Memorial Day weekend brings many visitors to the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland near the Front Range. While this holiday historically kicks off the summer camping season, snow is still deep at the higher elevations in the mountains around Fort Collins, Boulder, Idaho Springs and Granby; and spring rains and snowmelt have left many roads and trails wet, muddy and snow-packed.
Lower elevation hiking trails above 8,000 feet still have mud and snow patches. Most trails at higher elevations above 10,000 feet will remain snow-packed until later in June or early July.
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Many National Forest System roads remain closed this time of year due to mud or snow. Make sure to check the latest road information at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/roads before heading out. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is a good resource, available at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/mvum or at our visitor center. These maps are also available as a cell phone app from Avenza at www.pdf-maps.com.
Many National Forest campgrounds open May 26. Although most of the reservable campsites are already booked, some offer first come, first served spots. For a full list of campgrounds, reservations and opening dates please visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/campinglist. Reservations should be made at www.recreation.gov.
With many roads closed, dispersed camping may be a bit more challenging. If dispersed camping, pull off the road within 300 feet in a way that does not obstruct traffic or damage the ground. No overnight camping is allowed at trailheads or picnic areas. Some areas only allow camping in designated areas or not at all. The Motor Vehicle Use Map is a good guide for where to dispersed camp.
A great source of information for those planning a trip to the forest is our website www.fs.usda.gov/arp. Most National Forest visitor centers will be closed for Memorial Day Weekend, so plan your trip early.