Mt Evans in Colorado.

Peaks to Prairies - Tracks to Trails

Pike and San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (forest locator map) cover nearly 3 million acres, between the prairies of western Kansas and some of Colorado's highest mountain peaks along the Continental Divide. These sprawling forests and grasslands are an eight hour drive from boundary to boundary. This landscape offers a variety of ecosystems rich in history, geology, scenery, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.

The rolling prairies to the east are home to prairie chickens, wildflowers, paleontological resources and historical areas. The snow-capped Rockies to the west are a scenic backdrop to millions of residents and a draw to forest visitors. The forests are home to over half of Colorado's fourteeners with numerous alpine lakes, reservoirs and key rivers. Over 385,000 acres of Wilderness, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Colorado Trail, and Santa Fe National Historic Trail are special areas worth exploring.

People who live near these areas maintain a strong relationship to the lands. The commitment and volunteerism that these community members have for these public lands is the foundation for our ability to maintain a quality, sustainable recreation program in the face of intense, and growing, urban demand.

Critical Information about the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones” are increasing in popularity and can provide wonderful opportunities to explore the forest. Please be aware that these drones are regulated and must follow certain laws to be safe and legal.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Coaldale Campground Closed to Visitor Closed due to flood damage from Hayden Pass fire
Cottonwood Pass Summit Closed to Visitor Due to continuing road construction. The summit will remain closed until June 21, 2019. Closed beyond Denny Creek Trail head. For more information on this Federal Highways Project:
Waldo Canyon Loop Trail #640 Closed to Visitor Closed due to Waldo Canyon Fire; no re-opening date has been established yet.


Frontier Pathways

A scenic drive through the Wet Mountains of the San Isabel National Forest.  For more information visit .

Ski Cooper Alpine Ski Area

Skiing Cooper

Ski Cooper, located atop Tennessee Pass 10 miles north of Leadville on U.S. 24, is a unique and affordable alpine ski area for the whole family. Five lifts serve 26 runs on 400 acres with slightly more intermediate than beginner or expert terrain. The longest run is 1.4 miles. The base sits at an elevation of 10,500 feet, with the summit at 11,700 feet. Ski Cooper averages 250 inches of natural snowfall a year and hosts a variety of fun-filled events throughout the winter season.

Ski Cooper also includes a terrain park with seven different features, short lift lines and a variety of runs. The base facilities include the Ski and Snowboard School which offers alpine, telemark and snowboard instruction; a day lodge with guest services, ticket offices, first-aid room, restaurant and bar; a ski rental shop; the Children's Center, featuring a children's ski school, rental equipment and day care for children ages 2-8; the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center with rental equipment for cross-country skiing, telemarking, and snowshoeing, and the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.

Ski Cooper Stats:

  • Vertical drop: 1,200 feet;
  • Acres: 400;
  • 2,400 acres of snowcat skiing on Chicago Ridge;
  • Lifts: 5- 1 double, 1 triple, 3 surface lifts;
  • 26 runs: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced; 
  • Annual Snowfall: 250 inches.