Chicago Basin is a small part of the 487,912-acre Weminuche Wilderness within the San Juan National Forest. Owing to its easy access via the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, its proximity to three of Colorado’s 14-ers, and its scenic beauty, Chicago Basin is a very popular backpacker destination in the Weminuche Wilderness. During its peak period of use (July 4th through Labor Day), Chicago Basin is “crowded” by wilderness standards, and campsites can be hard to find. Each year this area receives about 10,000 visitor use days. If you are planning a trip to the Chicago Basin area during this time, you will have to share your wilderness experience with quite a few other people.
- Trip Planning: Access to the basin, backpacking in the basin, safety information, wildlife you might encounter and much more.
- History of Chicago Basin: Weminuche (whem-a-nooch) is the name of one of the seven bands of Ute people who made the Southwest Colorado their home. Learn more about these people and those who came afterwards.
- Maps and Guidebooks: Shop Chicago Basin maps and books at our online store.