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Rio Grande National Forest, at the headwaters of the Rio Grande, is characterized by mountain waterways and rugged high country. The 1,851,792-acre forest surrounds the San Luis Valley; its southern tip is along the Colorado-New Mexico boundary.
A majority of the forest lies west of US 285 and is bisected by SR 149 and US 160. The Sangre de Cristo mountain range, now designated a federal wilderness area, lies between SRs 17 and 69. Parts of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges lie within the forest. The Silver Thread Highway, a 75-mile scenic highway, winds through the San Juan Mountains on SR 149.
Saddle and pack trips can be made into La Garita, Sangre de Cristo, South San Juan and Weminuche wilderness areas. Scenic drives over Wolf Creek Pass on US 160 and Cumbres Pass on SR 17 also are popular. Big-game hunting is allowed in season. Wolf Creek Winter Sports Area is near Wolf Creek Pass on US 160.
For more information write Visitor Information Services, Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 US 160W, Monte Vista, CO 81144; phone (719) 852-5941.
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