Winter Trail Condition Report - Last 180 Days

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Hiking, climbing, and many outdoor activities can be dangerous and can result in injury. Additionally, trail conditions may change from day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. This website does not represent to the accuracy of any information contained herein. Please use the information contained on this website at your own risk and do not depend on the information contained on this website for personal safety or for determining whether to attempt any hike, climb, route or other outdoor activity.

Show past 14 days - Show past 28 days (1 month) - Show past 180 days (6 months)
Date_Hiked Trailhead Start Trailhead Elevation Trail Destinations Trail Condition Trail Information
01-19-2021 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 Devils Thumb Bypass Trail
Woodland Lake Trail (Devils Thumb jct to Woodland lake)
Woodland Lake Trail (Woodland Lake to Skyscraper)
Woodland Lake
Skyscraper Reservoir
Mostly Snow Packed Hessie TH predawn: overcast, light snow, 10F, calm. Trail to Devil's Thumb Cutoff is mixed packed snow with intermittent thin/rocky places to beware of if skiing. Boots will get you this far or to Lost Lake, but a traction device would be welcomed. Skinned up Devil's Thumb Cutoff and found good snow to ski. Snowfall stopped mid-morning leaving a fresh inch ontop of recent snowfall and base. The Woodland Lake Trail is deep and upbroken. Made it above Skyscraper Lake and turned back. Snow was becoming soft and wet in what turned into a bluebird day; all sun and just a whisper of a west breeze. Rollerballs forming on south aspects. Snow was more firm on trails in trees and a fun ride out down Woodland and Devil's Thumb. Carried skis a few times last mile before TH as sun had done its job on the fresh snow.
01-19-2021 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Brainard Lake
Waldrop (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed The Waldrop trail is nicely snow packed all the way to Brainard lake. You do not need snowshoes at this time but tracks are highly recommended.
01-18-2021 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Snowshoe Trail (Winter Only)
Completely Snow Covered At Brainard the snow conditions on the road and trails are just okay. Some rocks exposed and ice in places. Traction devices recommended: Skis, snowshoes, spikes.
01-15-2021 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 Devils Thumb Trail (Hessie to Diamond Lake Trail Jct)
Mostly Snow Packed Trail is snow packed with some drifts. Traction devices required but snow shoes are not necessary.
01-10-2021 Camp Dick/Peaceful Valley 8,600 Beaver Creek Trail (Coney Flats TH to Buchanan Pass Trail)
Buchanan Pass Trail (Wilderness edge to Red Deer Lake jct)
Buchanan Pass Trail (Red Deer Lake jct to Beaver Creek Tr jct)
Buchanan Pass Trail (Trail head to Wilderness Sign at Middle St. Vrain 4x4 Road)
Buchanan Pass Trail (Wilderness Sign to Wilderness Boundary)
Mostly Snow Packed Predawn at Beaver Res TH: overcast, 10F, W breeze. 4WD road to Coney Flats had a few fresh inches over a base that was mostly passable but had regular thin spots; skiable but boots, snowshoes or traction devices would get you there too. Trails west into the Wilderness have good snow coverage but are unbroken. Navigation skills required as trails are lost in deep snow and drifts. Skied out Buchanan Pass Trail to Wilderness boundary where the trail was discernable on the valley floor and a fun ride. The ~4 miles from the Wilderness sign by the 4WD road to the bridge at the bottom above Camp Dick was mixed; some fun rides and a lot of rocks to dodge or scrape, along with a few carries. Sourdough Trail back up to Beaver Res was likewise mixed. Sunny, daytime high mid-20s, breezy up high. Mostly a great day, but if my skis weren't rock skis before, I believe they were turned into that today.
01-09-2021 Rainbow Lakes 10,010 Sourdough Trail - South (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed Mostly snow packed but with several areas with roots and rocks showing -- skiing not recommended, but ok for snowshoes or traction devices.
01-06-2021 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Snowshoe Trail (Winter Only)
Waldrop (Winter Only)
Niwot Cutoff Trail (Winter Only)
St Vrain Trail - South (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed Snow conditions from the Waldrop trail to the end of the Brainard cutoff trail are mostly snow packed with patches of bare ground. Snowshoes, skis or ice cleats recommended from Winter parking to west side of Brainard lake. Snowshoes or skis strongly advised for the Niwot cutoff trail trail or Long Lake trail due to deeper snow and big drifts.
