Thursday, May 22, 2014

High-elevation roads, campgrounds may be closed for Memorial Day; check snow level before you go

Riding to Kirkwood or Pittsburg Landing would be a good call this weekend ...
See this page for more information ... 
Typical scenario that you may encounter this weekend on high-elevation forest roads. 
Don't get stuck out there - you might end up with a costly towing bill. 
Fire closure area in the Ketchum Ranger District. (Click to enlarge)
Fire closure areas in Mountain Home Ranger District. (Click to enlarge)
Hi all,

Many trails, roads and campgrounds are open for Memorial Day at elevations below 6,500 to 7,000 feet in the southern Idaho, but the higher-elevation locations are likely to be covered with snow, according to national forest officials. Most camping locations, trails and roads should be open on Bureau of Land Management locations throughout southern Idaho because they are at lower-elevations.

In North Idaho, the snowmelt is going slower. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest reported snow levels are at 3,500 to 5,000 feet in the Powell and Lochsa ranger district areas, and the Panhandle National Forests report snow levels at approximately 4,500 feet.

Here's a roundup of trail conditions from the Idaho's national forests ...

Boise National Forest - Visitors will experience deeper snow conditions on Memorial Day weekend compared with previous years. Water levels in rivers and streams are beginning to rise with the warmer spring temperatures although the snow melt has been slow. Most trails, roads and campgrounds will be open within the national forest with the exception of those above 6,000 feet.

“It is easy to think you can keep driving once you reach the snow line, but that snow typically just gets deeper,” said David Olson, Boise National Forest Public Affairs Officer. “Forest roads are not plowed and persons getting stuck have the strong potential for expensive tows or long walks to get help.”

Here's a link to the Boise road, trail and camping condition report

Payette National Forest - Snow levels are at about 6,500 feet. North of Payette Lake, you can reach Upper Payette Lake but Secesh Summit is closed by more than 2 feet of snow. That means you can't reach Burgdorf Hot Springs without a snowmmobile or skis. Lick Creek Road is closed by snow. Hazard Lake is not accessible either. Call local ranger districts for more information.

Sawtooth National ForestThe Sawtooth National Forest encourages everyone to get out this Memorial Day weekend and enjoy your National Forest. People planning on recreating on the Sawtooth National Forest over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend will find a number of facilities open and operating, however, due to the lingering snowpack at the higher elevations, a number of roads and trails will be closed.
Snow levels are hovering at about 6,900 feet, depending on slope aspect.

We would like to remind visitors to avoid driving or riding on muddy roads and trails to avoid damaging the running surface. Please check with your local Forest Service office for current road and trail conditions.
Here's the link to the Sawtooth condition report

Caribou-Targhee National ForestSpringtime brings spectacular wildflowers, scenic drives, camping and long hikes.  Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the camping and recreating season in this part of the world. Before traveling to the forest, officials remind visitors to keep in mind the following information.
This year, the forest road and trail maintenance funds are still less than average compared to previous years.  Road maintenance will be improved over last but less than what we have experienced in the past.  The condition forest roads are in during springtime may very well be the condition they remain in all summer.

Please be aware of muddy conditions and do not travel in areas where the conditions are so muddy that ruts are created by your motor vehicles whether it is a bike or a car.  Do not drive around snowdrifts crossing the roads.

Here's a link to the Caribou-Targhee condition report

Salmon-Challis National Forest - Snow levels are at approximately 5,500 feet. The news release put out by the Salmon-Challis is about general camping information. Call ranger districts for more specific information. More information here

Nez Perce-Clearwater National ForestSnow-laden landscapes are giving way to green grass and wildflowers – a sure sign that spring has finally arrived. An early season getaway to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is the perfect way to celebrate the long Memorial Day Weekend. 

Snow levels are much lower than in southern Idaho - 4,000 to 5,000 feet in the Lochsa and Selway river areas. The Lolo Motorway, also known as the #500 Road, will not open until late June, forest officials said. 

Here's a link to the Nez Perce-Clearwater condition report

Panhandle National Forests - Snow level is at approximately 4,500 feet and up. Most campgrounds are open. High-elevations would be questionable. Low-elevation trails should be fine. Contact local ranger districts for site-specific conditions.  

See our Where to Ride page for specific ride ideas this weekend. See also Idaho Park & Recreation's interactive statewide trail map for researching trails, roads and loop rides.  

Ride safe and have fun! 

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