McClure Pass Roadless Area


Adoption Status: ADOPTED
2,207 acres (3.44 square miles)

How to get there
The McClure Pass roadless area is located in the Crystal River valley, just south of McClure Pass. There are no developed trails in the area.

  • Drive south from Carbondale or north from Paonia on State Highway 133. From McClure Pass, you may access the west side of this unit from FS 898, which climbs south to a private, gated community. Landowner permission is required for further access toward Chair Mountain.
  • Below McClure Pass to the east, FS 314 to Marble follows the Crystal River along the eastern boundary of the unit. From the Bogan Flats Campground area, you may make a difficult bushwhack up Chair Creek to Chair Mountain (not recommended).
  • The primary USGS 7 1⁄2’ quad for McClure Pas RA is Chair Mountain, with parts on Placita and Marble.

This area is perched on the northeast slopes of Chair Mountain, and includes the steep hillsides above SH 133. The area is an extension of the Raggeds. The terrain consists of the jagged Chair Mountain peaks that drain steeply to the Crystal River via Chair Creek. The hillside is forested with aspens along the Crystal and at McClure Pass, and spruce/fir higher up. This unit features massive avalanche paths that have scoured trees from their drainages. The elevation ranges from 7,700 feet at the Crystal River to 11,885 north of Chair Mountain. This represents over 4,000 feet of vertical relief in just 2 miles.

What’s special about it?
The McClure Pass area is important as an extension to the protected Raggeds Wilderness Area to the south. Wildlife move between the Raggeds and the Huntsman Ridge/Thompson Creek and on over to the Battlement Mesa area via McClure Pass. The area is important to landowners on the SW boundary of the unit for accessing the Raggeds Wilderness.

Potential threats
The steepness of the terrain limits the potential for development or motorized incursions. The Colorado Department of Transportation performs avalanche control work in this area. There are historic aspen timber sales in area and, coupled with the fact that this area is considered by many as the largest contiguous aspen forest in the world, it is reasonable to expect future pressures to harvest more aspen here.

Other info
This is one of several roadless areas that abut the 65,400-acre Raggeds Wilderness. Together they form a roadless complex of over 99,000 acres (154 square miles).

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