Thursday, May 31, 2018

Secretary Zinke Announces 19 New National Recreation Trails in 17 States

Continuing his work to expand recreational opportunities on public lands, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today designated 19 national recreation trails in 17 states, adding more than 370 miles to the national recreation trails system of more than 1,000 trails in all 50 states.

"By designating these new national trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone," said Secretary Zinke. "Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country."

On Saturday, June 2, hundreds of organized activities are planned as part of National Trails Day, including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications. Trails of the National Recreation Trails system range from less than a mile to 485 miles in length and have been designated on federal, state, municipal and privately owned lands.

"The network of national recreation trails offers expansive opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors," said National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith. "As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, I hope everyone will take advantage of a nearby national trail to hike or bike."

While national scenic trails and national historic trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, national recreation trails may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization.

The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of Federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.

For more information on the newly designated trails, please click here.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Plan Ahead For A More Enjoyable Visit To Rocky

In 2017, Rocky Mountain National Park was the fourth most visited national park with over 4.4 million visitors. This visitation represents a nearly 40 percent increase since 2012. Over the last 100 years, the reasons people visit are the same; to experience nature, to seek solitude, to enjoy scenic grandeur, to watch wildlife, and to partake in outstanding recreational activities.

Popularity and high visitation during the summer and fall, particularly during 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. can mean full parking lots, congested roads, busy trails, and long lines and wait times at entrance stations. Park managers continue to address what effect this level of visitation is having on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experiences and operational capacity. Last year during the summer and early fall, park staff restricted vehicle access in three specific areas, the Bear Lake Road corridor, the Wild Basin area, and Alpine Visitor Center when parking areas filled and heavy congestion warranted. These restrictions occurred most days in July and August, in addition to weekends in June and September. Park staff will continue to implement these short term efforts in 2018.

Plan ahead for a more enjoyable visit to Rocky!

•Hike early or hike late.

•Check the weather forecast before you arrive at the park to better plan your day and destinations. If you plan to hike later in the day, it is critical that you know the weather forecast for the elevation of your destination.


•Take advantage of the park shuttle:

Trailhead parking lots fill early in the day:
•Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 6:00 a.m.
•Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30 a.m.
•Park and Ride by 10:00 a.m.
•Wild Basin Corridor by 9:30 a.m.

•If you want to hike in the Bear Lake Road corridor and plan to arrive after 10, your best option, and on some days your only option, will be to take the Hiker Shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center. This shuttle runs every 30 minutes from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the Park & Ride on Bear Lake Road. Expect wait times to board the shuttles. An entrance pass is required to use The Hiker Shuttle. Please see below for how to purchase a pass online. The Hiker Shuttle will not be stopping at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center this summer, due to congestion and limited parking.

•The Alpine Visitor Center parking lot is busy between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

•More than eighty percent of park visitors arrive through the east entrances of the park

•Camping is popular in the park. Reserve a campsite up to six months before your visit. The two first-come, first-served campgrounds fill up quickly. Timber Creek Campground, located on the west side of the park, fills up last.

•In September, visitation is 50 percent higher on weekends than weekdays

•Purchase a daily or weekly entrance pass online at your email confirmation will serve as your pass and should save transaction time once you reach the park entrance station kiosk.

The remaining fee free days for 2018, are September 22 and November 11.

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

New Camping Restrictions In-place for Guanella Pass

Concentrated impacts from visitors are causing safety concerns, resource damage and threatening the Town of Georgetown’s water supply. To reduce these impacts, parking, camping, campfires and all other uses are restricted between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in undesignated areas within a quarter-mile of Guanella Pass Road, portions of Leavenworth Road and all of Silver Dollar Lake Road. Visitors may camp and have campfires in one of five developed campgrounds along the road corridor, including 70 developed campsites and 30 designated dispersed sites; park in designated parking areas at any time; hike the Mount Bierstadt Trail at any time; backpack out of the restricted area to camp; and use the area during non-restricted times for parking, picnicking, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting and viewing wildlife.

You can read the full Guanella Pass Dispersed Camping restrictions here.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Trail Ridge Road Opens For The Season

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is open for the season. Due to melting snow on the road visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are anticipated to open on Friday, May 25. At this time, night time closures will not be implemented. Because weather conditions may change rapidly, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly and are encouraged to call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222. Park staff will update the recorded line during and after regular office hours, when the road status changes.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 31, due to a late May snowstorm. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbs to 12,183 feet and connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on October 27.

National Park Service plow operators normally begin clearing the snow in the middle of April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet at the Alpine Visitor Center. The visitor center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. This year, crews ran into average or below average snowpack in many locations. Drifts were similar as past years, ranging from 10 to 20 feet in some locations. Rain and sun caused significant melting over the last two weeks. Recent storms that forecast snow accumulation at higher elevations, produced rain instead.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Special Programs Offered Over Memorial Day Weekend At Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park invites the public to attend two special Memorial Day Weekend evening programs offered at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at Rocky Mountain National Park. On Saturday, May 26, at 7 p.m. join park ranger Steven Lambert for Rocky Rocks. The story of Rocky’s rocks is the foundation on which all the wonders we see are built; the mountain peaks, valleys, lakes, forests, wildlife, weather and people.

On Sunday, May 27, at 7 p.m. the National Park Service is honored to have the Navy Band Northwest Brass Quintet perform to honor veterans over Memorial Day weekend. Presenting the finest in brass chamber music, the Navy Band Northwest Brass Quintet performs over one hundred concerts, ceremonies, and outreach events each year. With an area of responsibility from "Alaska to Nebraska," musical variety from ancient renaissance to modern jazz, and technical virtuosity from the trumpets all the way down to the tuba. Their musical selections inspire feelings of patriotism to celebrate Memorial Day.

These programs are free and open to the public. Space is limited. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Help the Conservation Corps celebrate National Trails Day!

Rocky Mountain Conservancy and Rocky Mountain National Park will celebrate National Trails Day by hosting a volunteer project in Rocky.

This year, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System. Help the Conservancy celebrate trails and send-off the Conservation Corps by joining us for a volunteer trails projects in Rocky Mountain National Park. The project will work on the Aspen Brook trail. Project description below:

The Aspen Brook trail was heavily damaged by the floods of 2013. Large sections of the trail were heavily eroded and in many sections large slides made the trail impassible. During the summer of 2017 Rocky Mountain National Park trail crews’ worked to build a new trail with a more sustainable alignment, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Volunteers will work to rehabilitate the old trail while also continuing to build sections of new trail. There is about a 20 minute walk to the work site and volunteers will be asked to more brush and dirt and well as dig new trail with shovels, picks, and McLeods. There is plenty of work available for people of all activity levels.

After the volunteer work, the Conservancy will host a National Trails Day BBQ for all participants!

Who: Volunteer must be able to hike up to a mile and lift 20lbs.

What: Volunteer Trails Project (Flood Recovery)

Where: Aspen Brook Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park – Directions will be provided upon registration.

When: June 2nd at 9:00AM – 2:00PM

Why: Join the Conservancy and the Conservation Corps to celebrate the National Trails System!

For more information contact Geoff Elliot at or (970)586-3262

To RSVP please complete the form: National Trails Day Volunteer Registration


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Celebrate International Endangered Species Day With Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park invites you to a special program at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18 at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. On this special day, America will celebrate endangered species success stories, including the protection and recovery of the American bald eagle and Rocky’s own peregrine falcon. This year, we will be showing the award-winning film from the Discovery Channel, Racing Extinction. By shedding light on the international wildlife trade, the filmmakers reveal forces that endanger wildlife on the land and in the sea, while introducing us to the brave people working every day to save vulnerable species. They are protecting habitats, changing behaviors, and holding illegal operations accountable.

Started in 2006, by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places. The goal of Endangered Species Day is simple, to highlight the importance of protecting and recovering our rare, threatened, and endangered animal and plant species. In Colorado, the peregrine falcon is making a remarkable recovery thanks to efforts to protect these animals and their homes. Without these efforts, we might have lost these special falcons forever. Our commitment to protecting rare wildlife ensures that Coloradoans can enjoy living side-by-side with all plant and wildlife for generations to come.

