The South San Juan Wilderness is part of the 111 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness"
as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964
. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques
when visiting the South San Juan Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.
General Wilderness Prohibitions
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.
In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed
for more specific information.
These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.
Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.
The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office
or visit the websites listed
for more specific information about the regulations listed.
-- Group size is limited to no more than 15 people per party.
-- Campfires (except those no using wood as a source of fuel) are prohibited within 200 feet of Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Red Lake.
-- Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of any water source.
-- Camping is prohibited within 200 feet of Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Red Lake.
-- Do not shortcut switchbacks.
-- Pets must be under verbal control or leashed at all times.
-- Disposal of human waste and wash water is prohibited within 100 feet of any water source.
-- As with all designated Wilderness areas, mechanical transportation (including wagons, game carts, wheelbarrows, bicycles, or other vehicles) is prohibited.
-- Group size is limited to no more than a combination of 25 people and pack or saddle stock, with no more than 15 people per party.
-- All feed must be weed-free certified in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, or Utah and be marked with certified twine, packing, or transit certificate. Only the following are allowed: weed-free baled hay, cubed or pelletized hay, steamed grain in a processor's stamped bag, and weed-free baled mulch made from tree fibers or steamed material.
-- Pack or saddle stock are prohibited from being restrained within 100 feet lakeshore, stream, or riparian area.
-- Hitching, tethering, or grazing pack or saddle stock is prohibited within 200 feet of Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Red Lake.
Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness