by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Rocky Mountain

Guide Winter 2019/2020

brochure Rocky Mountain - Guide Winter 2019/2020
Rocky Mountain N AT I O N A L PA R K The Official Newspaper and Trip Planner of Rocky Mountain National Park 2019–2020 Winter | November 3, 2019–March 21, 2020 Welcome to Your National Park Set aside more than 100 years ago, Rocky Mountain National Park has been entrusted to your care. Please take pride in your park and treat it with respect! Generations of future visitors will thank you. Read and follow important safety information on page 2, then take the Rocky Pledge. Our rules and regulations weren’t invented to ruin anyone’s fun—they were created to keep you safe and to keep your park beautiful. Read and take heed! Vehicle access to Bear Lake, Alpine Visitor Center, or Wild Basin may be restricted when parking areas fill and heavy congestion warrants. When restrictions are in place, consider visiting other areas, returning before 9 am or after 3 pm, or using our shuttle system (seasonally, see back page). Plan ahead for your next visit, whether tomorrow or in a decade. Planning ahead can help you avoid the not-so-fun stuff so that you have more time and energy to enjoy the totally-fun stuff. For details, visit “our website at N P S P H O T O / C R Y S TA L B R I N D L E Contact Us Trail Ridge Road Status 970 586-1222 Hidden Valley Snowplay Status 970 586-1333 Park Information 970 586-1206 TTY 970 586-1319 PLEDGE to PROTECT Rocky Mountain National Park #rockypledge Emergencies 911 website instagram @RockyNPS #RMNP twitter @RockyNPS Things to Do in a Day or Less Take a Scenic Drive Get Into Winter Watch Wildlife Hike a Trail See Visitor Centers Join a Ranger PAGE 4 PAGE 8 PAGE 9 PAGE 10 PROGRAM GUIDE PROGRAM GUIDE Driving Rocky’s roads is a great way to explore the park. Learn more about our roads and famous drives, including times of the year when some major roads are closed to motorized traffic. In winter, ice and snow transform the park and offer new experiences. Check out our winter activity guide to get a better sense of what’s open, what’s closed, and how you can enjoy the season. Rocky is home to many animals, big and small. While we’re unable to tell you exactly where wildlife will be (they are wild, after all!), we have a great guide inside to help you learn more. Rocky has trails for every age and ability. Find a trail, check your packing list against our recommended items, and learn where you can get even more in-depth info. Visitor centers are a great way to explore the park’s wonders. See your program guide for opening and closing dates and times and general descriptions. Year-round, Rocky offers ranger-led programs on a variety of awesome topics. Check out our program guide to find the perfect program for you and yours. Safety It is your responsibility to be safe and to know and obey park rules. You can find park safety information, rules, and regulations at visitor centers, entrance stations, trailhead bulletin boards, and the park website at The Rocky Pledge “To preserve unimpaired for this and future generations the beauty, history, and wildness therein, I pledge to protect Rocky Mountain National Park.” • To respect history, heritage, and natural processes, I pledge to remove nothing from the park except my own and others’ trash—not even a flower, pinecone, or rock. I will leave no trace of my visit so that the next person can experience the same beauty as I did. • To prevent fire scars and human-caused fires, I pledge to never build a fire outside of a campground or picnic area fire grate. • To protect plants, meadows, and alpine tundra, I pledge to park and drive only on designated asphalt or gravel parking areas, never on vegetation. • To keep my pet, wildlife, and other visitors safe, I pledge to keep my leashed pet only on roads, in campgrounds, and in picnic and parking areas. I will never take my dog on Rocky’s trails, meadows, or tundra areas. • To respect other visitors’ experiences, if I need to go but am not near a restroom, I pledge to leave no trace by stepping well away from the trail and water sources, burying my waste at least six inches deep or packing it out in a waste bag, and carrying out my toilet paper. PLEDGE to PROTECT • To respect Rocky’s wild creatures and to protect myself, I pledge to watch wildlife from a distance that doesn’t disturb them in any way. I will never feed an animal—doing so causes it harm. Altitude Sickness affects many visitors. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate • To preserve them for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, I pledge to honor, respect, and protect all our national parks and public lands. Rocky Mountain National Park #rockypledge Falling Trees are an ever-present hazard and can fall without warning. Be extra careful around dead trees when it’s windy or following a snowstorm. preexisting conditions like heart and lung dis‑ Pets are prohibited on ALL park trails, tundra, and meadow areas. K E E P W I L D L I F E W I L D Never feed or approach wildlife Leashed pets are only allowed in picnic areas, parking lots, campgrounds, and along roadsides. Never leave pets in vehicles if it puts them in ease. Take your time, drink plenty of water, eat Firearm Possession in the park is danger or they become a public nuisance. When Many amazing animals call Rocky home. To lightly, and rest. The only cure for altitude sick‑ permitted for those legally authorized outside vehicles, pets must be on leashes no keep them and you safe and comfortable: to possess firearms under federal, Colorado, or longer than six feet. Service animals that have • Obey wildlife closure areas and local laws. However, hunting, recreational been individually trained to perform specific Avalanches can be easily triggered by backcountry travelers. The park shooting, and target practice are illegal. Federal tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities law prohibits firearms in park buildings and are allowed in the park. Emotional support does not do any avalanche control. facilities. Those legally allowed to carry firearms (“therapy animals”) and service-ani- Never assume trails are free of avalanche hazard. must comply with all applicable state and federal mals-in-training are not service animals under Wear an electronic transceiver when traversing firearm laws. the Americans with Disabilities Act and may not ness is to go down to a lower altitude. avalanche terrain, and avoid skiing or snowshoe‑ access trails or other non-motorized areas. ing in steep gullies. If caught in an avalanche, Fishing requires a Colorado state make swimming motions and try to stay on top fishing license. Trout in the park include of the snow. For current conditions, visit brown, brook, rainbow, and cutthroat Purify all water from rivers, lakes, and streams before drinking. Park, check at a visitor (including the protected Colorado River and waters may contain parasites like giardia and center, or call 970 586‑1206. greenback). Not all park lakes have reproducing cryptosporidium. visit for a section of the East Shore Trail. • Use parking areas along the road. If not available, pull your vehicle completely off the road and do not park on vegetation. • Keep a safe distance. If you cause an animal to move or change behavior, you are too close! Approaching an animal puts you at risk and may cause it stress, leading to disease and illness. • Never feed wildlife, including birds and chipmunks. fish populations. For more information, Bicycles are prohibited on trails except “no stopping” traffic zones. Rivers and Streams can be deadly. Bears and Mountain Lions Park waters are frigid. Powerful currents Seeing a bear or mountain lion is can knock you over and pull you downstream or motor vehicles, paved and dirt, unless otherwise Hypothermia can happen any time of year. Watch for drowsiness, underwater, where you may become trapped. rare, and interactions are even more rare. posted. There are no designated bicycle lanes in impaired judgment, excessive shivering, They are permitted on roads open to Streamside rocks are often slippery, and nearby However, keep the following in mind: the park. Roads are narrow with few or no and slurred speech. To prevent, wear insulated, water may be deep. Always closely supervise • Travel in groups and make noise as you shoulders—ride with care. By law, you must ride wind-proof layers and drink plenty of fluids. children around all water but especially near hike closely together. Keep children rivers and streams. close! A predator does not distinguish single file. Shuttle buses do not accept bicycles. Visit Campfires are permitted only in Lightning regularly strikes in Rocky. There is no safe place in the Take only pictures. It is illegal to wilderness when lightning strikes. take any natural features including a running child from running prey. campgrounds and picnic areas with fire Check the forecast before heading out. Watch