Designated by the United States Congress in 1964, the Rawah Wilderness is one of the original five areas in Colorado to have been recognized as a national wilderness area. The Rawah Wilderness now contains over 74,500 acres and it is managed by the United States Forest Service.
It resides within both the Routt and Roosevelt national forests. The name Rawah comes from a Native American word meaning “wild place”. Elevations within the wilderness area range from 8,400 to 13,000 feet.
National Wilderness Area near Bellvue
Probably the most notable features of this wilderness are its valleys and lakes that have been sculpted by melting snow and glaciers. The lakes in particular are especially popular as they are home to a wide variety of species of fish. Some examples are rainbow and cutthroat trout. Visitors can enjoy fishing in plentifully stocked lakes while also enjoying scenic views.
In addition to fish, the Rawah Wilderness is home to other kinds of wildlife such as mammals and birds. Bears, bighorn sheep, beavers, moose, and elk are all common sightings in the Rawah Wilderness. Meanwhile, the golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, and ravens are only some of the birds one can encounter in the wilderness area.
When planning to visit, it has been noted that summer and fall are the busiest seasons in the wilderness. The Rawah Wilderness receives medium to heavy human usage so be sure to plan visits when there are fewer people in order to take advantage of the peace and quiet this wilderness can provide.
Map: Rawah Wilderness Map (PDF)