On October 21, 2020, the East Troublesome Fire ran approximately 18 miles before it moved into the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, and then spotted approximately 1.5 miles from the head of Tonahutu Creek on the west side of the Continental Divide to the head of Spruce Creek on the east side of the Continental Divide. Rapid evacuations took place in Grand Lake on October 21. Evacuations for the majority of the Estes Valley were implemented on October 22, as weather predictions forecast major winds on the night of October 23 through October 24 pushing the fire further to the east. Firefighting actions and favorable weather on October 24 and 25, helped halt the major movement of the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak Fires.
Approximately 30,000 acres or 9 percent of Rocky Mountain National Park has been impacted by the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak Fires.
Closures remain in place in the following areas:
West Side of Rocky Mountain National Park
Park visitors should not stop or park along the roadside from the Grand Lake Entrance to the Onahu Trail, due to hazard trees along the road from the East Troublesome Fire. There is no access to trails, picnic areas or parking areas along that section of the road including the Harbison Picnic Area, the Green Mountain Trail and the Onahu Trail. The Bowen-Baker Trail is open inside the park and is closed at the US Forest Service boundary. The Colorado River Trail has reopened to the park boundary. The North Inlet Trail has closed at the trailhead (it was open to Cascade Falls this winter) due to rock fall and potential additional hazards from snowmelt.
East Side of Rocky Mountain National Park
In the Bear Lake area, the trail past Lake Helene to Odessa Lake remains closed. The Flattop Trail is open to the summit of Flattop Mountain but is closed past this point to the west of the Continental Divide.
Trails that remain closed in the Bear Lake area include the Fern Lake Trail, Cub Lake Trail, the Mill Creek Basin, and Hollowell Park.
Park staff will continue to assess closed areas on both sides of the park for fire impacts, safety and downed trees, erosion and rock fall.
It is unknown when all park trails impacted by the fires of 2020 will reopen. Many will reopen this summer, a few will likely remain closed.
Park trails and wilderness staff assessed most of these areas after the fires in November and before the winter, however snowfall impacted many of those assessments making it difficult to determine the conditions safely. Park's crews will continue to assess any additional impacts from this winter and spring (wind throw, new trees down, rock fall, soil movement etc.) to determine when and which trails can reopen.
Rocky Mountain National Park always has Stage 1 fire restrictions in place, where campfires are prohibited in the park, except within designated campfire rings in picnic areas and front-country campgrounds. The use of disposable or portable charcoal grills, wood fuel camp stoves and gas grills is allowed. Fireworks are always prohibited within the park. Park visitors are urged to use caution and vigilance regarding the use of fire in authorized locations.
Fires, including grills and charcoal briquettes, are only allowed in designated areas and sites where a metal fire ring or grate is provided. These areas include developed campgrounds, some picnic areas, and some designated wilderness campsites. Campfires and grills are not allowed anywhere else in the park.
Petroleum-fueled stoves are allowed in developed campgrounds and picnic areas. A permit is required to use a petroleum-fueled stove in designated wilderness sites.
The park may enforce stricter fire regulations, including fire bans.
Fire safety tips:
To report a fire in the park, call 9-1-1.
Never leave a fire unattended. Before leaving or going to sleep, completely extinguish your fire by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until there is no more heat, smoke, or embers.
Be careful with equipment such as stoves, lanterns, heaters, and grills. Avoid spilling flammable substances, store fuel away from appliances, and allow equipment to cool.
Discard cigarettes and matches properly. Completely extinguish and dispose of smoking materials in a cigarette receptacle or carry them out of the park with you.
Check out the National Weather Service’s Rocky Mountain National Park weather decision support page to learn more about current weather conditions, including fire weather.
For further information regarding fire conditions, regulations, recent and ongoing fires in the park, please contact the Information Office at (970) 586-1206.