Colorado Wilderness Facts

  • About 3.3 million acres of largely National Forest land has been designated as wilderness in Colorado since passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964.

  • Designated wilderness in Colorado amounts to apprximately 5% of the land area of the state.

  • The first wilderness areas designated in Colorado were the Maroon Bells-Snowmass, La Garita, Mount Zirkel, Rawah, and West Elk Wildernesses, as part of original 1964 Wilderness Act.

  • The most recent area designated in Colorado was the 14,000-acre James Peak Wilderness, in 2002

  • The biggest wilderness area in Colorado is the Weminuche Wilderness, at 488,210 acres

  • The smallest wilderness area in Colorado is the Byers Peak Wilderness, at 8,095 acres

  • The highest elevation wilderness area in Colorado is the Mount Massive Wilderness, home to Colorado's second-highest peak of the same name (14,421 feet)

  • The lowest-elevation wilderness are in Colorado is the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, 4,700 feet along the Colorado River


Colorado Wilderness Statistics - 2006

  Acres  Wilderness  Percent
Colorado  66,621,311        3,431,176           5.15%
Federal Lands  24,817,058 3,431,176 13.83%
National Forests  14,417,554 3,191,484 21.80%
National Parks  696,169 99,941 14.36%
Wildlife Refuges  145,918 0 0.00%
BLM  8,333,175 147,906 1.77%
  • Colorado currently has 41 designated wilderness areas, totaling 3.4 million acres (5% of the state)

  • Approximately 22% of Forest Service land and 9% of National Park Service land in Colorado are protected as wilderness.

  • Several areas of BLM land were designated in 1993, 1999, and 2000 wilderness bills, but this still amounts to less than 2% of BLM's land in the state.

  • If all of the areas in the Citizens' Wilderness Proposal are designated as wilderness, it would amount to only 18% of BLM land as wilderness, with another 1% of Forest Service land added as part of adjacent BLM wildernesses. The CWP additions would result in 7% of Colorado's land area receiving Congressional protection as wilderness.

> Map of all Citizens' Proposed Wilderness areas in Colorado

Acreage Comparison

> Table of CWP areas and BLM Wilderness Study Areas -- Alphabetical

> Table of CWP areas and BLM Wilderness Study Areas -- By Regional Field Office


Success Stories

> Read about recent Wilderness Designation

Print version of Colorado Wilderness Facts (pdf) »

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© 2006 Colorado Wilderness Network.