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Mount Massive Wilderness

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Photograph taken in  the Mount Massive Wilderness


The United States Congress designated the Mount Massive Wilderness (map) in 1980 and it now has a total of 29,027 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Colorado and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service. The Mount Massive Wilderness is bordered by the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness to the west.


Mount Massive (14,421 feet), Colorado's second highest peak, and other mountains of the Sawatch Range have two distinctive characteristics: great height, and a huge, sloping bulk that makes them relatively easy to climb. Nowhere along the Continental Divide does the ground rise higher than the Sawatch Range, the crest of this continent. Just south of the Wilderness stands Mount Elbert at 14,443 feet, Colorado's highest summit. The divide marks the western boundary of this area, with the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness immediately to the other side. Dry lodgepole pine forests, typical of the eastern slopes of the divide, cover much of the lower elevations and give way to spruce and fir higher up before all trees yield to alpine tundra.

The majority of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery lies within the boundary of the Mount Massive Wilderness. The hatchery land inside the Wilderness boundary is co-managed by the Forest Service and Fish hand Wildlife Service. The Forest Service is the principal land manager, while the Fish hand Wildlife Service manages the fishery and water resources to protect and perpetuate native fish species.

The Colorado Trail crosses 10 miles of the eastern region, and about 10 more miles of trails exist in the Wilderness.

Planning to Visit the Mount Massive 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 Mount Massive 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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