White River Forest summer travel season now underway
The White River National Forest summer travel season began on May 21 and ends on Nov. 22, meaning high-country forest roads are open for backcountry access, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Some higher elevation roads and motorized trails do not open until later in May or early June. Call any local WRNF ranger station for information, and check on the local road and trail status before heading out on your trip.
“Motorized and mechanized vehicle users are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride,” according to the release. “Visitors using motorized transportation are asked to obtain and adhere to routes shown on the Summer Motor Vehicle Use Maps.”
MVUMs can be used to see what routes are open to motorized vehicles, which types of vehicles, and what the open dates are. Hard copies of MVUMs are free and available at all forest offices and are also available online at http://bit.ly/WRNF_Travel_Mgmt.
Snowmelt rates vary from year to year, but on average:
• Mid-April: Snow level around 8,000 feet.
• Mid-May: Snow level around 9,500 feet.
• Mid-June: Snow level around 10,000-10,500 feet.
• Mid-July: Snow usually mostly clear except on highest north-facing slopes and passes.
Electric assist, or E-bikes, are considered a form of motorized transportation on all national forests across the country, the Forest Service also advises.
E-bikes may be ridden on designated motorized routes shown on maps including National Forest System roads open to all vehicles; and National Forest System trails open to all motorized vehicles. Traditional (non e-bike) bicycles are allowed on designated trails and roads where mechanized (non-motorized) use is permitted. Off-road and trail travel is prohibited.
Responsible use by all visitors is key to a sustainable recreation system. The Forest Service advises following these tips:
• Stay on designated roads, trails and areas as identified on the motor vehicle use map, bicycle use map and forest visitor map.
• Be respectful of other visitors.
• Respect property boundaries and know what uses are allowed if you enter non-Forest Service property.
• Do not widen trails by going around obstacles, and do not create shortcuts.
• Avoid wet, muddy trails.
• Cross streams only at designated fjords.
Most current road and trail condition reports for each district can be found online. For more information, contact any local ranger district or visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.
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Over 75,000 hikers visited Hanging Lake during this year’s peak season. Via signage, the city hopes to point more of those hikers also in the direction of downtown Glenwood Springs.