01-06-2021 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Jean Luning Trail
Pawnee Pass Trail (Long Lake TH to Lake Isabelle)
Mitchell Lake Trail (TH to Mitchell Lake)
Long Lake
Mitchell Lake
Brainard Lake
St Vrain Trail - South (Winter Only)
Sourdough Trail - North (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed Predawn at Brainard winter lot: 10F, clear starry sky, breezy. Skied north on Sourdough Trail. Conditions mostly snow-covered with periodic rocks to dodge. Skinned west up S St Vrain Trail where conditions improved; better snow coverage and few rocks. Mitchell Lake Trail has additional fresh snow from last 12-36 hours, 2-4" at 10,000', 6"+ above Mitchell Lake with regular drifts obscuring the trail. Occasional collapsing in snow layers around meadows indicates a potential for instability, use caution on slopes. Daytime high 20F, sunny, windy near treeline. Skied around Long Lake, Pawnee Trail to Jean Lunning. Both trails good for skiing but trail breaking required due to recent snow and drifting. Brainard Road from Long Lake TH to Winter TH is mixed snow-packed and wind-scoured. Some fast and fun sections along with some scraping and carrying. A very nice day. Skis or snowshoes required on trails. The road can be negotiated with any device; boots, skis, snowshoes, spikes or bike.
01-05-2021 East Portal 9,211 So Boulder Creek Trail (Crater Lakes Trail Jct to Rogers Pass)
Mostly Snow Packed We were on skis the whole patrol. The higher you go, the better the snow! A few rocks in the trail but good coverage. Off the trail, lots of obstacles lurking just below the surface.
01-02-2021 Rainbow Lakes 10,010 Sourdough Trail - South (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed Hiked out to Peace Bridge and back. Trail is mainly packed snow but with numerous sections showing roots, rocks and even bare ground. Would NOT recommend skiing this trail at this time. For hiking, boots with traction devices are recommended.
01-01-2021 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 Devils Thumb Trail (Hessie to Diamond Lake Trail Jct)
Completely Snow Covered Trail in snow packed. Snow shoes not required but traction devices useful. The 4 wheel drive road from the road to the bridge is unsafe for cars due to thin ice and water below. Two 4 wheel drive vehicles became trapped and required to be towed out
12-29-2020 East Portal 9,211 So Boulder Creek Trail (TH to Forest Lakes Junction jct)
So Boulder Creek Trail (Crater Lakes Trail Jct to Rogers Pass)
Rogers Pass Lake
Heart Lake
Completely Snow Covered The entire trail from East Portal TH to Heart Lake is snow-packed and in great condition. 3-4" fresh last 24 hours at the trailhead and 6-8" up high. Skis or snowshoes are required to get very far. Additional snowfall throughout the day, steady and accumulating. Avi danger is "considerable" at all levels but no recent activity was observed as visibility was limited. Windy, patchy blowing snow near and above treeline. A great ski out. The parking lot was unpleasant; very windy. Backcountry ski season is finally in place; have fun and be safe.
12-19-2020 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 King Lake Trail (Devils Thumb trail jct to King Lake)
King Lake
Mostly Snow Packed Very windy day with west winds increasing through the morning. Skied from Hessie to King Lake Trail. Conditions variable to start; first mile was more carry than ski, improving to King Lake Trail junction, but still wind-scoured sections to carry over. Conditions much better up King Lake Trail, all skiing but a few thin sections required caution. Pretty good above 10,000' and deep by 11,000'. Ski out was fun even with some scraping. Knock ya down windy up top!
12-18-2020 East Portal 9,211 Forest Lakes Trail (TH to midway to Forest Lakes)
Completely Snow Covered We traveled up the Forest Lakes winter ski trail to a point about 3 miles from the trailhead. The snow is getting better, but there are still exposed rocks and if you go up there on a day like today when there was fresh snow those rocks will be hidden until your skis find them. Because of that, we were on snowshoes today. Maybe skis next time.
12-16-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Long Lake
Snowshoe Trail (Winter Only)
Niwot Cutoff Trail (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed The trails are mostly snow covered. However, recent high winds have scoured many sections of the snowshoe and ski trails exposing rocks, logs, stumps, ice, and the ground. Snowpack in the Brainard Lake area is about 60 percent of normal for this time of year. As a result skiing conditions are a bit sketchy in places. Even up near Long Lake, sections of the trail were completely bare.
12-14-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Mt Audubon Trail (hiked a portion of the trail)
St Vrain Trail - South (Winter Only)
Sourdough Trail - North (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed All trails traveled were in good condition, mostly snow-packed with intervals of thin, rocky sections. Many nice stretches of snowy trail that made skiing worthwhile today (if you are comfortable with regular carries and occasional scraping). A few more inches would be welcome, but it was great to back on skis. N Sourdough out of Brainard Winter TH was good to start, but I carried most of the way down to the bridge (too many rocks). The skin up S St Vrain trail to Mitchel Lake TH was great, mostly snow-packed. The climb up Beaver Creek Trail to the Audubon junction was good to start but was a carry near treeline. The ski out on Beaver Creek and Brainard Road offered some fun downhill stretches with more breaks to carry or scrape. General recap is better snow-pack in trees, and the road is more wind-scoured, but both offer fun sections. All modes of travel worked today and were represented; skis, snowshoes, boots, spikes and bikes.
