FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the summer camping season in Colorado but officials with the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland say that many National Forest System roads and campsites along the Front Range are still closed because of the conditions at higher elevations.
“Snow is still deep at the higher elevations in the mountains around Fort Collins, Boulder, Idaho Springs and Granby; and spring rains and snowmelt have left many roads and trails wet, muddy and snow-packed,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Reid Armstrong said in a statement.
According to Armstrong, hiking trails above 8,000 feet still have mud and snow patches and trails higher than 10,000 will remain snow-packed until later in June or early July.
Officials recommend checking the latest road information before making travel plans. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is also a good resource. The maps are also available as a cellphone app from Avenza at www.pdf-maps.com.
“With many roads closed, dispersed camping may be a bit more challenging. If dispersed camping, pull off the road within 300 feet in a way that does not obstruct traffic or damage the ground,” Armstrong said. “No overnight camping is allowed at trailheads or picnic areas. Some areas only allow camping in designated areas or not at all. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is a good guide for where to dispersed camp.”
Many National Forest campgrounds open May 26. Although most of the reservable campsites are already booked, some offer first come, first served spots. For a full list of campgrounds, reservations and opening dates please visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/campinglist. Reservations should be made at www.recreation.gov.
A great source of information for those planning a trip to the forest is our website www.fs.usda.gov/arp. Most National Forest visitor centers will be closed for Memorial Day Weekend, so plan your trip early.
Make safety your top priority when heading into the forest. Remember your safety is your responsibility. Respect all signs and trail closures; follow all regulations; and take precaution in flood damaged and mountain pine beetle impacted areas.