This is a sensitive time for our neighboring elk herds in the valley. Please respect all trail closures. Elk show a strong fidelity to the calving area in Burnt Mountain, from Snowmass Village to Buttermilk and a number of other areas that we share.
Here is a quick rundown of what is still closed and a few options for what is open.
Annual Closure Dates for some Snowmass Village Trails:
April 25 – June 21, (open on June 22nd)
Government Trail (portions)
Sky Mountain Park, North Rim and Seven Star Open May 16
Also of note: Glassier Open Space in the Mid-Valley opens May 16th. (Lower Buckhorn, Buckhorn Traverse and the rest of the Crown is good to go as of April 16th)
Open Trails During this Time Period:
Highline / Lowline
Rim Trail South (Mtn View to Sinclair)
Stark’s Trail to Powerline Trail
Elk Camp Work Road & Sam’s Knob
Stairway to Heaven
The number of calves born annually has decreased significantly. Numerous biological studies date back to 1974 to support the area closure for elk calving. In addition, wildlife cameras show deer fawns, bear cubs, moose and mountain lion. As trail & public land supporters, please help us protect the sanctuary in your back yard.
Ducking ropes in sensitive wildlife areas is not a good idea.
“We are lucky enough to have a wildlife presence in our own backyard that rivals national parks,” Laurie Smith, Snowmass Village animal services officer, said in a statement. “Protecting these species is so important that all four entities that manage our integrated trail system are working together to improve trail signage and public information on the seasonal closures.”
Wildlife monitoring cameras in 2017 revealed multiple closure violations by trail users, according to a statement from the town of Snowmass Village.
All violators were identified and cited. Stress and disturbance from humans can lead to abandonment of this critical habitat. Cow elk are recovering from winter and need to forage and nurse without disruption.
“It’s up to all of us — mountain bikers, hikers, or dog walkers — to respect these constraints to allow our local wildlife population to thrive,” Smith said.
The public is advised to honor closure gates and signs. Violators will be fined between $50 and $5,000
Please call Snowmass Village Animal Services at (970) 923-5330 with any questions or to report trail poachers.