pinecones, rocks, antlers, and artifacts, or to grates. During high fire danger, for building storm clouds. Plan activities so you disturb soil, rocks, or vegetation (including campfires may be prohibited. You can purchase can quickly return to your car if a storm begins. flowers). Metal detector use is prohibited. firewood at campgrounds in summer. Collecting If hiking, plan to return to the trailhead before vegetation, dead or alive, is prohibited. noon, and return to the trailhead immediately if Wilderness Travel should be done you hear thunder. in a group, not alone. Leave a detailed Cell Service is unavailable in much of the park. Don’t depend on a cell phone for emergency help. Drones are not allowed anywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. This includes launching, landing, and operating drones. 2 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado trip itinerary with a friend. This helps park au‑ Marijuana possession and use is illegal in Rocky Mountain National Park and all federal thorities if you fail to return. Mountain weather • If you see a bear or mountain lion, stop, stay calm, and back away slowly. Never approach wildlife or turn your back and run. Stand tall and look large. Raise your arms. Protect small children by picking them up. • If approached, make loud noises, shout, clap hands, bang pots or pans, and fight back if attacked. changes quickly. If conditions are more difficult See Camping, page 11, to learn how to than anticipated, turn around. Longs Peak, a properly store food and other scented lands, even though small amounts of recre‑ popular climb, can have treacherous ice and items. ational marijuana are legal in Colorado. snow any time of year. Camping is only allowed in designated sites. Weather Winter 80 70 60 50 40 Spring Summer 78 Estes Park Average High 76 68 61 60 Estes Park Average Low 59 51 50 42 43 49 10 31 31 27 6 4 Jan Feb 16 14 10 -1 17 19 16 -1 25 23 22 21 0 -10 32 27 19 34 39 36 25 16 38 44 36 18 42 48 33 20 55 55 Alpine Visitor Center Average Low (estimated) 30 Winter 72 Alpine Visitor Center Average High (estimated) 35 Fall -1 Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Winter Spring Summer Fall Cold temperatures, high winds, and ice and snow define winter at Rocky Mountain National Park. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are best in January, February, and March. A warm, sunny day can make it seem that summer’s arrived early, only to be followed by a day of cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. Expect snow and ice on most if not all trails. Sunny mornings, afternoon thunderstorms (often with dangerous lightning), and clear, cool nights. This is the busiest time of year in the park. Most park facilities are open. Expect clear crisp air, blue skies, and generally dry weather mixed with the occasional early snowstorm. Trail Ridge Road usually closes for the winter by mid-October. Estes Park area Usually free of deep snow. Winds are often extremely high (50+ mph gusts). Montane (8000–9500 ft, 2450–2900 m) Spring arrives here first, usually in late April. Alpine (11,500+ ft, 3500+ m) Magnificent wildflowers bloom from late June to early August. Fall colors Aspen leaves start changing in mid-September. Fall color is magical but usually brief, lasting only a few weeks. Subalpine (9500–11,500 ft, 2900–3500 m) Spring is just reaching the subalpine country in June. Snow can stick around in gorges and other shaded areas well into summer. December–March Higher elevations Arctic conditions: sudden blizzards, damaging winds, deep snowpack. Grand Lake area Deeper snow common. Winds less extreme. Clearer and colder than the east side of the park. April–May Why is it colder at elevation? Take a look at the temperature chart above. The Alpine Visitor Center is, on average, 15–20 degrees colder than Estes Park, yet it’s only a few miles away as the crow flies. How can this be? Elevation, which measures a location’s height above sea level. Most people live relatively close to sea level (maybe you do, too), so they don’t know about the big effect elevation has on almost every everything, from solar radiation to weather to—you guessed it—temperature. But here in Rocky, where elevations start at around 7,500 ft, you can experience these changes firsthand! June–August Dressing for a trip to the mountains is part of the adventure. • The atmosphere gets thinner. With less air and clouds between the ground and the darkness of space, less of the