|Date of Hike
|Description of Conditions Found
|The trail to Dream Lake was packed down. It hasn't iced over yet but traction devices will come in handy. The trail from Dream Lake to Emerald Lake is packed but there are a few areas, due to the wind, that cannot be followed safely. NOTE: ALWAYS BE CAREFUL IF YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW TRACKS. WINDS AND NEW SNOW CAN OBSCURE TRAILS. WINTER TRAILS ARE NOT MARKED IN RMNP AND ROUTE-FINDING SKILLS ARE ADVISED.
|Hidden Falls in Wild Basin
|They skied to Hidden Falls and enjoyed good ski conditions. The road and the trail were well packed with only a few rocks showing through on the early part of the road. Due to the winding nature of the trail beyond the horse hitching rack, skiing beyond that point was quite challenging. There were ice climbers on the falls, but the ice was not fully developed.
|Due to current conditions, traction devices useful but not necessary. Trail was patchy dirt for the first 1½ miles and then snowpacked the remainder of the way (not icy).
|Black Canyon Trail
|The steps on the lower ridge part of the trail continue to have ice so traction devices were useful. Once you reach the meadow, the trail was mostly dry with a few icy patches and some water puddles. Returned via the upper ridge trail that was mostly dry.
|They started out with traction devices and carried snowshoes. Switched to snowshoes about halfway through the hike because of the variety of conditions on this trail. At the start, the trail was icy, packed snow with intermittent bare spots. When they reached the trail cutoff to Lookout Mountain (that trail has not been broken) the trail was consistently snow-covered. Traction devices were good since the trail was snowy, hardpacked, icy crust, and angled due to the uphill slopes in that area. Once they reached the wilderness campsites, they switched to snowshoes. The trail was quite steep in many spots, challenging to navigate (often due to the amount of postholing people had done), especially with the warm temperatures. Once at Sandbeach Lake, a variety of social trails were present. The forest was pretty with quite a bit snow and many animal tracks, but overall the difficult trail conditions made this hike challenging.
|Cross-country skis were used on this trail. The trail from Bear Lake was mostly packed as was the trail all the way to the Flattop junction. After about 1½ to 2 miles the snow was deeper with some drifting. The trail splits into the winter trail (straight) and the summer trail (to the right). Followed the summer trail, but almost immediately encountered a very large drift that had to be navigated around. They strongly recommend this route. Also be aware of the avalanche danger as you would cross a couple steep slopes.
|Longs Peak trailhead to Eugenia Mine
|Traction devices were adequate for the entirety of this winter hike. Longs Peak trail was hardpacked to the Eugenia Mines cut-off. From there, the trail was obvious although not heavily traveled.
Timber Lake Trail Be advised a landslide occurred in June 2023 approximately 1 mile up the trail. Another landslide occurred summer 2014 two miles beyond the Timber Lake trailhead and goes all the way to the top of Jackstraw Mountain. That landslide is still there and continues to worsen each year. Both landslides are active and unstable.
Plan Ahead and Be Prepared
Any time of year, and affected by season, elevation, slope, and exposure, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) can have extreme weather. In RMNP, all four seasons can happen in one day! Plan ahead and be prepared for weather to change rapidly.
Any Time of Year: Choose Your Destination Wisely. Always tell someone where you are going, where you will be parked, what your intended route is, when you plan to be back home, and then let them know when you return.
Lakes Always proceed with caution around icy lakes, especially around inlets, outlets, and rocks, where the ice can be thin.
Route-finding is important. RMNP trails are not marked in winter and following other tracks is not advised, as you don’t know where they lead, and wind and new snow obliterate tracks. When trails are covered in snow, signs may not be visible. Carry a map and compass or GPS and know how to use them.
Be Prepared for Conditions with Essentials. It is important to bring and use the right gear, especially suitable gear for the season.Plan that trails can be snowy much of the year. Depending on conditions and elevation, some trails can be icy and snowy September through midsummer. Do you have the right gear and equipment, and know how to use it?
- Traction devices for the bottom of your boots and hiking poles are strongly recommended, as trails may be icy. Or depending on conditions after snowstorms or at higher elevations, the snow may be deep enough that snowshoes are advised. Hiking poles are helpful for stability.
- Food and water are essential no matter how long your hike.
- Layers of wicking clothing and extra socks.
- Waterproof outer layers and extra layers for warmth; in summer, raingear.
- A hat and gloves, sunglasses or goggles, and sunscreen any time of year. Sunlight can damage your eyes and skin, even on cloudy days. Protect your eyes from the sun and blowing snow
- Wear closed-toed footwear with a treaded sole for hiking. Slick-soled shoes without good traction (ex. sneakers), sandals, flip flops, plastic clogs) can lead to cold toes, wet feet, slips, trips and falls.
Fire Impacts Approximately 30,000 acres or 10 percent of RMNP has been impacted by the East Troublesome and Cameron Peak Fires. Some park trails remain temporarily closed due to the level of fire impacts and ongoing safety assessments. This website is updated as trails reopen. Please see the link above.
REMEMBER, PETS ARE PROHIBITED ON ALL RMNP TRAILS, TUNDRA AND MEADOW AREAS
There are several SNOTEL sites in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides a website where monitoring results are available.
SNOTEL Website: https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum= and every SNOTEL site has a unique Site Number. For example, Bear Lake is https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=322
Bear Lake (Site #322)
Long Draw Reservoir (Site #1123)
Stillwater Creek (Site #793)
Copeland Lake (Site #412)
Never Summer (Site #1031)
Wild Basin (Site #1042)
Lake Irene (Site #565)
Phantom Valley (Site #688)
Willow Park (Site #870)
Submit Your Own Trip Report
Send us an email, call (970) 586-1206, or stop by a park visitor center.
These Trail Conditions reports are the viewpoints of the submitters, whether park staff, volunteers, or visitors. Conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. Use these reports only as guidelines. Be prepared for varying weather and trail conditions.
Falling trees are ever-present hazards when traveling in the forest. Be aware of your surroundings. Dead trees can fall without warning!
Due to the September 2013 Flood, missing foot bridges, uneven trail surfaces, unstable slopes, falling trees due to soil moisture, rutted trails, damaged water bars and steps, standing water, difficult water crossings, and missing directional signs could be encountered. Most of Rocky Mountain National Park is designated wilderness, where self-reliance and adventure are expected. Hikers should be prepared to take responsibility for their own actions; search and rescue may be delayed. Be prepared to stay overnight even if you are a day hiker. Hiking poles may be helpful on uneven trails. Route finding skills may be required. Carry a map and compass and other backcountry travel essentials. Hike at your own risk.