The American Flats WSA is a high-elevation expanse of land consisting of rolling, grassy tundra and multiple rugged peaks. Between wide expanses of alpine meadows and steep mountain summits, American Flats offers many opportunities for solitude and challenge.
Within the WSA, there are five peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation, an alpine lake (American Lake), and multiple smaller tundra ponds. Several drainages also radiate from Dolly Varden (12,932 feet) and Sunshine Mountain (13,321 feet), including the North Hensen Creek.
Total Area: 3,062 acres
Elevation Range: ~11,200 to ~13,300 feet
BLM Field Office: Gunnison
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The American Flats WSA is located in Ouray and Hinsdale Counties, approximately five miles east of Ouray; 11 miles west of Lake City. The WSA is bounded on the north and west by national forest land, part of which is the Big Blue Wilderness Area. Click here for a map.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of spruce-fir, alpine grasses, sedges, and forbs. Fauna includes Rocky Mountain elk and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, hunting, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in WSAs, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.
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Gunnison Field Office | (970) 642-4940 | 650 S. 11th St., Gunnison, CO 81230