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Rio Grande National Forest: Conejos Peak Ranger District

Located in central Colorado and bordering New Mexico, Conejos Peak is the southernmost Ranger District on the Rio Grande National Forest. Year-round recreation opportunities abound, from exploring the South San Juan Wilderness to fishing Platoro Reservoir to snowshoeing a vast network of alpine trails. Originally the territory of the Puebloans, Ute, and Jicarilla Apache, the RGNF was established by executive order in 1908. Conejos Peak RD comprises 337,314 acres, and is administered by the United States Forest Service.

The 10 Essentials

ACTIVITIES:

  • backpacking
  • bird-watching
  • camping
  • climbing
  • day hiking
  • equestrian
  • fishing
  • foraging
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • mountaineering
  • OHV
  • paddling
  • picnicking
  • rafting
  • rockhounding
  • scenic drive
  • snowshoeing
  • swimming
  • trail running
  • XC skiing

HIGHLIGHTS:

Blanca Peak (14,345’), the highest peak on the Rio Grande NF
Trujillo Meadows
Platoro Reservoir & Ghost Town / Resort
Blowout Pass Special Interest Area (Wightman Fork – Upper Burro Roadless Area)

HABITAT:

This area of the forest falls within the Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe Ecoregion, primarily composed of open woodland, coniferous forest, and alpine meadows.

Elevation ranges from around 7500 – 14,345’ (Blanca Peak)

AVAILABILITY:

Open year-round. Check the Rio Grande National Forest alerts page or call the Ranger District at 719 274-8971 (M-F; 8-430) for current conditions, restrictions, and closures.

AMENITIES:

11 developed campgrounds (FREE – $28/night)

Group camping at Mogote – Juniper for up to 100 ($132/night)
2 Cabin rentals (1 ADA-accessible)
Dispersed Camping
37 designated trailheads with hundreds of miles of established trail open to hikers, cyclists, equestrian, OHV, and snowmobiles
2 Picnic Areas: Mix Lake Observation Site (FREE) & Spectacle Lake Day Use ($11-14)
2 Interpretive Sites (Potosi Vista)

2 Boat Ramps (Platoro Reservoir & Trujillo Meadows)

PERMITS / FEES:

In general, there are no permits or fees, except camping in some developed campgrounds. Click here to download a Rio Grande NF Campground Guide (XLS).

Additional fee information can be found here.

SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS:

Part of the Old Spanish National Historic TrailLos Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway

Numerous historical sites recalling Colorado’s mining history dot the District, notably Platoro, which lives on as a humble resort village. Also, Summitville, once a gold mine that ultimately turned into Colorado’s most devastating Superfund cleanup site after the foreign private company mining it declared bankruptcy, and for which state taxpayers now foot the bill to keep it clean to the tune of $2 MILLION annually.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Kid-friendly
Dog-friendly
ADA: Some facilities are accessible, including Platoro Cabin #2, and most of the developed campgrounds (click here for more info).

No public transit.

NEAREST SERVICES:

Chama, NM to the southwest, and Antonito, CO east of the district are the closest full-service towns.

HEADS-UP!

Risks include: altitude- and cold-related illnesses. Many parts of this District are remote, and phone service should not be expected. Fire bans and restrictions may be in effect. This is black bear country. Check here or call the District for current info.

Flora & Fauna

Exceptional variation of ecosystems within the District support an exceptional variety of wildlife and wildflowers, including:

Take a walk through the district:

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