National forest roads and trails in Aspen area remained closed until at least May 21

Staff report
This map shows the trail restrictions between Two Creeks at Snowmass and West Buttermilk. Routes such as Government Trail will be closed until June 28 to avoid interfering with elk calving.
Courtesy image

The White River National Forest is reminding forest visitors that they must remain patient regarding where they travel despite the recent warm and dry weather.

There is no motorized use or wheeled travel allowed on national forest system roads and trails until May 21 unless those routes are shown as open in the Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps.

“Some higher elevation roads and motorized trails are not scheduled to open until later in May or June due to snowpack and wet roadbed conditions,” the forest supervisor’s office said in a statement. “All forest visitors are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride.”

Snow levels are typically at about 9,500 feet in elevation at this time of the year. Many closure gates are buried in snow and open gates often provide access to roads that are still wet, muddy or both.

“Travel in muddy conditions creates deep ruts that damage roads and trails,” the supervisor’s office said. “Please be patient and find alternate locations to recreate and give muddy areas time to dry out and harden.”

Other road and trails closures are in effect until late spring to protect elk calving areas and mule deer migration rest areas.

One key closure has been extended for one week this year to protect critical elk calving between Two Creeks at Snowmass to West Buttermilk. Government Trail, Sugar Bowl Trail and Anaerobic Nightmare are closed through June 27. They will open June 28.

Tom Blake, Sequel and other trails in the Elk Camp vicinity of Snowmass Ski Area are closed through June 20.

“This annual closure gives cow elk solitude and free-range to raise their young,” said Phil Nyland, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service. “Disturbance caused by humans and dogs is very stressful to elk giving birth and nursing calves. Disturbance may also lead elk to abandon their calves.”

Summer motor vehicle use maps and bicycle maps are available for free at