E bikers enjoy time on trail in Grand Junction, Colorado

Recreate on your public lands!

Planning to visit Colorado this summer? Your public lands are ready and waiting! We will be releasing recommendations through our official Facebook and Twitter accounts highlighting must-see locations managed by BLM Colorado for the next several months. There is something for everyone, from dirt biking to hiking, from red canyons to alpine tundra.

Please stay safe while recreating, some areas may have signage or kiosks informing visitors of approved uses, rules, trail signage, or other reminders to keep you recreating responsibly. Please remember to be aware of any fire conditions before visiting, come prepared for your activities, and enjoy!

This month we are focusing on our Rocky Mountain District, where we have the Royal Gorge and San Luis Valley Field Offices. Public lands in these areas can be found in southeast Colorado along the San Juan Mountains. Hotspots include Guffey Gorge, the Arkansas River Special Recreation Area, Penitente Canyon, Blanca Wetlands, and the Rio Grande area. We will be releasing highlights for each of these locations every week, so be sure to follow, like, and share our content!

Southwest District (Montrose/Dolores/Durango)

Dolores River Special Recreation Management Area - Ready for flatwaters and Class IV rapids? If not, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy along the Dolores River!

Image of Dolores River at low water.
Dolores River.

San Miguel River - Several recreation sites including boat launches, camping areas, hiking trails, and more await you.

Snowy mountains in front of autumn leaves.
San Miguel River area.

Hartman Rocks Recreation Area - Dispersed camping, climbing crags, mountain biking, dirt biking, hiking, and more are available throughout over 14,000 acres of public lands.

A dirt path through a desert area with large boulders and rocks.
Hartman Rocks.

Alpine Loop - Check out some scenic mountains - four-wheel-drive required!

A jeep parked beside a trail along an alpine area.
Alpine Loop.

Canyons of the Ancients - Come visit one of the highest archeologically dense areas in North America. Come see some of the most well-preserved evidence of North American cultures at our visitor center. 

Ruins of ancient brick dwelling on ridge overlooking Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Canyons of the Ancients.

Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area - Mountain biking, off-roading, camping, and more opportunities! National Conservation Areas are some of our most beautiful locations for you to enjoy your public lands.

Rafters paddle through a calm section of the Gunnison Gorge.
Gunnison Gorge.

Northwest District (Kremmling/Craig/Rangely)

Pumphouse Recreation Area - There is plenty of water to share, hop on your raft and take a float down some scenic public lands!

A man riding a kayak.
Pumphouse kayaking.

North Sand Hills Recreation Area/Wilderness Study Area - Interested in some beautiful sand dunes? Grab your dirt bike, helmet, and some friends for some fun. This area is pretty popular, so make sure you are sharing your public lands and driving safely. 

Several off road vehicles lined up on sand.
North Sand Hills.

Wolford Special Recreation Management Area - You'll need some serious 4x4 skill to recreate here, hop in your Jeep and head out today!

A blue jeep riding over large rocks.
Wolford SRMA.

Little Yampa Canyon - This area features plenty of areas along the Yampa River for rafting, hiking, hunting, fishing, and more. Be aware - there are many private lands along the river so always be sure you are recreating on public lands!

A river.
Yampa River.

Emerald Mountain - Head over to this scenic area the next time you're passing through Steamboat Springs! There are some seasonal closures in this area starting December 1, so make sure you head out for a beautiful hike sooner than later.

Several people sitting on a bench.
Emerald Mountain.

Irish Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern - This scenic canyon features a short hiking trail with several ancient petroglyphs along the way. This area is wonderful for learning about our past. Visitors much be careful to leave no trace when recreating here, this site offers many fragile, irreplaceable resources to help us understand our heritage.

Writing on stone.
Irish Canyon.

Willow Creek Wilderness Study Area - Come enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, and horse backing!

Forested area.
Willow Creek.

Upper Colorado River District (Grand Junction/Silt)

Upper Colorado River Special Recreation Management Area Ready for a summer picnic, quick swim, camping, boating and more? Head out to the Colorado River for a day trip or overnight camping!

A raft floating down a scenic river.
Upper Colorado River.

North Desert Area An off-roading paradise! Come enjoy plenty of trails, but please remember to practice safe riding and share the trail with others.

A man riding a bike.
North Desert biking trail.

Gateway Area Ready for a natural, scenic area with plenty of wildlife? Gateway offers local scenic and heritage tours of the area, off-roading, hiking, and much more. 

Colorful trees in a canyon.
Gateway recreation.

Palisade Plunge Known for world-class biking and 32 miles of single-track, this area also has hiking and horseback riding. You're sure to love it, but please be aware this trail is recommended for experienced bikers. 

view of valley from mountain top
Palisade Plunge.

Ruby Horsethief Canyon If you missed camping permits at this location, you can still enjoy the day at the Canyon! This section of the Colorado River flows through beautiful red rocks with plenty of wildlife, hiking trails, and motorized trails. 

A river with rocks in it at dusk.
Ruby Horsethief along the Colorado River.

McInnis Canyons One of several fantastic National Conservation Areas in Colorado, this location has plenty to do!

Three women standing with their bikes in a canyon.
McInnis Canyons.

Dominguez-Escalante Another awesome Conservation Area, there is plenty of off-roading, hiking, hunting and much more! Plan your trip today. 

photo of the gunnison river with red rock canyons


Rocky Mountain District (Eastern Colorado)

Guffey Gorge – As close to paradise you can get! This short hike is tucked in southern Park County with a one-mile hiking leading visitors into an impressive ponderosa pine forest with a waterfall and swimming hole. The trail leading into this area was recently improved by our recreation staff, to allow easy and safe access to the gorge. 

Small swimming hold between large boulders.
Guffey Gorge.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area – Considered the most popular whitewater rafting opportunities in the country, these public lands have much to offer! The Arkansas Headwaters area offers over 25 developed river-access areas with opportunities to hike, boat, fish, hike, camp, or watch wildlife. Visitors may need to pay a fee depending on their planned activities for the day, which can be purchased on-site or online through Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website

Many rafts full of people floating down a river.
Arkansas Headwaters.

Gold Belt Recreation Management Area - If whitewater rafting in the Arkansas River wasn't enough, stop by one of our many campgrounds at Gold Belt! This area includes over 130 miles of historical sites, museums, recreation sites, climbing, fossil hunting, and so much more. This area is also near other sites such as Shelf Road, a popular climbing destination. 

Scenic view of mountains and a canyon.
Gold Belt Recreation Area.

Rio Grande Natural Area – Go fishing along a scenic canyon or enjoy some flatwater rafting! This area borders Colorado and New Mexico with a long canyon hike for some beautiful views.

River flowing along vegetation.
Rio Grande river.

Penitente Canyon No explanation needed, this area offers camping, history, climbing, and much more! Check out the video below.

Zapata Falls Recreation Area – Camping, hiking, and a waterfall as your reward for enjoying public lands – what more can we say? 

Several people having a discussion on a slightly snowy trail.
Zapata Falls.

Blanca Wetlands Recreation Area – One of the most incredible wetlands in Colorado, this area features so much diverse wildlife, it feels unreal! While this area is perfect to watch wildlife, go fishing, or hike through, users should be aware of seasonal closures through autumn to the end of spring before planning a trip. 

A man fishes in a small pond.
Blanca Wetlands.

Stay tuned for more districts (updated every month until September!)


For more information about each recreation site please contact the field office.