Eight campgrounds on the Sulphur Ranger District in Granby, Colo. will be open by Friday, May 23rd, for Memorial Day weekend. Spring comes late to the Colorado mountains, so be prepared for cool weather and snowy or muddy conditions on roads and trails.
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, boat ramps and trailheads. Lower than average water levels at this time of year on Lake Granby have created expansive beaches where the family can play. Monarch Lake loop is a very popular early season trail, and there's a visitor’s cabin where you can learn more about the history of that 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, St. Louis Creek and Sitzmark campgrounds will open this weekend. Denver Creek Campground on Colo. Highway 125 will also be open. Water may not be available in all campgrounds, so be sure to call ahead or check the Sulphur Ranger District recreation webpage.
Late spring snows and rain have left the District’s road system with snow on most roads, and several roads have sustained major damage beyond gates and barricades due to spring flooding. According to the district’s Motor Vehicle Use Map, which can be obtained for free at the district office in Granby or online, the majority of National Forest roads become available for use around June 15th, if conditions allow. Seasonal closures are still in place to protect the road surfaces.
Dispersed camping opportunities will be very limited. Dispersed campers may find dry spots on lower Beaver Creek Road (FSR 133), Big Meadows Road (FSR 253), lower Meadow Creek Road (FSR 129) below the 128 intersection, and “Tent City” before the gate on Little Muddy Road (FSR 134). Dispersed camping will also be available at Bull Mountain Campground on Stillwater Pass Road (FSR 123), but the trails around the campground are not ready for use. The road just beyond Bull Mountain has been barricaded since it sustained major damage in the spring floods, is unstable and is not safe for public use.
Due to the wet and snowy conditions, off-highway vehicles are currently restricted from riding on motorized trails and roads until the season closure is lifted June 15th. And, while mountain bikes may not be prohibited from various trails, please allow muddy trails to dry completely before attempting to ride them to protect the trails system for a higher quality experience later in the season.
Visitors 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 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. For more information, call 970-887-4100 or visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov\arp.