sun’s heat is trapped and re-radiated back to Earth. As you can see, conditions vary wildly throughout the year and between different elevations. But conditions also vary wildly even within the same day! Add to these factors more exposure to extreme wind and weather, and it’s no wonder a warm day at the park entrances can be much chillier in the mountains. Elk rut Elk mating season begins in September and continues through mid-October. What clothes should I bring? For every 1,000 feet gained in elevation, temperature decreases 3–5°F. Why? • Air pressure drops. This causes the temperature of air, a gas, to decrease. September–November A single summer day could bring clear skies and frosty breath in the morning; blistering sun and sweat at noon; and a thunderstorm in the afternoon with a 20 degree temperature drop, lightning, rain, and hail. A winter day can go from still with warm sun to howling wind and whiteout conditions in a matter of minutes. How can you prepare for such wild weather? • Always carry wind and waterproof outerwear. Sudden cold rainstorms happen even in summer, and chilling winds are common. • Bring warm, quick-drying layers to adjust to changing temperatures. • Wear closed-toe, durable footwear. The park is rarely entirely without ice and snow. • Bring a warm hat and gloves—even in summer. • Protect yourself from the sun with clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses. UV radiation is much higher at elevation. Official Newspaper 2019–20 3 Scenic Drives Driving Conditions Through the Seasons Winter Spring Summer Fall While Bear Lake Road and other major paved roads remain open (weather permitting), smaller park roads, Old Fall River Road, and most of Trail Ridge Road are closed. Winter driving conditions are possible at any time—be prepared. Snow, ice, rain, sun— anything’s possible in spring. Some smaller roads open, weather permitting. It’s prime time at Rocky. Nearly all park roads, including Trail Ridge Road, open by Memorial Day (weather permitting). Old Fall River Road opens latest in the season, in early July. Snow and ice are back on the menu— be prepared. Old Fall River Road closes by early October. Trail Ridge usually closes in mid-October but depends on the year’s specific weather conditions. December–March April–May June–August September–November Trail Ridge Road CLOSED TO MOTORIZED VEHICLES Due to extreme winter conditions, Trail Ridge Road is closed to motorized vehicles from, generally, late Oct until late May. Pedestrian traffic is still allowed. Bicycles and pets on leash are allowed until Nov 30 but are prohibited Dec 1–Mar 31. Stretching 50 miles, from Estes Park in the east to Grand Lake in the west, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved highway in North America. Winding across the alpine tundra’s vastness to a high point of 12,183 ft (3713 m), the route offers thrilling views, scenic pullouts, wildlife sightings, and spectacular alpine wildflower displays. A trip up Trail Ridge Road is like traveling to the Arctic. By 11,400 ft (3475 m), the average annual temperature is so cold that none of Rocky’s trees can survive. Called treeline, you’ll know you’re above it when the trees disappear and the views stretch to forever. Alpine Visitor Center covered in snow. Old Fall River Road CLOSED TO MOTORIZED VEHICLES Due to extreme winter conditions, Old Fall River Road is closed to motorized vehicles from early Oct to early July. Pedestrian traffic is still allowed. Bicycles and pets on leash are allowed until Nov 30 but are prohibited Dec 1–Mar 31. Completed in 1920, Old Fall River Road was the first auto route in the park offering access to the alpine tundra. It follows a route long used by Native American tribes, including Ute and Arapaho. Old Fall River Road is a “motor nature trail.” Gravel and dirt, one-way uphill, with no guardrails and tight switchbacks, vehicles 25 feet and longer or with trailers are not allowed. The 9-mile long road leads from Horseshoe Park up a deeply cut valley to Fall River Pass at 11,796 ft (3595 m), where it joins Trail Ridge Road at the Alpine Visitor Center. NPS PHOTO Stay Safe Protect the Tundra • Trail Ridge Road is narrow, winding, has no shoulders, and few guardrails. Drive carefully. While seemingly hardy, the tundra is in fact quite fragile. Repeated footsteps often destroy tundra plants. Recovery can take hundreds of years. • Lightning can kill you. If thunderstorms are approaching or if you see or hear lightning, immediately seek shelter in your car or a building. • High elevation can make you feel sick and aggravate preexisting conditions. See page 2 for details. • Temperatures on the tundra can be 20 to 30° F (10 to 15° C) colder than park entrances, and weather changes quickly. Always bring warm, windproof layers, including a hat and gloves, even on warm days. • Sunlight is intense at elevation. Even on cool, cloudy days, UV levels can be extreme. Wear sunglasses that block UV to protect your eyes. Use sunscreen and wear a hat. Consider full-coverage clothing for long outings. • You must stay on trails in the park’s six Tundra Protection Areas: • Alpine View Trail • Alpine Visitor Center area • Forest Canyon overlook • Gore Range overlook • Rock Cut overlook • Tundra Communities Trail • Never pick flowers or plants. • Never feed or approach wildlife, no matter how small. • Park only in designated areas, never on vegetation. • Pets are prohibited on ALL tundra areas. Traffic, Parking, and Shuttle Buses Rocky hosted over 4.5 million visitors in 2018. With most visitors arriving by car, park roads can get extremely busy and parking extremely limited. • Roads are busiest from 9 am to 3 pm during the summer and on fall weekends. Arrive early or late to avoid the crowds. We understand this can be frustrating—but we’re all here to enjoy and celebrate Rocky. • Parking at our most popular trailheads can fill as early as 6:30 am. Even less popular trailheads will fill by early morning and on winter weekends. If you’re planning to hike, start early! Help yourself and other visitors keep fun levels high and stress levels low by being courteous to other motorists, obeying posted speed limits, and watching for visitors and wildlife in parking lots and near roadways. 4 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado • In summer, consider riding the shuttle from the Estes Park Visitor Center (park pass required) or Park & Ride. Save money on gas, skip the traffic, and enjoy mountain views while someone else drives! Learn more on the back page. Winter Program Guide Enjoying Dream Lake in winter. NPS PHOTO / BONNIE BEACH Visitor Centers Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Fall River Visitor Center Kawuneeche Visitor Center Open 9am to 4:30pm through 2/29/20 Open 8am to 4:30pm starting 3/1/20 Closed 11/28 and 12/25 Open 9am to 4pm on 11/29–12/1, 12/7–8, 12/14–29 (Closed 12/25), 1/18–20 Open 9am to 4pm Fri/Sat/Sun starting 3/13 Open 9am to 4:30pm Wed to Sun Closed Mon/Tue Closed 11/28 and 12/25 Near Beaver Meadows Entrance on US Hwy 36. Information, Near the Fall River Entrance on US Hwy 34. Life-sized wildlife On US Hwy 34 north of Grand Lake. Information, maps, free bookstore, and park movie. For wilderness camping permits, displays, bookstore, Arts Alive Activity Center (all ages welcome). park movie, exhibits, a bookstore, and wilderness camping follow the trail east of the visitor center to the Wilderness Office. permits. Activities and Talks Snowshoeing Quick, casual, and interactive, activities and talks are great for all ages and abilities! Learn about bears, elk, seasonal changes and conditions, and so much more. Rise above deep snow and walk through a winter wonderland! Develop snowshoeing skills as you learn about Rocky in winter on one of our guided snowshoe walks. Special Events Walk in the Moonlight 11/12, 12/11, 1/10, 2/9, 3/9 Time and location varies by month Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance. Call 970 586-1223 9am to 4pm daily. Maximum six people per reservation. Outdoor clothing and gear appropriate for the conditions are required. Holiday Programming Part of an Organized Group? Join us over the holidays for fun family activities. The park will be offering special programs to celebrate the winter season. Check our website, stop by a visitor center, or call 970 586‑1206 for specific topics and times. Park rangers may be available to provide special programs. Call 970 586-1338 to make reservations in advance. Winter Program Guide 2019–20 5 Ranger- and Partner-led Programs East Side Wheelchair-accessible A C T I V I T I E S , TA L K S , A N D S N O W S H O E I N G LENGTH L O C AT I O N SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI S AT Change Is in the Air 20–30 Beaver 10 am 10 am From watching wildlife to changing weather, fall is a minute Meadows time of transition. Come learn how to make the most talk Visitor Center Wild in Winter 20–30 Beaver 10 am 10 am Surviving winter can be a