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Sarvis Creek Wilderness

Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area

Government information and links are at the bottom of this page.

Located in Routt National Forest

Neighboring towns: Steamboat Springs, Yampa, Oak Creek, Kremmling

Two large creeks, Service and Silver, exit the open valley of the Yampa River upstream of Steamboat Springs. Ducking under fallen logs, skirting gravel bars, and providing cover for the darting shadows of trout, the creeks meander through rolling forests in their relentless journey to the river. The trees open occasionally, sometimes at broken rock piles and other times in wet meadows that squish underfoot. Draped like a soothing blanket over the tired granite hills of the southern Park Range, the impenetrable forests of Sarvis Creek Wilderness offer refuge for deer, elk, bear, and mountain lion. What makes Sarvis Creek an oddity among Colorado wildernesses is its complete lack of alpine tundra; its sheltering forests, evenly split among lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir, provide its reason for being.

Sarvis Creek's legislative journey demonstrates the power of perseverance. A kind of wilderness Cinderella story, Sarvis Creek was overlooked for many years while its more glamorous alpine neighbors, such as Eagles Nest and Mount Zirkel, achieved official designation. After all, wilderness areas are protected largely through the dedicated efforts of interested citizens, and for many years those active conservationists consisted of mountain climbers and fishermen drawn to the jagged peaks and crystalline lakes of the high country. As interest grew in biological diversity and people became aware of the importance that lower elevation forests have as connections in the landscape, the protection of Sarvis Creek gained prominence among conservationists. The Forest Service unfortunately lagged behind, and during its 1979 nationwide study of roadless areas, the agency recommended against protecting Sarvis Creek as wilderness. But the Carter Administration overruled the Forest Service and directed that the area be studied again. By 1983, the Forest Service realized the ecological importance of preserving Sarvis Creek and changed its position to one of wilderness support. The area was finally designated in 1993.

Size: 45,190 acres

Elevation: 7,000 to 10,700 feet

Miles of trails: 20

Year designated: 1993

Hunting areas: 15

For more information contact:

Routt National Forest, Supervisor's Office, 2468 Jackson St., Laramie, WY 82070-6535  (307)745-2300  Fax:(307)745-2398
Hahns Peak - Bears Ears Ranger District, 925 Weiss Drive, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487-9315  (970)879-1870  Fax:(970)870-2284
Parks Ranger District, PO Box 158, 100 Main St., Walden, CO 80480  (970)723-8204  Fax:(970)723-4610
Parks Ranger District, PO Box 1210, 210 S. 6th St., Kremmling, CO 80459  (970)724-9004  Fax:(970)724-3662
Craig Interagency Dispatch Center, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625  (970)826-5037  Fax:(970)824-6084
Yampa Ranger District, 300 Roselawn Ave., PO Box 7, Yampa, CO 80483  (970)638-4516  Fax:(970)638-4635

Wilderness sunset

NOTE: coloradowilderness.com gratefully appreciates the eloquent descriptions of our wilderness areas provided by Mark Pearson, author of "The Complete Guide to Colorado's Wilderness Areas", Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO. The book also contains many beautiful pictures by renowned photographer and Colorado resident John Fielder.


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