Rocky Mountain National Park Warns Hikers of Wintry Trail Conditions

by Amy Myers
Photo by Kevin Moloney/Getty Images

As temperatures begin to drop significantly and snow finds its way into the forecast, Rocky Mountain National Park has advised visitors to be prepared for wintry conditions to affect their stay. Earlier today, the park posted an update on social media, warning of the snow-and-ice-laden trails. In fact, officials reported that all of the trails are “snowpacked and icy.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the park is unavailable to visitors. Rather, the national park hopes that hikers will stock up on the proper equipment to keep them safe, warm and dry before entering the gates. In its post on Instagram, the park gave a few tips for backcountry gear.

“For safe winter hiking, use traction devices that attach to the bottom of your boots to help give you traction and help prevent slips and falls,” the caption read. “Using hiking poles are also strongly advised. On higher elevation trails with deeper levels of snow, snowshoes may be needed.”

It’s likely that plow trucks have already re-cleared major roads. However, snow tires and chains are a valuable addition to have just in case you encounter any remaining snowfall or areas the trucks have yet to reach.

Just two days before the most recent update, Rocky Mountain National Park also posted a photo from the front seat of a plow. Evidently, crews were already hard at work clearing the winding, narrow roads. Just as with the trails, the national park warned visitors of the possible precarious conditions.

“Watch your speed and slow down when driving in inclement weather,” Rocky Mountain National Park reminded its followers.

Rocky Mountain National Park Gives Tips for Safe Traveling on Snowy Roads

In addition to obeying road rules, the park also stressed that motorists keep their distance from snow plows.

“For your safety and the safety of others, give snowplows plenty of room to safety operate,” the post read. “Never pass a snowplow unless there is a safe passing lane. Keep back at least 200 feet and stay back far enough that you can see both mirrors on snowplows, trucks, and other heavy equipment.”

Other Rocky Mountain National Park winter traveling tips included:

  • Giving snow plows plenty of room from the opposite lane of traffic and staying away from the centerline
  • Avoiding passing plows, even ones that are stopped, unless otherwise directed
  • Giving snow plowers space to work while outside of their vehicle

The park also clarified personal vehicle requirements for traveling during a significant winter weather event:

“When Colorado Traction Control Law is active in RMNP, this means that all vehicles (including 4-Wheel Drive, All-Wheel Drive, and 2-Wheel Drive) must have properly rated tires (Mud and Snow, Mountain and Snow or All-Weather Tires) with a minimum of 3/16″ tread. If you have improperly rated tires on your vehicle, then you must use an approved traction control device. These may include snow chains, cables, tire/snow socks, or studded tires.”