Avalanche Awareness

Avalanche_Dead Elk_Located above Emerald Lake
An avalanche seen on a steep slope above Emerald Lake


What is an Avalanche?

An avalanche is a mass of snow, often mixed with ice and debris, that is moving down the inclined slope of a mountain. An avalanche can be triggered by changes in precipitation or temperature, skiers, snowshoers, or even wildlife.

Avalanches can occur on any slope and hazards may not be clearly visible.

What Should I Do Before Traveling into Avalanche Terrain?

Understand Where You are Recreating - Rocky is a Wilderness Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a wilderness park that offers a wealth of backcountry winter recreation opportunities. While recreating in the backcountry, you may also encounter hazards that could lead to serious injury or death.


Avalanche Safety Tips:

Know Before You Go!

Before heading out on your winter adventure, take time to learn about the current avalanche forecast for your destination. Start by visiting the Colorado Avalanche Information Center's webpage to learn about avalanche backcountry forecasts, observations, safety information and more.

Be Prepared - Carry Avalanche Safety Gear With You
As the sun warms the snow, natural avalanches can occur. Avoid traveling across or under steep snow slopes unless you have the equipment and knowledge to do so.

When traveling in avalanche country, carry avalanche safety gear and make sure everyone in your party knows how to use their gear before beginning your backcountry trip. Essential avalanche safety gear includes a shovel, avalanche transceiver, a probe, and a first-aid kit.

Take an avalanche safety class

Many organizations offer avalanche safety classes. Taking a class is a great way to learn about avalanche safety and avalanche rescue techniques.

RMNP's Avalanche Beacon Park located at Hidden Valley
Avalanche Beacon Training Park - located at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park


Did you know Rocky has an Avalanche Beacon Training Park?

Want to practice using your avalanche beacon and rescue skills?

Rocky has an avalanche beacon training park. It is located at Hidden Valley, just a short walk or ski away from the parking area and warming hut.

The NPS opened this avalanche beacon park in 2017 to create a place where backcountry users can practice simulated avalanche searches using their own beacons/transceivers and probes.


How can I use the Avalanche Beacon Training Park?

There are 8 buried beacons that can be activated one at a time or all at once from the central control station. This training park is set up as a self-serve station and is available for use throughout the winter season. Directions for different scenarios are located at the main control station.

When a beacon is located and subsequently probed, an auditory notification will be given at the control station. Please leave the beacons buried for the next user.

To use the avalanche beacon training park, visitors will need to bring their own avalanche beacon and probe. A shovel is recommended for winter backcountry travel but is not needed in the avalanche beacon training park.

What do I do if I notice a problem with the beacon training park?

If you notice a problem with the beacon bowl, please contact the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.

Map to the Avalanche Beacon Training Park from the Hidden Valley Warming Hut


Map to the Hidden Valley Avalanche Beacon Training Park

Last updated: January 12, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
The Information Office is open year-round: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily in summer; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mondays - Fridays and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays - Sundays in winter. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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