Current Trail Conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: May 25, 2023

General Overview of Current Trail Situation in Rocky Mountain National Park

We're now in Rocky Mountain National Park's late spring season. Trails in the lowest elevations in the park will be snow-free, but above 9,000' you can expect most of the trails to still have a lot of snow.

Many of the more popular trails in the park such as those around Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge are likely to be packed down from all of the foot traffic. During the warmer days, this snow can become quite soft and wet. It is recommended that you use of micro-spikes and poles to keep from slipping. Less traveled trails and off-trail hiking above 9,000' will likely require snowshoes or skis, since the snow may still be many feet deep and also very wet.

May 15, 2023 on Trail Ridge Road

Specific trail reports

May 24, 2023

  • Trails in the Bear Lake area still have a lot of snow on them. You'll find sections of trail where the snow has melted, but most trails will be mostly snow-covered.

May 18, 2023

  • The Bierstadt Lake Trail which begins on Bear Lake Road is snow free up to the top of the switchbacks. From there to the lake and around the lake there is still deep wet snow.

May 15, 2023

  • Trail Ridge Road can now be walked on, without traffic, beginning at Rainbow Curve. The road may be closed to pedestrians several miles farther up as the National Park Service continues to work with large equipment at clearing the road. Once the road is opened to traffic, it is no longer ideal for pedestrians as there is almost no shoulder.

May 12, 2023

  • The trail up Flattop Mountain is still covered in deep snow. I used skis to head up. There are a few open patches during the first half mile after leaving Bear Lake, but winter still reigns up high. The trails around Bear Lake are also still heavily snow-covered.
  • The road in Wild Basin is still closed at the winter parking area. This means there is an additional one mile hike to the trailhead along the dirt road. The road is completely snow free and is a very pleasant walk. The first patches of snow appear just after Copeland Falls. When you take the bridge to cross to the other side of stream, then the trail is mostly snow-covered up to Calypso Cascades, microspikes are recommended. Continuing on to Ouzel Falls the trail is completely snow covered and as you get closer to the falls the trail gets very soft and deep, snowshoes are recommended for this last stretch.

The trail beyond Copeland Falls was a bit wet, but still very pleasant. A little ways past this image you will start to encounter patches of snow.

Calypso Cascades Trail - May 12 2023

Just after crossing the North Saint Vrain stream on the Wild Basin Trail, the trail turns to soft snow.

May 10th, 2023

  • The trail to Gem Lake is entirely snow free now.

May 9th, 2023

  • The Bear Lake area is still very snowy. The trail to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake is 95% snow-covered. Microspikes and hiking poles are recommened. Bear Lake is still ice covered, Nymph Lake still has ice, Dream Lake is mostly free of ice, and Emerald Lake still has ice.

May 5th, 2023

  • The trail to The Pool is snow-free, but muddy due to snow run-off.

May 3rd, 2023

  • The Deer Mountain Trail is 95% snow-covered. It is a north-facing slope that is heavily shaded and so will take some time to melt.

April 29th 2023

  • Trails in the Bear Lake area are still deeply covered in snow. They are icy in the morning and soft and slushy later in the day.
  • The Deer Mountain Trail is snow free for the first mile and then as you hit the switchbacks you encounter snow. The snow clears a little later, but once the trail heads over to the north side of the mountain (2.4 miles), you'll be in snow until the summit. The trail is icy in the morning and slushy in the afternoons. If you step off of the main trail, the snow is very deep.
  • Old Fall River Road is free of snow all the way up to Chasm Falls. The Endovalley Road is currently still closed to traffic, so parking is at the West Alluvial Fan. Currently, there is snow beyond Chasm Falls, beginning just at the end of the Chasm Falls parking area. The snow beyond is deep and wet.

April 20, 2023

  • Trails around Bear Lake are still heavily snow covered. Snowshoes recommended on warm days and micro-spikes early or late in the day.
  • Gem Lake Trail - Most of the trail up to Gem Lake is snow free. As you near the top, above Das Boot, you will encounter snow and ice on the trail.
  • Black Canyon Trail - This trail is free of snow until after MacGregor Ranch gate at 2.1 miles.

    Spring Hiking Reminders

    Here are some important things to keep in mind as you head out onto the trails this spring.

    1. Spring is Like Winter

    Spring in the mountains is the snowiest time of year. You can expect to find snow on many of the park's trails through early June. In April and May, you are likely to encounter deep snow on many trails and also snowstorms, so prepare as if you were heading out in the winter.

    2. Dangerous Streams

    During the spring and early summer the melting snow leads to fast running streams in Rocky Mountain National Park. These are much more powerful and dangerous than they look. During this time of year stay away from streams, do not try to cross them without a bridge, and keep children away from them.

    4. Ticks Are Out

    If you hike in the lower meadows during the spring, check yourself for ticks as soon as you come in. The CDC recommends that you put all of your clothing into the dryer on high for 10 minutes and to check your body from head to toe. Learn more here.

    5. Lake Ice is Thin

    Now is the time to avoid walking on the lakes. While they might look solid, they have been melting and will soon turn to open water.

    6. Avalanches Happen in the Spring Too

    From mid-October through mid-June anyone hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing in the mountains should be aware of the potential for avalanches to occur. A good rule of thumb is to avoid being on or immediately below slopes that have an angle of 35-45 degrees and to know the current avalanche forecast before you head out. Be aware that snow can often avalanche on warm sunny days.

    Here's a good introduction to avalanche safety by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. If you plan to spend a lot of time out in the mountains in the winter, consider taking an avalanche training course. Several are offered in Rocky Mountain National Park by groups such as Kent Mountaineering and the Colorado Mountain School.


    7. Always, always, let someone know where you are going, when you plan to return, and who to contact if you don't.

    You can find more safety information for hiking Rocky Mountain National Park at this link.