The United States Congress designated the Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness (map
) in 1993 and it now has a total of 23,116 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Colorado
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Soaring dramatically from the plains of Colorado, Greenhorn Mountain rises from 7,600 to 12,347 feet in the center of the northern section. Its summit is the highest point in the Wilderness, and nowhere else in the state provides such a vivid and dramatic change from plains to mountains.
About two-thirds of the area is forested, and as you hike along, you'll pass quickly from dry oakbrush and ponderosa pine country (or pinion-juniper in some places) through aspen, fir, and spruce, and on to alpine tundra. Most of the east-facing slopes are steep, rocky, and generally bare. Unusual for Colorado, Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness has no lakes and no towering alpine peaks--and, consequently, few human visitors. Numerous small canyons and sharp ridges are the dominant geological features. A few streams descending from the mountain furnish a habitat for threatened greenback cutthroat trout. With relatively little snow, the area attracts bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer.
Only 11 miles of trail cross the Wilderness, all in the northern half. The southern half, remote and rugged and waterless, probably has fewer human visitors than any other area of the state. If you're willing to brave the dense woodlands and rough topography, you'll find few places with as much solitude.