- The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests surround Rocky Mountain National Park
- Find year-round recreational opportunities in these pristine forests
- Camp out under the stars in any one of many campgrounds
- Hike Arapaho Glacier Trail into Indian Peaks Wilderness
- Fish the Cache la Poudre River or go whitewater rafting
The Arapaho / Roosevelt National Forest is located in north central Colorado and covers 1.3 million acres. The Arapaho National Forest is administered jointly with the Roosevelt National Forest. These are very popular national forests and attract millions of visitors each year. Outdoor recreation is abundant, with plenty of kayaking, fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting and much more.
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests surround Rocky Mountain National Park and you can access them from any of the towns surrounding the park. You can contact the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Headquarters at 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E, Fort Collins, CO 80526. Their phone number is 970-295-6600. Their official website is www.fs.usda.gov/main/arp/home.
This national forest area is accessible all year, but be prepared for all kinds of weather no matter when you visit. Winter snow will be blocking trails in higher elevations until July.
There are plenty of places to camp in both forests. In Arapaho National Forest you’ll find Mizpah Campground about seven and a half miles north of Interstate 70 on US 40, just south of Berthoud Pass. Tucked in a stand of spruce trees, it’s a perfect place for all kinds of campers. St. Louis Creek Campground is a rustic camping spot with lots of hiking and biking trails nearby. For some great camping in Roosevelt National Forest, try the Tom Bennett Campground or the Long Draw Campground. Both offer incredible views.
Take a car for a scenic driving trip and discover the ideal way to easily see the sights. The Peak to Peak Byway connects Estes Park to Blackhawk. It’s a 52-mile route with lots to see along the way.
There are numerous hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. Many lead into wilderness areas, and others move through the mountains. Arapaho Glacier Trail moves north and into Indian Peaks Wilderness. You end with an incredible view of Boulder. There are hundreds of miles of trails through many different habitats, from Aspen forests to Ponderosa pine and even alpine tundra.
Experience the Cache la Poudre Wild and Scenic River
Premiere fishing and whitewater rafting can be found on the waters of the Cache la Poudre. On this river, 30 miles are classified “wild” and 45 miles are classified “recreational.” There are seven points for put-ins and take-outs along its banks. The Division of Wildlife has designated two sections as “Wild Trout Waters.” Fish the headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park by taking a trail off the Trail Ridge Road. You’ll also find access at the Poudre State Wildlife Area and Bliss State Wildlife Area. There are many more places to fish all along the river.
During the cold and snow-filled months, you’ll find great skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Eldora Mountain Ski Area is also located within the forest and offers wonderful skiing and snowboarding.
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests were originally part of the Medicine Bow Forest, established in 1897. The forests were then made part of the Colorado National Forest in 1910 and named after President Roosevelt in 1932 in recognition of founding the National Forest system. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests today encompass 1.3 million acres of foothills, canyons, and jagged peaks. The forests also surround Wilderness Areas of Indian Peaks, Rawah, Cache la Poudre, and Comanche Peak.