Colorado Wilderness Areas

The landmass of the Centennial State is 40% public lands or more, and of those public lands many have been federally designated Wilderness Areas. This means that they are the most pristine, cream of the crop, public lands we as citizens have access to in the United States. Colorado Wilderness areas make excellent hunting and fishing destinations, which is why I’ve made it my quest to visit all of them. In the below chart I’ve detailed the Colorado wilderness areas, which Game Management Units (GMUs) they cover, a potential base camp city, and whether or not you can get over the counter elk tags.

Please verify when you are looking to buy your over the counter tags that they are valid in the units listed. They don’t often, but sometimes do change. The early archery OTC and rifle OTC tags have slightly different units available to them.

Wilderness AreaAcresGMUsOTC Elk?Nearest CityBlog Entry
Black Canyon of the Gunnison30,75063, 64Montrose
Black Ridge Canyons75,43940Fruita / Grand Junction
Buffalo Peaks43,41049FairplayBlog Entry
Byers Peak8,91328FraserBlog Entry
Cache La Poudre9,25819RusticBlog Entry
Collegiate Peaks168,000481, 56, 561Buena VistaBlog Entry
Comanche Peak66,79119, 20Rustic / Estes Park
Dominguez Canyon66,28040, 41, 62PartialGrand Junction
Eagle’s Nest135,11436, 37, 371Dillon / Silverthorne
Flat Tops235,21412, 24, 25, 26, 231Yampa / Steamboat Springs
Fossil Ridge13,99255Pitkin / Gunnison
Great Sand Dunes32,64382Alamosa / Crestone
Greenhorn Mountain22,04084Rye
Gunnison Gorge17,78452, 63, 64Hotchkiss / Montrose
Holy Cross122,79744, 45, 444PartialMinturn
Hermosa Creek37,23674Durango
Indian Peaks76,71118, 20, 28, 29PartialAllenspark / Tolland / NederlandBlog Entry
James Peak17,01538Blackhawk
La Garita129,62666, 67, 68, 76PartialDel Norte / Sagauche
Lizard Head41,30970, 71Ophir / Rico
Lost Creek119,790501FairplayBlog Entry
Maroon Bells-Snowmass181,53543, 55, 471Aspen / Crested ButteBlog Entry
Mesa Verde52,48573Cortez
Mt Evans74,40139, 46Grant / Idaho SpringsBlog Entry
Mt Massive30,54048LeadvilleBlog Entry
Mt Sneffels16,56665, 70Ouray
Mt Zirkel159,93514, 16, 161Steamboat Springs
Neversummer21,09018,171Grand Lake
Platte River23,4926Rawlins, WY
Ptarmigan Peak12,76037SilverthorneBlog Entry
Raggeds65,39343, 55, 521Crested Butte
Rawah76,3947Fort Collins
Rocky Mountain National Park265,46120Estes Park / Grand LakeBlog Entry
Sangre De Cristo220,80382, 83, 86, 861Crestone
Sarvis Creek47,14015Steamboat Springs / KremmlingBlog Entry
South San Juan158,79078, 81Pagosa Springs
Spanish Peaks19,22685Walsenburg
Uncompahgre102,72165, 66PartialGrand Junction
Vasquez Peak12,30028Winter ParkBlog Entry, Entry 2
Weminuche499,77174, 75, 751, 76, 77, 78PartialSouth Fork
West Elk176,41253, 54Gunnison
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Last modified: August 7, 2022

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