Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend on the Arapaho National Forest

Eleven campgrounds on the Sulphur Ranger District in Grand County, Colorado will be open today for the Memorial Day Weekend, and with a forecast of warm weather and sunny skies, it should be an ideal time to enjoy the Arapaho National Forest.

Late spring snows and recent rains have left much of the Forest’s road system soggy and mucky, so gates will remain closed across much of the Forest, and seasonal closures are still in place to protect the road surface. According to the ranger district’s Motor Vehicle Use Map, which can be obtained for free at the district office in Granby, the majority of National Forest roads become available for use around June 15th. The lower portions of several roads, including Vasquez, Beaver Creek, Crooked Creek and Kawuneeche may have a few sites available for dispersed camping, although the ground in these areas may still be wet.

The Arapaho National Recreation Area is an ideal place to recreate at this time of year with seven developed picnic areas, six campgrounds (all of which are open) great fishing piers, boat ramps and trailheads. Lower than average water levels in Lake Granby create expansive beaches where the family can play. Monarch Lake loop is a very popular early season trail and offers a visitors cabin where you can learn more about the history of the area. Portions of that trail, as well as many others on the district, are still snowy and muddy, so if you plan to hike the entire loop be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

In the Winter Park area, Idlewild and St. Louis Creek campgrounds both open this weekend as well. Denver Creek Campground on Colorado Highway 125 is also open. Water may not be available in all campgrounds so be sure to call ahead or check the Sulphur Ranger District recreation webpage.

Due to the wet conditions, off-highway vehicles are currently restricted from riding on motorized trails and roads until the seasonal closure is lifted on June 15th. And, while mountain bikes may not be prohibited from various trails, staying on dry trails will help minimize resource damage.

For additional information you can stop by the Sulphur Ranger District Office at 9 Ten Mile Drive in Granby to pick up maps, information about wildlife, souvenirs and books. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays. You can also call 970-887-4100, or visit the USFS website at\arp.


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