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Uncompahgre Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning

Area Management

The Uncompahgre Wilderness is part of the 110 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 Uncompahgre Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

Bureau of Land Management Information

Motorized equipment (chainsaws, generators, etc.)and equipment used for mechanical transport(bicycles, game carts, etc.) is prohibited. Use of motor vehicles is prohibited. Group sized is limited to 25 heartbeats (people and animals). Special use permits are required for all commercial outfitters operating within the Wilderness. Picking flowers or other plants is strongly discouraged. The defacement or removal of anything historical or archaeological in nature is prohibited. Dogs should be under control (leash or direct verbal control) at all times. Certified weed-free forage is required for stock users. Leave No Trace practices are strongly encouraged to preserve the area for future users.

Forest Service Information

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-Specific Regulations

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.

-- Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail.

-- Campfires are prohibited at the following locations:

1. within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail

2. above treeline

-- Caching equipment, personal property, or supplies for longer than 7 days is prohibited.

-- Dogs must be under direct verbal control or leashed at all times.

-- Do not cut switchbacks.

-- Collecting or capturing butterflies is prohibited between June 1 and August 30 each year.


-- Group size is limited to no more than 25 heartbeats, including people and pack or saddle stock, with no more than 15 people.

-- Confining stock (including picketing, corralling, and high-lining) is prohibited within 100 feet of any lake, stream, or trail.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

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