The 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is located in central Colorado. There’s much to do within this wonderful neck of the woods, including highlights such as Maroon Bells and Green Mountain Reservoir.
Aspen always makes one of the favorite basecamps for exploring the White River National Forest. Allow yourself at least a couple days to really the hidden sights, like Ashcroft ghost town. The former mining camp features numerous original buildings in various stages of preservation.
Centered around Aspen, the White River National Forest spreads out across the middle of the Colorado Rockies and includes some incredible terrain. Flat top mountains, crystal clear lakes and switchback alpine passes. These are just a few of highlights in the White River National Forest:
Scenic Drives and Ghost Towns
This stunning 82 mile drive, the Flat Tops Scenic Byway, connects Meeker and Yampa. The White River National Forest is located on the Meeker half of the drive. Independence Pass is a seasonal, scenic highway begins just west of Aspen on CO 82. It connects with Twin Lakes on the other side. There’s a ghost town by that name on the Aspen side of the pass.
Lakes and Wilderness Recreation
Located on US 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling, Green Mountain Reservoir offers boating, camping, fishing, OHV trails and winter recreation. The most photographed scene in Colorado, Maroon Bells, is located less than 15 minutes from town. Maroon Bell is behind Aspen Highlands with camping, fishing and hiking. There are 3 creek-side campgrounds in the woods by the road and the main road in closes after 7pm, so there’s no auto traffic at night.
Designated in 1964, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was of Colorado’s original established that year. Six 14’ers located within the area are some of the most difficult to hike in the state. Part of it’s located in the Gunnison National Forest.
Activities: Biking, Boating, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Picnicking, OHV, Scenic Drives, Winter Rec – Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing
Read about the Camping near Kremmling, Parshall and Hot Sulphur Springs.
Read about the Camping near Breckenridge, around Summit County.
Read about the Camping near Vail, around Eagle County.
Read about Camping near Aspen, Snowmass Village, and Basalt.
Map: White River (shown in red) (.png)
Motor Vehicle Use Maps: Large, PDF’s from the USFS. They show forest service roads and where dispersed camping is permitted.
- Aspen and Sopris – Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Redstone, Aspen
- Dillon – Keystone, Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco, Breckenridge
- Eagle and Holy Cross – East – Edwards, Avon, Minturn, Red Cliff
- Eagle and Holy Cross – West – Eagle
- Flat Tops – Meeker
- Rifle – Rifle
White River Campgrounds: Reservations
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