Vail Valley trail closures intended to help wildlife |

Vail Valley trail closures intended to help wildlife

Animals need time to recover from winter starvation, and to peacefully have babies

The U.S. Forest Service is asking people to respect seasonal closures on local trails.
Chris Dillmann | |

Spring is a critical time for deer and elk populations in the Eagle River Valley, and the U.S. Forest Service asks for your assistance to help protect local wildlife. The Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District is issuing seasonal closures on select trails to minimize impacts to local herds.

Wildlife are typically stressed over the winter months and they need the spring period (mid-April to late-June) to rejuvenate their bodies. Providing forage in “green-up” areas is critical to their survival. Pregnant females also require this quiet time and secure areas to give birth. Human use in many critical forage and security areas has direct consequences to wildlife survival.

“Understandably, as the weather becomes nicer, we are eager to hit the trails with our hiking boots and four-legged friends,” said Adam Bianchi, acting Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger. “However, we need your help in caring for the wildlife and contributing to their long-term viability by respecting these spring trail closures.”

The Forest Service has not seen good compliance with these trail closures in the past. For example, in 2019, the North Trail at Vail had 148 incidents of humans and their dogs disregarding the closure, which resulted in violations on nearly half of the closure days. The district asks the public to respect these important closures and recreate reasonably. You can show that you care about local herds by sharing the message with friends and family and recreating on open trails and roads only.

Gates and closure signs are located at all trail closure points. The seasonal closure list includes:

  • Whiskey Creek #2348: Closed through June 20.
  • Eastern Hillside #2347: Closed through June 20.
  • Everkrisp #2122: Closed through June 20.
  • North Trail #1896: Closed through June 20.
  • Buffehr Creek #2111: Closed through June 20.
  • Son of Middle Creek #2136: Closed through June 20.
  • Paulie’s Plunge/Stone Creek #2349: Closed May 15 – June 20.
  • Two Elk #2005 (from the west entrance at the second bridge to the east end at the Vail Bike Path): Closed May 6 – June 30.

For information about other seasonal trail closures, open trails, and current trail conditions on the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, go to or call 970-827-5715.

For more information about trails in the Eagle Valley, go to the Vail Valley Mountain Trail Alliance website:

If you want to give back even more and become a Wildlife Trail Ambassador, email Michelle Wolffe, Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator,

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