Looking Forward: The CT Season and Coronavirus

Posted March 31, 2020 –

Storm Clouds on The Colorado Trail Collegiate West near Cottonwood Pass. Photo Dean Krakel

Storm Clouds on The Colorado Trail Collegiate West near Cottonwood Pass. Photo Dean Krakel

March is turning to April and there are many coronavirus restrictions now in place. The Colorado Trail season – chiefly July, August and September – is still a bit distant. So, what does this all mean for CT distance-trip planners? Here at The Colorado Trail Foundation, we don’t have the answer. But below are some things they might want to consider.

Colorado’s governor has issued a “stay-at-home order,” and while encouraging folks to get outdoors, he has discouraged driving any distance to reach recreation areas. To us, this seems to affect the entire CT and all users except those who live along the Trail.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have told news media that, as time allows, they’ll be closing developed trailheads and camping facilities in the Colorado mountains.

At least two counties the CT passes through, San Juan and Gunnison, have closed recreation areas, including trails to non-locals to help their small mountain communities avoid risks from visitors. Federal land managers often go along with these orders, but it’s difficult to determine what all this entails. Still, the spirit of these orders seems clear to us: to keep people out.

As many of you already know, the first 6.7 miles of The Colorado Trail through Waterton Canyon are closed for the foreseeable future. Even though there are good alternative access trails, in this virus climate closures like this seem to lead to others.

How long will these restrictions be in place? Will travelers be allowed on the CT in July, August and September? We think it’s anybody’s guess.

We have some helpful suggestions, though.

  • Stay healthy. (Trim your virus-related risks if you can.)
  • Remain active. (Keep moving.)
  • Monitor the virus restrictions in coming weeks. (This blog at ColoradoTrail.org can help.)
  • Reassess your trip plans.