Approximately 30,000 acres or 10 percent of Rocky Mountain National Park were impacted by the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak Fires of 2020.
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 this section of the road including the Harbison Picnic Area and the Green Mountain Trail.
The North Inlet Trail has reopened.
The Onahu Trail and the Continental Divide Connector Trail to the inholder road has reopened.
The Green Mountain Trail remains closed.
A small out and back section of the Sun Valley Trail from County 491 along Trail Ridge Road has reopened. Most of the Sun Valley Trail remains closed.
East Side of Rocky Mountain National Park
In the Bear Lake Corridor area:
The Fern Lake Trail has reopened, however the Spruce Lake Trail remains closed.
The Mill Creek Basin area has reopened including the Hollowell Park Trail to Bierstadt Lake, as well as the Mount Wuh/Steep Mountain junction from the Cub Lake Trail.
The Flattop Trail is open to the summit of Flattop Mountain but is closed past this point to the west of the Continental Divide.
Beaver Mountain area and trails remains closed.
Northwest Area of Rocky Mountain National Park
The Chapin Pass Trailhead is open to access Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain. The Chapin Pass Trail is closed as it descends to Chapin Creek.
The northwest section of the park including the Poudre River Trail, Mirror Lake Trail, and Commanche Peak Trail remain closed.
Park visitors should be aware of additional hazards when recreating in burn areas including:
Burned-out stump holes where the ground may be weak and unstable
Unstable dead trees, especially in windy conditions
Loose rocks, logs and rolling debris
Flash flooding and significant debris flow possible in burn areas
Dry, hot conditions with little forest canopy to provide shade
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.
Ninety-four people are working in the park on repairing burn area trails this summer. Fifty are Rocky Mountain National Park trail crew members, and four are from the National Park Service Southeast Utah Group. Assisting the National Park Service include forty additional crew members; one crew is from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Fire Corp, one crew from the Larimer County Conservation Corp and one crew from the Rocky Mountain Youth Corp based in Steamboat Springs.
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.
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. Fireworks are always prohibited within the park. Park visitors are urged to use caution and vigilance regarding the use of fire in authorized locations.
These rules are always in effect:
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.