Alt= "South Park Ranger District Station, Fairplay CO"
South Park Ranger District
The South Park Ranger District is a part of the USDA Forest Service covering 456,599 acres of the Pike National Forest. The Pike National Forest consists of 1,106,604 acres divided into three ranger districts: South Park, South Platte, and Pikes Peak. The district office is located in Fairplay, CO with most of the district located in Park County and some in Teller County. The land ranges in elevation from 7,100 to 14,285 feet and provides ample opportunities to backpack and hike the Pike National Forest.
Thinking About Hiking?
General Hiking Information & Suggested Guidelines
With the freedom that hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking offer comes the responsibility to care for the enviornment and to respect the rights of others. The complex ecological interrelationship in which our wildlands have existed for thousands of years can easily be upset or destroyed by the careless recreationalist. If our wildlands are to exist for future generations to enjoy please adopt the backcountry ethic of "Take only photographs and leave only footprints."
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Prepare for all types of weather. Don't forget clothing that will protect you from cold, heat, or rain. Know your route. Learn the area before you visit. Read books and talk to people about the area. Obtain maps for reference and to show others where you are planning to visit. If ascending from peaks, try to be descending by noon to avoid afternoon storms. Ensure that a friend or family knows where you are headed, what trail(s) you are intending on using and an estimate of when you will return. In case of emergency, always call 911.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Stay on the main trail to protect natural resources. If no trail exists, travel on a durable surface such as rock or snow. Utilize existing campsites whenever possible to help minimize your impact on that area. Always camp 100 feet from roads and trails and 200 feet from water sources. Always camp below treeline to avoid damaging alpine areas, they are incredibly fragile and once damaged, may never grow back.
Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. Utilize bathrooms or outhouses when available. When they are not, be sure to dig a hole at least 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water and 100 feet from a trail. There are several options for disposing of toilet paper: bury it in the hole, burn it, or put it in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the garbage. When above treeline, human waste and food will not decompose. Throw away your food scraps and utilize "wag bag" in these areas.
Leave What You Find
Leave plants, rocks, animal and historical items as you find them for others to enjoy. Good campsites are found, not made. Don't dig trenches or structures in your campsite. Hacking or peeling plants can kill them.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Utilize a camp stove to prepare meals. Use exisiting fire rings and keep your fires small and manageable. Collect loose sticks from the ground. Be sure the fire is dead and out before you leave your campsite. *Contact your local Forest Service office before your trip to determine if there are fire restrictions in place*
Be quiet and keep your distance. Never approach, feed, or follow animals. Keep control of your pets at all times. In wilderness areas pets must be leashed at all times. Store your food and trash appropriately. Bear hangs and bear boxes may be required. Check with the Forest Service offices for special orders regarding food storage.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Travel in small groups. Talk quietly, you will see more animals if you are quiet. Remember that other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors.
Wilkerson Pass Visitors center is
closed until further notice.
Ask us at the office or stop in!
320 U.S. 285
P.O. Box 219
Fairplay, CO 80440
Due to the unusual spring weather some trails may not be accessible. Please use caution when hiking trails with snow pack and swift running water.
Before The Trip & While Recreating
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace
Other Points to Think About
Allow horses plenty of room on trails
Move the group off to one side of the trail (downhill side is the best) and avoid sudden movements as horses pass. Stay in communication with the rider(s), they will help you out and provide additional instructions. Mountain bikes yield to horses and hikers, hikers yield to horses and bikers.
Maintain a manageable group size
If you are going with a large group, be sure to know the rules and restrictions for the areas you plan to visit. No groups Larger than 15, when traveling in wilderness areas such as Buffalo Peaks and Lost Creek, are permitted without first obtaining a special use permit. Large groups can cause damage to these areas. For permits and additional information please contact the South Park Ranger Station.