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Fossil Ridge Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Fossil Ridge Wilderness (map) in 1993 and it now has a total of 32,062 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Colorado and is managed by the Forest Service.


Here is a small but almost perfect mountain kingdom, with raw granite towering above several beautiful shallow lakes and long valleys carved by ancient glaciers and replete with pine, spruce, fir, and aspen. The limestone ridge rises above 13,000 feet, climbing well beyond the tree line, and contains the fossilized remains of numerous prehistoric sea creatures. Above Lamphier Lake, a slim cut in the bare rock called Gunsight Pass (barely shoulder-width!) opens the ridge for foot travel from South Lottis Creek's drainage to Crystal Creek's drainage. Searching for gold, miners dug at several sites still scarred by their efforts. Square Top Mountain, approximately 12,500 feet high and about an hour's worth of climbing above Lamphier Lake, allows a virtually unparalleled view of almost half of Colorado's fourteeners. Elk and deer abound, but the truly fortunate catch glimpses of a small group of mountain goats or a larger herd of bighorn sheep. The lakes are stocked with trout. There are about 22 miles of maintained trails.

Planning to Visit the Fossil Ridge Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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