White River National Forest

Welcome to the White River National Forest

2.3 million acres of public land in the heart of the Colorado Rockies

Find Your Adventure

The White River National Forest is a world-renowned recreation destination home to iconic destinations such as Maroon Bells and Hanging Lake, 11 ski resorts, 10 peaks over 14,000 feet, and eight wilderness areas that cover more than a third of its acreage. Traveling through its five ranger districts, you can explore the classic Colorado Rocky Mountains of the Gore, Tenmile, Sawatch and Elk Ranges as well as the distinctly unique Flat Tops.

  • Special Places

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    The White River National Forest is full of special places. Find the details you need to visit some of our most popular destinations.

  • Passes and Permits

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    Passes and permits are needed for a variety of activities. Find information about recreation passes and permits, forest product and Christmas tree cutting permits, special event permits, and commercial filming and events.

  • Maps and Publications

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    Know before you go! Motor Vehicle Use Maps detailing the Forest Roads and Trails and other maps are key to helping you plan your adventure – and stay on course while you are visiting.

  • Land and Resource Management

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    It takes a team of specialists to manage the many resources and uses on the White River National Forest. Learn more about resource management.


Firefighters plan spring prescribed fires

Firefighters ignite brush as part of a prescribed fire effort

Fire is as much a part of the natural ecosystem in western Colorado as the wildlife and the trees. Our forest and brush species in western Colorado are adapted and benefit from some level of wildfire.

Every spring and fall the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management, working cooperatively as the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit, carefully plan prescribed fires to reap these natural and necessary benefits of fire.

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Permit and Fee Program for Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness!

Map showing the 28 percent of the maroon Bells Snowmass wilderness requiring a permit in 2023

The most-visited areas of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness require an overnight permit year-round, with an associated recreation permit fee required May 1 through Oct. 31.

This overnight permit and fee program is critical to giving us the resources we need to effectively manage, restore and protect this cherished but heavily used and impacted area.

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