Designated as a wilderness area by the United States Congress in 1980, the Uncompahgre Wilderness is comprised of over 102,000 acres of land. Administration of this wilderness area is divided between the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service.
Elevations in the wilderness vary from approximately 8,000 to 14,000 feet. It is home to two fourteener peaks, the Uncompahgre Peak and the Wetterhorn Peak, making it a must-visit for mountain climbers. People who are not up to the challenge of a fourteener climb, however, can still enjoy sights from smaller mountains such as the Coxcomb Peak, Silver Peak, and Matterhorn Peak. This wilderness area has about twenty-five peaks that are over thirteen feet high so climbers have a lot to choose from.
In the language of the Native American Ute tribe, the word “uncompahgre” actually means “dirty water” but the waters in the Uncompahgre Wilderness are anything but dirty. Slide Lake is a popular destination notable for its lovely waters and scenic backdrops. However, the most popular body of water in the Uncompahgre Wilderness is undoubtedly the Big Blue Creek which flows steadily at the heart of the wilderness. Visitors can enjoy fishing and cooling themselves in the creek.
The Uncompahgre Wilderness has so much more to offer. Whatever activities you may be into, this wilderness will surely have you covered. The easiest way into the wilderness is through the Nellie Creek Trailhead which can be accessed by departing from Lake City via Country Road 20.
Address: near Grand Junction
Season: Year round