Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Available For Public Review: RMNP Seeks to Permanently Close The Crater Trail

The National Park Service (NPS) has released for public review and comment an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Crater Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Crater Trail starts near Milner Pass on Trail Ridge Road and extends above tree line to a geologic feature known as “the Crater.” The trail is resulting in harm to park resources, bisects a prehistoric archeological site and is not sustainable from a trail construction and maintenance perspective. It differs from other trails in the park in that it is an informal route that was not designed and constructed, but developed over time. As a result, the trail is steep and severely eroded in sections, impacting the alpine tundra and cultural resources. The trail is typically closed annually from May to August 15 during the bighorn lambing season. For the past three years, the Crater Trail has been closed year-round pending the outcome of the EA process.

Rocky Mountain National Park is proposing to permanently close the Crater Trail to protect natural and cultural resources in the park. The abandoned trail would be closed to public access and revegetated. The EA also evaluates three other alternatives: no action, reconstructing the trail within the existing alignment, and rerouting the trail to a more sustainable alignment.

Public Comment

Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. The park will host a public meeting on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Lake Fire Protection District Station located at 201 W. Portal Road in Grand Lake. There will be a short presentation at 6:15 p.m., and park staff will be available to answer questions until 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to visit at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and provide written comments.

The EA will be on public review for a minimum of 30 days, with comments accepted through November 22, 2017. The document is available electronically for review and comment online by visiting, the website for the NPS’s Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system. Look for “Crater Trail.” Comments also may be mailed to the address below:

 Rocky Mountain National Park
 Estes Park, CO 80517

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.

If you have questions about the project or would like more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Hazard Tree Mitigation Work In Rocky Mountain National Park Expect Delays Along Section Of Trail Ridge Road

Beginning on Monday, October 16, resource management staff will be removing hazard fuels along Trail Ridge Road from Many Parks Curve to Rainbow Curve as part of ongoing fuels mitigation work. This work will take place October 16 through October 19, and again October 23 through October 26. Park visitors should expect one lane of traffic through this section of Trail Ridge Road and up to 15 minutes delays. Work will not take place on Fridays or weekends.

If conditions and resources allow, fuels mitigation work will also take place during this time in the Endovalley Picnic Area and near the Alluvial Fan parking areas.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Amazing Interview With Man Who Survived a Grizzly Bear Attack - Twice

This is a truly an amazing story. Todd Orr, an all-around outdoorsman from Bozeman, Montana, sat down with Jason Matzinger to discuss the sow grizzly bear that attacked him twice last fall. This guy was so incredibly calm and collected that he had the wherewithal to walk the three miles back to the trailhead by himself, and then shoot a short video of himself to show the damage done by the bear. That short clip is included in this video:

Before venturing into grizzly bear country it's always a good idea to educate yourself on how to prevent an encounter, and what to do should you see a grizzly while on the trail.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Work Begins On Alluvial Fan Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park

Construction is beginning on a new accessible pedestrian trail in the Alluvial Fan area between the existing east and west parking lots with a new bridge across the Roaring River. The construction is expected to last through next fall.

While construction is taking place, there will be closures in the sections where the park’s trail crew is working. The crew will first complete the trail leading from the east parking lot to the bridge crossing. Then, the crew will complete the trail from the west parking lot to the bridge crossing. Finally, the crew will complete the bridge connecting the two trail sections. Areas of the trail will close or open according to this project schedule. Some parking spaces will be closed in the Alluvial Fan east or west parking lots, when needed for the staging of equipment and supplies.
The Alluvial Fan was created as a result of the Lawn Lake Dam break and major flood in 1982. In 1985, an asphalt trail and pedestrian bridge was built in the Alluvial Fan because it had become a popular visitor attraction. A major flood event in 2013 destroyed the bridge and trail.

The project is being funded by $200,000 in federal funds as part of the Centennial Challenge program and is being matched by $200,000 from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy (RMC), the park’s nonprofit partner, who will also provide in-kind services from the RMC – Conservation Corps.

