Windblown trees create hiking hazards in Mount Evans Wilderness

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By Sandy Barnes

The Clear Creek Ranger District is advising trail users to use caution when hiking in areas where there are downed trees. Strong winds last winter left thousands of trees down and dangling over trails in the northern Mount Evans Wilderness area.

Sections of trails in Lost Creek, Cub Creek, Beartracks, Summit Flats, Roosevelt Lakes near Beartrack Lake, and Captain Mountain have not been cleared.

In the southwest area of the Upper Bear Creek Basin, an estimated 300 to 400 hundred acres of forest have been flattened, seriously affecting sections of Beartracks and Cub Creek trails. Use of these trails is strongly discouraged.

Visitors who hike these trails do so at their own risk, and must assume responsibility for their own safety. 

Hikers also are asked to stay on the trails. Going around downed trees damages vegetation, encourages soil erosion, and potentially increases sedimentation in streams. If climbing over or around down trees is difficult, trail users are advised to turn around.

Clear Creek Ranger District staff have cleared a significant volume of downed trees in the Mount Evans Wilderness with help from volunteer groups such as the Front Range Backcountry Horsemen, Friends of Mount Evans and Lost Creek, Colorado Mountain Club, and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.

Trails at Chicago Lakes, South Chicago, Hell’s Hole, Beaver Meadows, Indian Creek and Lincoln Lake also have been cleared using crosscut saws and hand tools. Trail work is prioritized according to popularity of the trail and extent of work needed. The most severely impacted trails may not be addressed this year.

For more information regarding trail status in the Clear Creek district, call the visitor center at 303-567-3000.