Experience the quintessential Rocky Mountain high as you traverse the continental divide. Home to 19 peaks over 14,000 feet and Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest point, the San Isabel National Forest is a paradise for altitude-seekers. The Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail pass through San Isabel, and some of the most sought-after hikes in Colorado can be found in this alpine wilderness. You'll be surrounded by the rugged pines, bouldered forests, steep terrain, and serenity that characterize this remote wilderness.
Located west of Pueblo and Colorado Springs, CO, San Isabel spans across eleven counties in central Colorado.
Plan for altitude and steep terrain when you head off for the San Isabel National Forest. Parking is free at any trailhead.
When to Go
The best time to visit is between late June and early September. Before July, expect plenty of snow on the passes. Hike in late September and you’re flirting with early winter snowfall. During August, be prepared for monsoon season, when thunderstorms roll around every afternoon like clockwork. Plan each day accordingly so you don’t find yourself at the top of a peak surrounded by ominous clouds.
If you can time it right, late August through early September is considered prime hiking season, with minimal bugs, fewer thunderstorms, and cooler weather.
You do not need a permit to stay overnight in the San Isabel National Forest. Dispersed camping is allowed wherever you can find a flat spot to pitch your tent.
Dogs are allowed. Bring bags, carry out your dog poop.