We know many of you are worried that our trails will open very late, or not at all this year.
Here are the FAQS:
The San Juan Mountain range has received above normal snow accumulation to the tune of 159% above average. Most long time residents have seen winters like this, but the difference is the warmer than normal temperatures have caused considerable avalanche activity. Some of these avalanche paths haven't ran in nearly 30 years which means significant trees and other debris is embedded in the snow, making it more difficult to clear.
Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and Lake City county crews will have to work a little harder than normal to break through some of the snow banks. We currently know that Ouray County is running 2 dozers, Hinsdale has only 1 operating and Silverton has 1 in operation...hopefully 2 by the end of next week. Telluride hasn't begun plowing yet, as...well, they are apparently still taking care of their back country ski runs.
If you encounter someone in a yellow county dozer, PLEASE stop and thank them with a thumbs up! These plow operators have one of the craziest jobs in the country!
To put your mind at ease, we’ve outlined what we expect in terms of anticipated openings based on historical data and County expectations.
Want the good news? The county has cleared a single lane path to just below the Falls. You can drive up to the Ruby Trust intersection, but it is narrow and slushy, so 4wd and caution is required. That said, expect Alaskan like landscapes and tall snowbank. It’s pretty cool!
We don't expect a completely cleared trail to the Falls until around May 27th.
Ouray and San Miguel Counties always shoot for July 3rd as the official opening of Imogene. However, we are now hearing reports that they may not be able to completely clear the summit until after the 4th because of snow depth. Worst case? Enjoy the trail as far as you can go while it’s quietly “not open’ and have a picnic at Yellow Rose Falls!
Ouray County has cleared to the top on the Ridgway side, but USFS officials want the summit to dry out naturally.
OMG! We can’t even begin to explain how awesome this trail is with 15 ft snowbanks on the switchbacks and we can’t wait!! Ouray County will hit this trail as soon as Yankee Boy is cleared to Twin Falls with an estimated opening of the 2nd week of June.
Ouray opens this amazing ‘in and out’ trail in the Red Mountains. Hopefully, the 2nd week of June.
There is less mileage on the Tomboy side, but don’t expect them to send equipment up until the middle of June. Based on reports from their superintendent, the summit may not be fully passable until after July 4th.
Road is clear from the 'Ridgway' side to the intersection of the Placerville exit. This means you can make a loop from the hwy 62 entrance to Placerville 145 junction. Expect a full opening around 1st week of June.
What? Where? This is an enchanting day trip out of Placerville into the wild. You could end up in Dunton Hotsprings later in the summer. Look it up! Good fishing along the way. Probably passable about a mile into the road at this time.
San Miguel has decided not tackle their side right now due to the avalanche danger existing in the upper elevations. We hope they will start clearing some time towards the second week of June.
Generally one of the first trails that San Juan tackles, it is often clear to the summit on the Silverton side by late May or early June. There is avalanche activity on both sides, so we will have to see what crews encounter.
Our information comes from being up on the trails ourselves or updates from those that have been on particular trails in their own vehicles. So, as with any high mountain terrain, be CAUTIOUS! If you start up a trail and you are uncertain, don’t go any farther.
Remember, the adventure lies in exploring the beautiful scenery and seeing what's around the next corner... not just a destination. Take water, layers of warm clothing, and maps. Allow plenty of time.
See where our Jeep Tours go, or discover where you can go on your own in one of our rental Jeeps. Click on trail map below for a specific tour (like Alpine Loop,or Black Bear Pass), and it will take you directly to that tour for a full description and booking information. To page through the maps, click on the little red arrow, right or left side. Although these maps are related to specific tours, you may also rent a Jeep and try it on your own (except for Black Pear Pass.)
Map of Black Bear Pass
Map of Engineer Pass
Map of Corkscrew Gulch
Gift Cards are a wonderful way to treat someone special to an outdoor adventure in Ouray, Colorado! Easy to purchase and give as surprise, gift cards may be used towards any Scenic Tour, Safari, Wedding Adventure or Jeep Rental.