Recreation & Tourism

Our Quality Of Life

The Thompson Divide area is defined by abundant wildlife and wildlife habitat, essential watersheds, and environmental, economic, agricultural, recreational and social values. The area’s clean water, clean air, rural and agricultural heritage, and recreational and sporting activities would be negatively impacted by oil and gas development. Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, a species of special concern in Colorado, can be found in two forks of Thompson Creek. Additionally, the area has been recognized by the Colorado Division of Wildlife as high-value habitat and critical migration corridor for lynx, moose, bear, deer, elk, and mountain lions. Lastly, the area is one of the last great swaths of undeveloped mid-elevation forest land in Colorado.

Recreation activities in the Thompson Divide are a critical source of the economic prosperity our local communities have seen since 2008. Recreation in the Thompson Divide supports 138 jobs and generates $12.6 million in annual economic impact in Colorado. Recreational opportunities in the Thompson Divide include:
  • Game Management Unit #43 is considered one of the best hunting units in the state, and along with #521, #42 and #421 generate more than 20,000 big game hunting licenses every year;
  • The pristine and remote creeks in the area support ecologically significant populations of fish, including the endangered Colorado River cutthroat trout, and supports more than 10,000 annual fishing days;·
  • Hikers, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, horseback riders, campers and anglers all enjoy the area;
  • The Sunlight to Powderhorn snowmobile route traverses more than 250 miles of trail system from east to west;
  • The Thompson Creek Finns are a well-known sport-climbing destination. Ice climbing is a popular winter activity in the Hay Creek and Coal Basin watersheds;
  • Spring Gulch, a public Nordic ski area just outside Carbondale, is an enormous asset to the local economy as is Ski Sunlight, an alpine resort, near Glenwood Springs.

The Thompson Divide is home to a vast array of recreational opportunities. From bouldering in the Fins to hunting in what is considered one of the best hunting units in the state, the Thompson Divide promotes our outdoor spirit, preserves our quality of life, and in turn helps create long-term, sustainable jobs and a strengthened economy for local communities.