White River National Forest

Holy Cross Wilderness


San Isabel and White River National Forests.
Neighboring towns:

Redcliff, Gilman, Minturn, Vail, Leadville, Twin Lakes, Aspen, Norrie, Meredith, Ruedi, Basalt.
Size: 122,797 acres
Elevation: 8,000 to 14,003 feet
Miles of trail: 164
Year designated: 1980
Hunting areas: 44, 45, 444, 48

Cascading streams, dozens of emerald green lakes, and wide valleys moistened by melting snow make Holy Cross a watery alpine Wilderness of glistening beauty. Dominated by 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross, this Wilderness also has 25 or so peaks that rise above 13,000 feet, mighty ridges fling themselves skyward above glacier-carved U-shaped valleys, and numerous aspen groves burn gold in September. Wildlife including deer, elk, black bears, bobcats, and lynx find abundant homes in Holy Cross, and its streams run full of trout.

About 164 miles of trail march into the area, several of them joining to form loops requiring a short shuttle to connect at the trailheads. Hiking the Cross Creek Trail--up the fabulous glacial valley across Fancy Pass past spectacular high lakes and down the valley of the Fall Creek Trail--may be Colorado's most glorious short backpacking trip (about 28 miles). The cross-state Colorado Trail passes through the southeastern corner, where the Continental Divide marks the boundary. Cross-country skiers flock to this area in the winter.
Special Orders/Regulations:

"The following acts are prohibited on National Forest System land within the Holy Cross Wilderness."

1. Entering or being in the area with more than 15 people per group, and a maximum combination of 25 people and pack or saddle animals in any one group.

2. Camping within one hundred feet of any lake, stream, trail or any ?No Camping? or ?Wilderness Restoration Site? sign.

3. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a campfire within one hundred feet of any lake, stream, trail or within ¼ mile of tree line, above tree line or within the Cross Creek area.

4. Storing equipment, personal property, or supplies for longer than 72 hours.

5. Hitching, tethering or hobbling any pack or saddle animal within one hundred feet of any lake, stream or trail.

6. Possessing a dog, except for working stock dogs or dogs used for legal hunting purposes, unless under physical restraint of a leash.

7. Possessing, storing or transporting any plant material, such as hay, straw. NOTE: Exceptions are allowed for livestock feed that has been processed through chemical or mechanical means in a manner that will destroy viable seeds. Examples of allowed material includes: palletized feed and rolled grains.

8. Possessing or using any wagon, cart or other vehicle including a wheelbarrow or game cart.

9. Shortcutting a switchback in a trail

10. Entering or being in the Holy Cross Wilderness without a valid wilderness permit.
Mandatory Registration Required:

One member of each party is required to register at the trailhead and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit.

There will is no fee for registration, they are self issue. Permits are required in order to measure the number of visitors in the wilderness and also to educate wilderness visitors about minimizing imact.

US Forest Service
White River
National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602

Phone: 970-945-2521

Fax: 970-945-3266

Telephone for the
Hearing Impaired