challenge. Learn how the minute Meadows season affects your visit and how animals adapt to the talk Visitor Center 2 hours Reservations 12:30 pm Join a beginner level walk to learn how to enjoy winter required no NO safely on snowshoes. No previous experience needed. more than PROGRAM Bring your own snowshoes. Ages 8 and up only. No 7 days in 1/19, 2/16 more than six people per reservation. advance. Jan 10–Mar 22 970 586‑1223 of your visit. Ends Dec 1. conditions. Begins Dec 7. Winter Snowshoe Exploration 12:30 pm 9 am to 4 pm Winter Ecology: A Snowshoeing Trek for Kids & Families (Rocky Mountain Conservancy) 4 hours To register in advance, call Discover Rocky in winter during this four-hour snow- 970 586-3262 shoe hike. Fun and educational, this program will lead or visit www. you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir forests rmconservancy. to learn how plants and animals survive winter. Learn org and click about the properties of snow, and get outside to enjoy on the Learn it yourself! $10 per adult, children 12 and under free With Us tab. Wintertime Wonders: On-demand Bus Tour (Rocky Mountain Conservancy) Varies January 25 February 8, 22 March 7, 28 To register in advance, call From the comfort of a heated 14-passenger bus or 970 586-3262 12-passenger van, join a naturalist and experience the or visit www. serenity of areas like Trail Ridge Road and the Bear rmconservancy. Lake Road corridor. Options include short walks of the org and click group’s choice and/or a modified schedule to meet on the Learn individual needs. $300 for up to four people then $50 With Us tab. Scheduled on-demand. per each additional adult and $25 per each additional child age 12 and under. Entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park and hot beverages are included. West Side SNOWSHOEING LENGTH L O C AT I O N Beginner Snowshoe 2 hours Reservations Join a park ranger for a mostly-level snowshoe hike required no to find out how Rocky changes in the winter. Bring more than your own snowshoes and ski poles with large baskets. 7 days in Ages 8 and up only. Dec 27–Feb 28. advance. SUN MON 970 586‑1513 Become a Junior Ranger Junior Rangers have fun discovering the natural world and learning why we need to protect our national parks. We need the help of all our rangers to keep Rocky protected for years to come. Pick up a free Junior Ranger activity booklet at any visitor contact station, discover the park, and become a ranger by earning your badge! 6 Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado There are activity books for kids ages 5 and under, 6–8, and 9 and up. The park’s Junior Ranger Program is funded by the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and is a great way to get kids out exploring and discovering their national park. TUE WED THU FRI 1:30 pm S AT Like to sled? You can at Hidden Valley. Learn more on the next page! NPS PHOTO / ANN SCHONLAU Fresh snow is a beautiful thing, whether on ponderosa pines at lower elevations or craggy rock faces on the highest peaks. NPS PHOTO / HOPE OZOLINS Wildlife are still active in winter. Though their numbers, location, and behaviors shift with the season, there are still sightings to be had. NPS PHOTO / KIM GROSSMAN Winter Program Guide 2019–20 7 To Walden To Granby To Fort Collins 14 34 Colorado River Bowen/Baker 34 Timber Lake Onahu Trail Ridge Road closed from Many Parks Curve to Colorado River Trailhead starting mid-October North 0 0 1 1 2 Old Fall River Road closed Alluvial Fan Lawn Lake Fall River Visitor Center Open some weekends (see front page) Lumpy Ridge ESTES PARK 7 Beaver Meadows Visitor Center 34 36 Upper Beaver Meadows Horseshoe Park Many Parks Curve Moraine Park Glacier Gorge 7 To Glen Haven To Loveland 36 34 To Lyons and Boulder To Nederland 72 To Lyons and Boulder Allenspark Meeker Park Campground Wild Basin Longs Peak Road closed for winter season Unpaved road Overlook R ak e Sprague ar L Lake Be Bierstadt Lake Bear Lake 3 Miles Hollowell Park Cub/Fern Lake Hidden Valley Rainbow Curve at Alluvial Fan 2 3 Kilometers N AT I O N A L PA R K ROCKY MOUNTAIN Green Mountain Kawuneeche Visitor Center East Inlet Tonahutu/North Inlet GRAND LAKE East Shore To reach west side in winter 70 to 40 to 34 d Winter Activity Guide Use this map and guide to plan winter activities and experience this special season. Hidden Valley Snowplay Area Want to sled? Go to the only place in the Status Line 970 586-1333 park it’s allowed: Hidden Valley! No tows are Sled Believe