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Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Orlando, FL
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Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Hello,

Piecing together a trip for the end of the month. Will be starting in Grand Junction spending an afternoon, night, morning in Colorado National Monument. Then spending the afternoon driving on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, probably spending the next night in Vail. The rest of the trip will be spent in Rocky Mountain NP, but I have very little idea of what to expect. Every other time I've been, has been August-October, with some minimal snowfall in October.

My question is, what should I expect as far as snow on the trails, what is my elevation limit expected to be historically for that weekend, any other advice, etc etc. I've been denied twice now of doing the CCY (Chapin, Chaquita, Ypsilon) hike because of snow and/or road closures, but I'm thinking at 13,000 feet, there's probably still a lot of snow up there. We'd also considered doing Chasm Lake, but there is a picture of it from a couple of days ago on the NP website, and it's completely frozen and covered in snow. I'm just not used to going this time of year I guess. :-)

I'm 100% ok to snowshoe on these hikes as needed, but I don't know the trails well enough to route-find. Are they/will they be trafficked enough to follow along by that weekend?

Any other suggestions for our weekend are welcome, not just in ROMO. Thanks!

Colorado
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1. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

I won't be much help but I'd keep an eye on the weather. There is the chance of a big snow this week. From our local news

KUSA - A late spring storm may bring more than a foot of snow to parts of the Front Range Tuesday night and Wednesday. Denver could see rain, snow or a rain/snow mix.

After a warm, dry Mother's Day, forecasters are now looking at a Pacific storm system that will bring rain and snow to the Front Range and northern mountains Tuesday and Wednesday.

9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio says this is a warm snow so it may affect trees, plants and power lines. It is too warm for any significant road problems at lower elevations, but the mountains could see snowpacked roads and icy conditions.

Snow will begin Wednesday morning, and the area could get from 6 to 10 inches of snowfall. There may not be significant accumulation on the ground.

For areas above 6,000 feet, from Douglas County to Monument Hill and all of the Front Range Mountains and Foothills, 1 to 2 feet of snow is likely.

In northern Larimer and Weld Counties, and southern Wyoming, some areas may have more than 3 feet of new snow by late Wednesday evening.

As the storm moves closer, these numbers could change.

www.9news.com/news/article.aspx…

Colorado
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2. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Heard on the news that Estes got 15" of snow yesterday. Supposed to warm up this weekend, but I'd plan on hiking in snow up high. Hopefully this is the last of the snow.

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3. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Our 6th graders do an annual Eco Week trip to the YMCA in Estes for hiking and other outdoor activities. They were to leave today, but it was canceled due to the weather. I think they got quite a bit of snow up there. We got several inches down here on the Front Range, along with lots of rain. And, it is snowing again tonight. Our foothills appeared to have a lot of snow on them today and we could not even see Long's Peak.

It is supposed to be in the 70's and maybe even 80 by next week down here, but I'm sure it will be a while before all of that snow melts at the high elevations. Plus, they may still get another snow or two.

Denver, CO
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4. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

This Spring's been crazy. We're getting snow in Denver in mid-May, and they're getting foot+ in the mountains. I would expect it to melt soon, but with the craziness of the Spring weather, can't tell you much for certain.

Sorry. :(

Arvada, Colorado
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5. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Be prepared for snow without a doubt. We did Lawn Lake last year in July I think - and the last part was very snowy. I would imagine Yipsilon would be about the same (that is a great hike - although very long and in snowshoes might be a lot of work!).

Most of the trails are pretty well marked. It's always a good idea to check with the Ranger station regarding trail conditions. They can give you pretty exact info.

At any rate, prepared for muddy conditions as well. If there is good snow melt, it's going to be a mess.

Orlando, FL
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6. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Thanks for all the info so far. This historical information from skiracermom is very appreciated as well. Again, as I have never visited during this time of year, I don't really know what to expect at the higher elevations.

In addition to anyone who wants to chime in on my original questions, what elevation is typically where the snow gets heavy in May? And what exactly does "heavy" mean? I'm less worried about myself and more concerned for the less... technical folks in my party. :)

I just want to manage their expectations as we are planning.

Arvada, Colorado
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7. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Probably the best source for asking that question is those who are up there right now:

www.nps.gov/romo/information_office.htm

I would give them a call and ask as the answer to that question can really vary year to year.

And while not up to date as of the last storm, I'd keep an eye on this page:

nps.gov/romo/…trail_conditions.htm

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8. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

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9. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

Just another quick update -- we are getting more snow again tonight down here on the front range. It won't stick, but it is snowing and I'm sure they are getting more up in RMNP.

Also, I'm originally from the Gulf Coast and my first trip ever out here was a few decades ago for my honeymoon to RMNP. We came in mid-June and wanted to do some hiking at the higher elevations and were told we needed snow shoes unless we came "in the summer"! Being from the South, we thought mid-June was the "summer", but they explained that at higher elevations "summer" is July and August, and sometimes just August.

Estes Park, CO
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10. Re: Spending 5 days over Memorial Day, need hiking/snow advice

You can count on enough snow to need snowshoes on both CCY and Chasm Lake. In the more exposed areas of those hikes there will probably be bare spots but in the sheltered and shady areas there will be a lot of snow left. We did have a foot of snow in town just the other day and have been having rain the last 2 days which means snow up high. Most likely every hike above 8500 feet will require snowshoes or at least a traction device like yaktrax or microspikes. As far as route finding goes you will want to be careful above treeline because of avalanche danger. Check with Rocky Mountain National Park for current avalanche conditions.