The Rio Grande National Forest is partially located in Rio Grande County and is host to the beginning of the mighty Rio Grande River as it makes its 1,885 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Designated a national forest by Theodore Roosevelt's Presidential Proclamation in 1908, the Rio Grande Forest covers more than 1.8 million acres of mountain peaks and valleys that are rich in minerals, timber, wildlife and scenic resources.

Activities within the Forest are limitless. Excellent fishing opportunities are provided by the area's 80 cold water lakes, 150 streams and the specially designated Gold Medal fishing waters of the Rio Grande River. Whether you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, scenic driving tours, camping, horseback riding or photography, the Rio Grande National forest has something for everyone.

Explorers will find scattered remnants of Colorado's rich history throughout the forest. Early day mining camps and homesteads are abundant, and with a map and a little imagination, visitors can trace the routes of early explores such as Juan Bautista De Anza, Zebulon Pike and John C. Freemont.

Big game hunters find abundant deer, elk, mountain sheep, bears, antelope and mountain lions. The area also boasts large numbers of small game mammals, birds, and water fowl.

Winter brings the opportunity to enjoy downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing and sledding.