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Environment

Late Spring Snow Storm Leaves Many Colorado Trails, Campsites Closed

A late spring weather system dropped snow and rain on Northern Colorado in mid-May, leaving many trail goers and campers without their usual haunts for Memorial Day weekend -- including the iconic North Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“As far as the snow coverage up there – they’re dealing with 4 to 6 feet of snow, and now we’re dealing with high winds,” says Kyle Patterson, the park’s spokeswoman. “And so it does not look probable that Trail Ridge will be opening this weekend.”

The park itself is open, though Patterson says the campgrounds are booked up for the weekend. Travelers on the Front Range will have an easier time getting to the park, though -- Highway 34 is open, and will remain open for the rest of the summer season.

Trail conditions are always changing and hikers are encouraged to check the status of Trail Ridge online along with road conditions in the park.

Dangerous conditions in the grasslands

Forests and grassland parks were also affected by the weather. Muddy trails and downed trees make for dangerous conditions.

“Over three feet of snow fell in some areas of the forest. While snow has started melting at lower elevations, mountain areas remain covered in thick, wet snow,” says a statement from Reghan Cloudman with the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland. “Melting snow is also producing soft, muddy roads and standing water. Travel in many areas is difficult, even for seasoned recreationists.”

The following parks are open for the holiday weekend but may have deep snow, no electricity or otherwise less-than-ideal conditions.

  • West Chicago Creek
  • Kelly Dahl
  • Denver Creek
  • Dowdy Lake (Front Loop)
  • Ansel Watrous
  • Dutch George
  • Kelly Flats Narrows
  • Stove Prairie
  • Cold Springs
  • Columbine
  • Crow Valley
  • Arapaho Bay
  • Cutthroat Bay
  • Green Ridge
  • Stillwater
  • Sunset Point
  • Willow Creek

More information on the status of the campgrounds can be found online, as well as information on road conditions

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