12-13-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 CMC Trail (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed The trails are mostly snow covered, but there are still rocks and logs exposed in a few places, particularly in wind swept areas. The Brainard Lake Road is snow packed from the entrance station to the Pawnee Campground.
12-08-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Long Lake
Lake Isabelle
Snowshoe Trail (Winter Only)
Snow Packed in Places The Snowshoe and the Lake Isabelle trails is mostly snow packed with icy spots, a traction device is advised.
12-07-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 Mitchell Lake Trail (TH to Mitchell Lake)
Mitchell Lake
Waldrop (Winter Only)
St Vrain Trail - South (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed The weather was perfect! The trail is mostly snow covered but packed down enough for regular boots. Snowshoes are not necessary. However some spots were icy and could be slick so spikes are recommended. The trail to Mitchell lake is well established but there are a few downed trees to go over.
12-06-2020 East Portal 9,211 So Boulder Creek Trail (Crater Lakes Trail Jct to Rogers Pass)
Completely Snow Covered Trail is snow packed the whole way. There are a couple of sections in the first mile with glare ice. Two larger trees down that require ducking underneath -- one before the Crater Lakes Junction, and one about 3.5 miles in. Right now, you can either use traction devices or snowshoes to walk on trail. For skiers, there are several sections with thin coverage and rocks poking through. Use caution and would advise using "rock" skis.
12-05-2020 Camp Dick/Peaceful Valley 8,600 St Vrain Mountain Trail (Buchanan Pass tr jct to St Vrain mtn vicinity
Buchanan Pass Trail (Trail head to Wilderness Sign at Middle St. Vrain 4x4 Road)
Buchanan Pass Trail (Wilderness Sign to Wilderness Boundary)
St. Vrain Mtn.
Mostly Snow Packed Winter gate closed. Raod to Camp Dick is snow-packed/icy with sections of bare road. Traction device helpful. 2 skiers were willing to give it a shot, but lots of on/off. Buchanan Pass Trail to Wilderness sign is in good condition, mostly packed snow, again with some skiable sections if one is comfortable with periodic rocks and bare spots. Clear and sunny day, 40F, west wind 5-10. More snow into the wilderness. Headed up St Vrain trail at wilderness boundary; slow going, more snow than anticipated, 8-12" in trees. Snowshoes might have helped. Turned back at 11,000'. Lots of fresh moose signs through much of day's tour.
12-05-2020 East Portal 9,211 So Boulder Creek Trail (TH to Forest Lakes Junction jct)
Mostly Snow Packed We only hiked the trail about 1 mile up to the Forest Lakes Trail junction. The snow was hard packed and could be walked on with just boots without doing any damage to the trail surface. There are a lot of rocks on the trail, so don't use your good skis until we get another good storm. As you go higher on either trail from the junction, the trails will be less packed and the snow softer. Flotation (skis or snow shoes) advised. This will help prevent skier injury which could result if they caught the tip of a ski in trail surface damage caused by a hiker not using flotation.
11-28-2020 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 Devils Thumb Trail (Hessie to Diamond Lake Trail Jct)
Devils Thumb Bypass Trail
Lost Lake
Mostly Snow Packed Mostly snowpacked, passable for boot traffic but traction devices preferable. A few skiers were out and some sections looked good into the wilderness, but there is still a lot of thin, bare and rocky sections, so be prepared to carry if you aim to ski. Tempting! Bluebird day, don't forget your sunscreen.
11-28-2020 Brainard Lake Recreation Area 10,525 St Vrain Trail - South (Winter Only)
Sourdough Trail - North (Winter Only)
Mostly Snow Packed Sourdough trail, South St. Vrain and Brainard Lake cutoff trails are snow packed with exposed rocks. Not recommended for skis. Brainard Lake road is mostly clear of snow.
11-22-2020 Hessie Trailhead 9,000 Devils Thumb Trail (Hessie to Diamond Lake Trail Jct)
Devils Thumb Bypass Trail
Devils Thumb Trail (Diamond Lake jct to Jasper Lake)
Jasper Lake
Storm Lake
Upper Storm Lake
Mostly Snow Packed Trail out of Hessie for the first 2 miles is mixed dry and packed snow. Spots exposed to sun are dry, shaded sections and packed and icy. Traction device advisable to get into Wilderness. Some snow into Wilderness but not enough to ski. Draws above Jasper hold snow and snowshoes required. Above that and into the alpine past Storm Lake was mostly wind-scoured. A beautiful, sun-drenched, bluebird day with almost no wind. A few hikers were able to get to Jasper Lake sans-traction devices, but I had a number of near slip and falls when I removed mine too soon.