San Juan National Forest
Nearly 3000 square miles of raw American beauty. At Durango's fingertips, the San Juan National Forest sweeps across the landscape, replete with soaring peaks—many over 14,000 feet—canyons, waterfalls, high alpine lakes and archeological ruins.
Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the San Juan Forest a national treasure on June 3, 1905, for its natural riches and Native significance. Spanning across the rugged terrain, bighorn sheep, elk, bear, fox, almost 300 species of birds and other fauna add life to the Forest's epic scenery and historic sites, including ancient human dwellings, provide a rare peek at the area's cultural heritage.
Thinking about a visit? Visitors enjoy outdoor activities year-round!
Two of the most popular things to do in the San Juan National Forest are camping and hiking. Choose from about 40 campgrounds throughout the forest. Explore a labyrinth of hiking trails. Whether you're a day hiker, backpacker or serious alpinist, with over 500 miles of trails, the San Juan National Forest has just the trek for you. Other recreational options include fishing, boating, biking, cross-country skiing, rafting and horseback riding.
Consider enjoying the landscape from the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which passes through the Forest. Or take a scenic drive just to relish the seasonal brilliance of fall.
Visit the incredible Needles Mountains located in the expansive Weminuche Wilderness Area—a real treat for hikers, climbers and photographers.
Stop in the ghost town of Animas Forks. Go rafting or kayaking along the Lower Animas River, a tributary of the San Juan River, also called the "River of Lost Souls".
Fish for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout in one of SJNF's bubbling steams, reservoirs or mountain lakes.
Explore Chimney Rock Archeological Area that was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians 1,000 years ago. See the ceremonial buildings and over 200 homes that the ancestors built.
Catch breath-taking views of Southern Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Juans.
Stand at the Continental Divide. The Great Divide separates the San Juan National Forest and adjacent Rio Grande National Forest, offering a fun photo-op for new visitors to Colorado's Rocky Mountain region. SJNF also borders the Uncompahgre National Forest and the two alpine wilderness areas: the Weminuche and South San Juan.
Whatever brings you to the San Juan National Forest, you are sure to carry away memories of its splendor.
San Juan Skyway
"Road to the sky." This 233-mile (375 km) loop carves through the San Juan Mountains amid towering 14,000 foot peaks. Hug sheer mountain cliffs, drive-by rushing rapids, relish the water falls created by melting snow. The drive takes about 5 hours, but you will want to plan additional time to stop in the quaint Old West towns of Silverton, Ouray, Pacerville, Rico, Dolores and Cortez, Colorado. And don't miss the areas many outstanding attractions.
San Juan Skyway Map
Click map for enlarged view.
More Information about San Juan National Forest
Browse our full listing of San Juan National Forest campgrounds for details about particular campsites or camping reservations inside the National Forest. A campground map showing the approximate locations of each campground will help you select your camping area of choice.
San Juan National Forest (Public Lands Center)