Jeff Adds Four New Hikes to Website

Before venturing into the Canadian Rockies this past September (see blog posts from the past two weeks), we stopped in Glacier National Park for a few days of hiking. Other than Yellowstone, it may have been the highest concentration of wildlife we've ever seen in only a few days. In addition to the amazing scenery atop Grinnell Glacier Overlook, the highlight of our trip was the white wolf we saw in the Medicine Grizzly valley. It was the first wolf any of us had ever seen in Glacier.

As a result of this trip we've added four new hikes to our website at Here's a quick rundown of each of those hikes:

* Grinnell Glacier Overlook is quite possibly the best view in Glacier National Park! This is in addition to all the stunning scenery you'll see along the Highline Trail before reaching the overlook. As we sat there soaking in the magnificent views, a nanny mountain goat and her kid raced past us - within 10 feet! At first we thought we were being charged, but she just wanted to get to the other side safely.

* Lake Josephine Loop - This loop takes you around both Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area. The hike is mostly flat, making it a great choice for almost everyone in the family. Oh yea, the views are simply outstanding! Almost every time we've hiked in this area we've seen at least one moose.

* Triple Divide Pass - If you're looking for a little bit of solitude in Glacier National Park, Triple Divide Pass just may be the ticket. The trailhead is located in Cut Bank, roughly half-way between Two Medicine and St. Mary. The pass lies just below Triple Divide Peak, the only hydrological apex in North America - or is it? After soaking in the panoramic views from the pass, while proceeding down the mountain, we saw a white wolf trotting through a meadow in the valley below.

* Two Medicine Pass - Our wildlife tour definitely continued on this hike. During this trek we saw an owl as it soared through the trees just up the trail, saw an extremely large bull moose just below Rockwell Falls, and then, as we neared the pass, we came upon a large herd of Bighorn sheep. Numbering at least three dozen, it was by far the largest herd of Bighorns we've ever seen in one place. Once atop the pass we enjoyed outstanding panoramic views on both sides of the narrow ridge.

To see all of the trails covered by our website, please click here.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Summer experiment allowing dogs on select trails results in violations of rules and numerous complaints

A summer experiment that allowed dogs on select trails at Mueller State Park resulted in repeated violations of rules, numerous complaints and even a confrontation between visitors, prompting park officials to decide against opening trails to dogs on a permanent basis.

Park Manager John Geerdes said the problems ranged from pet owners taking their dogs onto restricted trails, owners failing to control their dogs, complaints of dogs chasing wildlife, aggressive dogs, dog waste on trails and dogs being off-leash.

“We had reports of dogs chasing small wildlife such as foxes, squirrels and rabbits,” Geerdes said. “And we heard, over and over again, that people come here to hike because it is one of the last places they can do so and not encounter dogs. Many come for the wildlife experience and say dogs ruin that for them.”

Mueller, south of Divide in Teller County, allowed dogs on portions of the Homestead and Black Bear trails on a three-month trial basis beginning June 1. It was a recognition of the trend of outdoor enthusiasts who hike and camp with their pets.

In the 25 years or so since Mueller opened, park officials were reluctant to introduce pets in the park because they can attract predators, chase and scare wildlife when uncontrolled and even transmit diseases, Geerdes said.

Once the trial ended Aug. 31, Geerdes evaluated the 88 written and verbal comments provided by guests, studied attendance numbers and reviewed seven written tickets issued for rule violations.

“There was not enough positive evidence to justify allowing dogs on trails and in the backcountry,” Geerdes said, noting that many guests noticed a drop in sightings of big game along the trails compared to previous summers.

Though dogs are banned from trails, they remain welcome in the campground, picnic areas and along paved roads on a leash.

Mueller State Park is located on Colorado Highway 67, 3.5 miles south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 24 in Divide.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Old Fall River Road In Rocky Mountain National Park Closed For The Season

Rocky Mountain National Park announced today that Old Fall River Road closed for the season to vehicles on October 2nd. The road will be open to bicycles and leashed pets through November 30. On December 1, the road will revert to trail status.

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park continues to be closed due to snow accumulation from the recent storm, four foot drifting in some locations, wind and overnight freezing temperatures at higher elevations.

For recorded Trail Ridge Road open/close status please call (970) 586-1222. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.