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Camping at Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands PSICC

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Overview

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) encompass a wide array of ecosystems, ranging from the prairies of eastern Colorado to the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains. They offer a variety of recreational activities including camping, hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Camping Information

Dispersed Camping:

  • Dispersed camping is allowed in many areas of the PSICC, often more than 100 feet from any road, trail, or water source.
  • No amenities are provided, such as water, restrooms, or trash removal.
  • Campers should follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment.

Developed Campgrounds:

  • PSICC offers numerous developed campgrounds with amenities like picnic tables, fire grates, restrooms, and sometimes water and electric hookups.
  • Fees and reservation requirements can vary by location.
  • Campgrounds can be busy during peak season and holidays, so reservations are recommended where available.

Backcountry Camping:

  • For those seeking a wilderness experience, backcountry camping is also an option.
  • Permits may be required for certain wilderness areas, and regulations should be checked in advance.
  • Campers must be self-reliant and practice Leave No Trace principles.

Fire Safety

  • Fire restrictions are often in place, especially during dry conditions to prevent wildfires.
  • Always check the current fire regulations before starting a campfire.
  • Use fire rings in developed campgrounds and ensure all fires are completely extinguished before leaving.

Wildlife Precautions

  • Bear-proof storage for food and scented items is necessary in many areas to prevent attracting bears and other wildlife.
  • Maintaining a clean camp and storing food properly can help protect both campers and wildlife.

Weather Conditions

  • Weather in the PSICC can be unpredictable, with rapid changes, especially in the high country.
  • Campers should be prepared for conditions ranging from hot and dry to cold and snowy, even in summer.
  • High altitude areas may have snow well into the summer months.

Altitude Awareness

  • Many of the campsites and trails are at high elevations, which can lead to altitude sickness.
  • Visitors should acclimatize to high altitudes gradually and stay hydrated.

Responsible Recreation

  • It's important to be a responsible visitor by following regulations, paying required fees, and respecting the natural resources.
  • Recreation should be balanced with conservation to ensure these natural areas remain pristine for future generations.

Accessibility

  • Some campgrounds and facilities are designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Visitors should check specifics on accessibility when planning their trip to ensure their needs can be met.

Local Regulations and Information

  • Local conditions and regulations can change frequently. Prior to visiting, it's advisable to check with the local ranger district office for the most current information.
  • Visitors should also familiarize themselves with special restrictions such as those pertaining to the use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs), fishing licenses, and hunting permits.

Contact Information

For the most up-to-date information and to make reservations, visitors can use the following resources:

  • Website: The official U.S. Forest Service website for the PSICC provides detailed information and alerts.
  • Phone: Ranger District offices can be contacted via phone for specific questions and concerns.
  • Reservation System: Sites like Recreation.gov can be used to book certain campsites and obtain permits where necessary.

Remember that PSICC is a protected natural area. Its beauty and resources are meant to be enjoyed responsibly so it will remain a destination for outdoor enthusiasts for years to come. Always plan ahead and prepare for your trip to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Map of Campgrounds in Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands PSICC
Campgrounds in Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands PSICC
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