A forest road in winter in Colorado.

Winter travel season begins on the White River National Forest

November 27, 2023

The White River National Forest winter travel season is underway.

During the winter season, all wheeled vehicles, including bikes, are limited to plowed routes to protect snow conditions for winter recreation and to protect road quality.

“These winter regulations are an important part of keeping the White River National Forest a premiere location for winter recreation by helping maintain conditions for activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing,” said Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.

In many areas on the White River National Forest, snowmobile clubs groom roads for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing as a public service using volunteer time and funding from private and partner sources. At the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, user fees pay for trail grooming, plowed parking and user education. Respecting signs and travel restrictions will help protect this investment in maintaining groomed surfaces and winter recreation opportunities.

Snow levels are still relatively low across much of the Forest, including the popular Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area.

“Currently there is not enough snow to begin trail grooming at Vail Pass, so we have not yet started to charge winter fees there,” said Vail Pass Program Lead Anne Gaspar. “We’re discouraging use of tracked vehicles such as snowmobiles off of designated roads until we see a significant increase in snow coverage to help protect the area.”

Winter Motor Vehicle Use Maps identify routes and areas designated for “over the snow” motor vehicle travel, such as snowmobiles. They are free and available at all White River National Forest offices or online.