Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
With the upcoming warm weather forecast, park staff are expecting a busy Fourth of July weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park. Park visitors should expect more snow in the park than they would normally encounter in early July! From lower elevations the mountain peaks look majestic with blankets of snow. However, the backcountry on both the east and west side of the park, still looks and feels like winter above 9,500 feet. Visitors planning to recreate and hike in the park's backcountry should be prepared for heavy/wet snow, slush and ice on sections of trails including the Bear Lake area. Avalanche danger remains a concern and backcountry users should expect to encounter conditions that present additional hazards and risks than what is typically encountered this time of year such as steep snow slopes, thin ice over water, snow cornices and snow bridges over moving water.
With deep snow trail conditions in many sections of the park, park rangers are encountering visitors who are getting injured due to slipping and falling or are exhausted from post holing. Rangers are also assisting visitors who are expecting typical summer trail conditions but instead are having difficulty finding the route and becoming disoriented and lost. Visitors should come prepared with waterproof, lug-soled boots. Hiking poles are helpful. Good route-finding skills are important, due to snow-covered trails. Trail conditions are posted on the park website, www.nps.gov/romo follow the Quicklink to Trail Conditions Reports.
Visitors can still expect dramatic snowdrifts along Trail Ridge Road. Due to significant snow accumulation, Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will not be open by the Fourth of July weekend as it traditionally is. For those who are accustomed to hiking or bicycling the road before it opens to motor vehicle traffic, please pay close attention to current conditions as avalanche potential and possible road damage may influence temporary or long-term closures not normally in effect.Old Fall River Road is open to hikers and bicyclists on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays and is closed to all uses Tuesdays through Fridays for road maintenance. It is unknown when Old Fall River Road will open to vehicles.
The heavy late snowpack is also contributing to high water and fast-moving streams in the park. Visitors are encouraged to be mindful of these additional hazards and to be especially attentive and keep children away from the banks of rivers and streams.
The park's wonderful ranger-led programs are in full swing every day with something for everyone from 30-minute to 4-hour programs. Take a nature walk, learn about wildflowers and wildlife. Have little ones? Check out the park's great children's programs.
The park's Bear Lake and Moraine Park shuttles are now running from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center with stops at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Park & Ride is now running from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
As always, the three reservation campgrounds in the park are full for the holiday weekend and the first-come, first-served sites are expected to be full by Friday morning. Fireworks are prohibited in Rocky Mountain National Park.To learn more about current trail conditions, park programs, shuttle schedules and more, please visit the park's official website at www.nps.gov/romo or call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
Last updated: February 24, 2015