Trail conditions, at your fingertips
ASPEN ” Every avid hiker wonders this time of year if there is still snow high up on their favorite trail or if the creeks on a particular route are running exceptionally high.
A dedicated group of volunteers is supplying answers. The Aspen-based Forest Conservancy offers a trail report that is updated weekly, just before the weekend. The latest conditions for more than 40 trails in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District are posted, as are conditions of the major four-wheel-drive roads.
The report informs hikers about conditions on some of the most popular trails, like Cathedral Lake or Buckskin Pass, as well as more obscure gems like Hell Roaring Creek.
The June 28 report, which has probably been updated by now, shared that there is still snow on top of Buckskin Pass. Hikers headed to Hell Roaring learn that they should expect trees on the trail. In some cases, like the East Snowmass Trail, the report warns hikers to be prepared for high water at stream crossings.
The road report often offers specific conditions about how far a driver can venture without encountering snow or mud.
The nonprofit Forest Conservancy was created in March 2001 as a “partner with the population that enjoys, uses and protects the public lands on or near the White River National Forest,” according to its Web site.
It handles many of the chores that the U.S. Forest Service can no longer afford. The conservancy works with the federal agency, for example, to provide wilderness rangers who patrol trails. They act as the eyes and ears of the Forest Service ” answering questions from the public and watching for infractions like dogs off leash and camping too close to lakes or streams.
The conservancy also has forest stewards who tackle everything from trail maintenance to public presentations at campgrounds, and the organization’s forest ambassadors staff the Maroon Bells visitors’ center.
The trail and road information, and more background on the conservancy, can be found at http://www.forestconservancy.com. Click on the link for the weekly trail report.