One reason for the nation’s success in protecting wildlife is the passage, 42 years ago, of the federal Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented the extinction of hundreds of species, including the humpback whale, Kirtland’s warbler, and bull trout. Many of our nation’s signature species, such as the Florida panther, Hawaiian monk seal, and Alabama red-bellied turtle, owe their continued existence to the protections of the Act. The significant success of the Act shows that only nine animals out of the more than 1,800 species listed as endangered under the Act have been declared extinct. This is in part thanks to the everyday actions that individuals can take to help protect our nation’s wildlife, fish and plants.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

The final section of the Colorado Birding Trail has been completed

The final section of the Colorado Birding Trail – encompassing the northeast region of Colorado – has been completed, finishing a major tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation that started 15 years ago in time for bird enthusiasts to get out and celebrate the Year of the Bird.

The Colorado Birding Trail was started as a major nature tourism initiative to promote outdoor recreation, conservation of resources by private landowners, and a diversified income for rural economies. The trail is unique in that it’s not a physical trail, but a driving-tour map that brings together both public and private lands, with many of the private lands being open to visitation only through their participation as sites on the trail.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Statewide Public Programs Coordinator Mary McCormac has been involved with the northeast trail from the very beginning. She said the northeast region offers unique opportunities for Colorado birders.

“One of the special qualities of the northeast is urban birdin’, as we call it,” McCormac said. “Here you have some of the most populated areas of the state, yet there is quality wildlife habitat you can explore not too far from home. And for people who may not have the means to travel to sites, these places in their neighborhood may help connect them to wildlife and the outdoors.”

McCormac said colorful spiral-bound books are being printed for distribution to the public this summer, but birders eager to get a jump start on the recently completed northeast region can visit where all the current trail information has been updated.

“Getting out on the Colorado Birding Trail is a very easy way for people to get started caring about nature and the outdoors,” McCormac said. “They can choose what they want to do and where they want to go. They can travel to remote areas or stay close to home and discover new places they’ve never seen in their neighborhood. From there, you’re planting the seed of growing and fostering that love and appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors. Hopefully we then inspire conservation stewardship, and maybe even some future park rangers and wildlife officers to work for us or our partner agencies someday!”

The Colorado Birding Trail is a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife, American Birding Association, Audubon Rockies, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and Colorado Field Ornithologists. The trail was made possible by funding from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), which invests Colorado Lottery proceeds in outdoor recreation and land conservation projects across the state. Additional support for the project was provided by many federal, state, and nonprofit agencies.

“Whether folks are new to birding, real experts, or just headed out on the trail for fun with friends or family, we hope they enjoy their time exploring Colorado’s great outdoors along the Colorado Birding Trail,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian.

"The Colorado Lottery is thrilled that the development of the Colorado Birding Trail was made possible with Lottery proceeds,” said Colorado Lottery Community Relations Specialist Colin Waters. “Since 1983, we've given back more than $3.1 billion to wildlife and habitat preservation, education programs, and outdoor recreation. The Lottery encourages all Colorado residents and visitors to experience first-hand the hundreds of bird species that make Colorado home."


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Get out and celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day on May 19

Get out and celebrate Colorado! Colorado Parks and Wildlife, along with partners from federal, local and state agencies, are all celebrating Colorado Public Lands Day on Saturday, May 19. Free events, stewardship projects and outdoor adventures are being offered across the state to highlight the importance of our public lands.

Colorado Public Lands Day is an annual opportunity to give back to our lands and unify communities across the state. “Not only do public lands conserve critical habitat for fish and wildlife, they also sustain a vibrant economic engine for Colorado,” said CPW Director Bob Broscheid. “Whether it’s tourism, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or dirt biking, our public lands are a vital part of Colorado’s allure and natural beauty.”

Colorado was the first state in the nation to establish its own public lands day. In May 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed the bipartisan bill into law. The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate the significant contributions that national, state, and local public lands within Colorado make to wildlife, outdoor recreation, the economy, and to Coloradans’ quality of life.

Some state park events include:

• Arkansas Headwaters: 27th Annual Clean Up/Green Up
• Lathrop State Park and Cheyenne Mountain State Park: Kids to Parks Day Activity
• Roxborough State Park: Volunteer at the Garden
• Stagecoach State Park: Free Community Lunch and Pre-Summer Trash Pick-Up
• Lory State Park: Mullein Control to Celebrate Public Lands Day!
• Colorado State Parks Photo Campaign

For event information, visit

Additional events can also be found at