Local trails reopening for spring, still too wet for use
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The seasonal mandatory and optional closures that affect many local popular trails lift after Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean those trails will be immediately available for hiking and biking.
“As we move through the transition of winter to spring, wildlife is not our only resource of consideration,” said Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger Tara Umphries. “We also ask that the public is aware that winter conditions and heavy snowpack are present on much of the forest, so access may be very limited. As snow melts, be aware of muddy conditions and avoid getting stuck, as well as making choices that avoid causing resource damage to trails and roads.”
The mandatory seasonal closures effect frequented areas such as Mad Creek, Red Dirt, Hot Springs and Spring Creek trails.
While many cyclists and runners are itching to expand their arsenal of routes and get farther away from the crowded Yampa River Core Trail, they might have to wait a little longer.
Many trails were starting to clear and dry up with a week of warm weather, recent and upcoming snow will set them back. Walking and riding on muddy or wet trails could cause longterm damage to the trail. Hikers and bikers should acknowledge and obey any trail signs indicating closures due to muddy conditions.
“It would be awesome to recommend to everyone where they should go ride right now. It’s also counterintuitive to social distancing and not having groups converging in certain places,” said Laraine Martin, executive director of Routt County Riders. “You just have to be creative, think outside the box and reenvision what it means to you to go cycling and have a good time.”
- Spring Creek Trail 1160
- Spring Creek Alternate Trail 1160.1A
- Mad Creek Trail 1100
- Red Dirt Trail 1171
- Hot Springs Trail 1169
- Foothills south of Steamboat Resort to U.S. Highway 40
- Greenville Mine area (U.S. Forest Service roads 440 & 471)
- Coulton Creek area (Trail 1188 & Forest Service Road 429)
- Lower Bear Trail 1206
- Sarvis Creek Trail 1105
- Silver Creek Trail 1106
- Areas adjacent to the Radium and Indian Run State Wildlife areas (Forest Service roads 212 and 214)
- Area north of Toponas off Forest Service Road 285
Martin said Routt County Riders will do its best to update riders of trail conditions throughout the spring. As always, the Blackmer trail is open, but the rest of the Emerald Trail System will take some time to dry out.
Starting May 15, portions of Buffalo Pass, including the Flash of Gold and BTR trails, as part of the annual spring elk calving closures, lasting until June 15.
Recreators need to keep in mind all social distancing recommendations and not gather in groups with people outside of their household. Additionally, anyone enjoying public land needs to remember leave no trace principals, especially since facilities in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are closed, and there are few staff members to maintain trails.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the Routt County Conservation District, with organizational roots that extend to 1942, reconstituted in spring 2019, the top priority was soil health.