Summer season begins for national forest travel | VailDaily.com

Summer season begins for national forest travel

Forest Service offices have paper maps; other resources available on line

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The White River National Forest summer travel season has begun and ends Nov. 22. Some higher elevation roads and motorized trails have later opening dates in June.

This year, heavy snowpack and debris from avalanches persist in many areas. Some gates are still buried in snow, and roads are extremely wet and muddy. Crews have been assessing snow line and many roads that are typically clear by now remain inaccessible due to snowpack, debris and muddy conditions. Please contact your local Ranger Station for current conditions before heading out on your trip. 

Travel in muddy conditions creates deep ruts that damage roads and trails.  Please respect gates and closed areas and find alternate locations to recreate to allow muddy roads and trails time to dry out. 

Motorized and mechanized vehicle users are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride. Motorized vehicle users are asked to obtain and adhere to routes shown on the Summer Motor Vehicle Use Maps. Those maps show which routes are open to motorized vehicles, which types of vehicles may be used, and season opening and closing dates. Maps are free and available at all forest offices and online here. You can also download the current Motor Vehicle Use Map to your smartphone by using the AVENZA app link on the webpage.

Mountain bikes or mechanized use is permitted through Nov. 22 on the White River National Forest on a designated system of trails. The mountain bike map can be found here. Trails that are open to mountain bikes are marked with bike symbols at trailheads and intersections.

It is important to note that e-bikes of any kind are considered motorized vehicles on all National Forests. E-bikes may be ridden on designated motorized routes shown on Motor Vehicle Use Maps including National Forest System roads open to all vehicles, and National Forest System trails open to all motorized vehicles.

Responsible use by all visitors is key to a sustainable recreation system. Follow these tips to ensure you protect the places you love to play:

  • 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 fords.

For more information, contact your local Ranger District or go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.