US forest trails, campgrounds open in Grand County
Ryan Summerlin May 23, 2013
GRANBY – Most campgrounds on the Sulphur Ranger District will be open by Friday, May 24, for Memorial Day Weekend, and with a forecast of warm weather and sunny skies, it should be an ideal time to enjoy the Arapaho National Forest.
Late spring snows and recent rains have left much of the Forest’s road system soggy and mucky, so gates will remain closed across much of the Forest, and seasonal closures are still in place to protect the road surface. According to the ranger district’s Motor Vehicle Use Map, which can be obtained for free at the district office in Granby and most Chamber Visitors Centers, the majority of National Forest roads become available for use around June 15. The lower portions of several roads, including Vasquez, Beaver Creek, Crooked Creek and Kawuneeche may have a few sites available for dispersed camping, although the ground in these areas may still be wet.
The Arapaho National Recreation Area this time of year offers seven developed picnic areas, six campgrounds — all of which are open — fishing piers, boat ramps and trailheads. Lower than average water levels in Lake Granby create expansive beaches where the family can play. Monarch Lake loop is a very popular early season trail and offers a visitors cabin where you can learn more about the history of the area. Portions of that trail, as well as many others on the district, are still snowy and muddy, so if you plan to hike the entire loop be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
Due to the wet conditions, off-highway vehicles are currently restricted from riding on motorized trails and roads until the seasonal closure is lifted. And, while mountain bikes may not be prohibited from various trails, staying on dry trails will help minimize resource damage.
Enjoy a safe holiday and stop by the Sulphur Ranger District Office at 9 Ten Mile Drive in Granby to pick up maps, information about wildlife, souvenirs and books. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays. For more information, call 970-887-4100 or visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/arp.
— Special to the Sky-Hi News