it or not, it’s still possible to hike in win- provided up this fairly gentle hill, so you’ll get a Hike Seeing wildlife in winter is a thrill. Bring your ter. Lower-elevation trails on the park’s east side View Wildlife field guides, binoculars, and cameras. are often free of deep snow. While skis or snowshoes aren’t required, packed fun ride down. up the slope and then enjoy a breather on the workout as you walk your sled, saucer, or tube 33Elk and mule deer are most active at dawn like Horseshoe Park and Moraine Park. snow and ice can be extremely slippery. Stabiliz- and dusk and are usually seen in meadows 33Moose are best found along the Colorado prevent dangerous falls and make your hike safe warming room is available when an attendant Restrooms are available by the parking lot. A er devices and poles are highly recommended to and enjoyable. Stay away from dangerous slopes is present. Stay alert: skiers, snowboarders, and River on the park’s west side. Highway 34/Fall River corridor on the 33Bighorn sheep may be seen along the and snowfields. When in doubt, turn around. own risk. volunteers aren’t always on duty; sled at your snowshoers may pass through. Park rangers and park’s east side. 33Coyotes may be seen any time of day. nutcrackers are some of our year-round birds. 33Black-billed magpies, Steller’s jays, and Clark’s full of fresh, white snow. Cross-country skiing is Picture yourself gliding through a silent forest and snowboarding are not allowed in the Hidden backcountry skiers and snowboarders. (Skiing steep terrain provides many opportunities for For the experienced and well-prepared, Rocky’s Backcountry Ski/Ride Ever thought: I’d like to hike in the winter and a rejuvenating sport that pairs exercise with the Cross-country Ski see the park’s beautiful backcountry, but there’s beauty of nature. Snowshoe all that snow? Consider snowshoeing! with snowshoes. Snowshoes and waterproof can snowshoe. Most park trails can be explored with large baskets are required. Waterproof your skis throughout the park. Skis and poles snow). However, you’re welcome to strap on west side of the park (gentler terrain and deeper In general, cross-country skiing is easier on the an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel, and At a minimum, carry terrain. Check the avalanche forecast at harsh weather. Much of the park is in avalanche Be prepared for variable snow conditions and Valley snowplay area. You may pass through, but boots are essential. While optional, poles help pants or gaiters help keep you warm and dry. Navigating in winter can be extremely difficult. Park trails are not marked Know Where You Are clothing, wear sunglasses, and use sunscreen. cold winds, and changing weather. Layer up with insulated, waterproof Always be prepared for snow, freezing temperatures, short winter days, Stay Safe and stabilizers. including snowshoes, skis, poles, boots, sleds, tubes, saucers, gaiters, You can rent or purchase equipment in Estes Park and Grand Lake, What If I Don’t Have My Own Equipment? them and pass with care. skiers that could result in injury. Let others know when you’re approaching Don’t walk or snowshoe in ski tracks: it creates dangerous conditions for Share the Trail safety is your responsibility. slow down and yield the right of way to sledders.) maintain balance, and waterproof pants or Skiers must be in control at all times and give know how to use them. Be self-reliant. Your No training is necessary—if you can hike, you gaiters help keep you warm and dry. notice when approaching others on the trail. for winter use, and you can’t depend on others’ tracks. Have and know Notes and Tips how to use a topographic map and compass. When used correctly, GPS units can be very helpful. Don’t rely on cell phones; service is unreliable. Avalanches can be easily triggered by backcountry travelers. Educate yourself and stay alert. Wildlife Many amazing animals call Rocky home. To K E E P W I L D L I F E W I L D Never feed or approach wildlife • Keep a safe distance. If you cause an keep them and you safe and comfortable: animal to move or change behavior, • Obey wildlife closure areas and you are too close! Approaching an “no stopping” traffic zones. • Use parking areas along the road. If not available, pull your vehicle completely off the road and do animal puts you at risk and may cause it stress, leading to disease and illness. • Never feed wildlife, including bird

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