands of others who travel in the Weminuche each year. You can help protect the Wilderness through your knowledge and skills, and by complying with regulations. Many people are not aware of the impacts they cause. Please follow the special regulations associated with this Wilderness and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean, and pristine.


At a Glance

Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply. View Weminuche Wilderness specific restrictions.
Closest Towns: Silverton, CO; South Fork, CO; Durango, CO; Bayfield, CO; Pagosa Springs, CO; Creede, CO
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.g
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information

General Notes:

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 Fourteeners

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.


See also:


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Current Conditions