C Lazy U Ranch Blog

Colorado’s National Forests And Parks

As the premier guest ranch of the west, C Lazy U is passionate about helping our guests learn, enjoy, and be inspired by nature. Tucked in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, C Lazy U is the ideal location to explore the beauty of Colorado’s wilderness and enjoy nearby National Parks and Forests.

As part of our mission to educate and preserve the authenticity of Colorado and the greater American West, we’re examining the history and importance of National Parks and Forests.  

What Is A National Forest? 

A “National Forest” is a classification used to manage and protect American Forests and Grasslands. National Forests offer excellent recreation activities, like hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and mountain biking. 

Is A National Forest Different Than A National Park? 

National Parks exist primarily for conservation, while National Forests can be used for a variety of purposes, including timber, grazing, wildlife, and more. While harvesting timber may seem counter-intuitive for protecting a National Forest, this practice is an important part of forest management. 

Who Created National Parks And Forests? 

Before the 19th century, public lands weren’t well-maintained, leading to illegal logging and over-harvesting of timber. To help conserve these lands, America’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, was named in 1872.  


As the need for regulated forest management became more important, President Benjamin Harrison created the National Forest System through the Land Revision Act of 1891. This act transformed public land into the first National Parks in the West, and during his presidency, Harrison would add over 12 million acres of land to forest Reserves. 

How Many National Parks And Forests Are In Colorado? 

Of the 422 National Parks and 154 National Forests in the US, Colorado is home to 4 National Parks and 11 National Forests. These include: 

Colorado National Parks 

  • Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park 
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park 
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park 

Colorado National Forests 

  • Arapaho National Forest 
  • Grand Mesa National Forest 
  • Gunnison National Forest 
  • Pike National Forest 
  • Rio Grande National Forest 
  • Roosevelt National Forest 
  • Routt National Forest 
  • San Isabel National Forest 
  • San Juan National Forest 
  • Uncompahgre National Forest 
  • White River National Forest 

National Parks & Forests Near C Lazy U Ranch 

C Lazy U is just a stone’s throw away from the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and the Arapaho & Roosevelt and National Forests. The proximity makes it easy for guests to go off-ranch to explore legendary hiking trails and scenic views. Since the ranch is on the border of RMNP, we share the same wildlife. With so many acres to explore on foot, horseback, ski, bike, or snowshoe, you can find Colorado wildlife in C Lazy U’s own backyard. If you’re lucky, you may see antelope, deer, foxes, and even moose and elk while on the property.  

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I am a single mom who travels with my now 8 and 10 year old, and have found "Dude Ranches" to be a great combination for us. Kids activities/adult acitivities/family time. We tried a few but a year ago ended up here. Now, we have no reason to go ANYWHERE else - we have only been here 4 days and the kids are already begging to come back.

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