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West Needles



The West Needles Contiguous WSA lies mostly within the steep and forested Animas River Canyon, and encompasses portions of the Animas River. Meadows of gently-rolling to nearly-flat topography are found in the western portion of the unit near Molas Lake, with a steep drop down into the Animas Gorge in the eastern portion.

Total Area: 918 acres
Elevation Range: ~9,160 to ~10,640 feet
BLM Field Office: Tres Rios
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)

Location: The West Needles Contiguous WSA is located in San Juan County, approximately four miles south of Silverton. It is adjacent to San Juan National Forest land.

Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of alpine tundra, spruce, aspen, and riparian communities. Fauna includes lynx and possible bighorn sheep.

Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, 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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Tres Rio Field Office  |  (970) 882-7296  |  29211 Hwy 184, Dolores, CO 81323