Snowpack 2019 and Segment 19 Creek Ford

Trail Tip Tuesday – SNOWPACK and SEGMENT 19 CREEK FORD – June 11, 2019. The melt is on! More segments have become passable. The end-to-end CT segments we consider snow passable are Segments 1, 2, 3, 4 (yes 4), 5, 11, 14, 18 and 19. Guessing it will be weeks yet before other segments become easily snow passable.

The June 3-14 weekdays Waterton closure will be over soon.

Shallower place to ford Cochetopa Creek in Segment 19 is shown here.

Shallower place to ford Cochetopa Creek in Segment 19 is shown here.

When traveling CT Segment 19, you’ll have to ford Cochetopa Creek. There is no bridge. The old bridge failed and the USFS has not approved a rebuild. Today Cochetopa Creek is flowing at triple the normal flow. We’re lacking detailed reports of how challenging this ford is right now and there is no telling how deep and fast it will be in coming weeks.

Assess and decide whether to bail (turn around and backtrack) or cross. Do not cross where the old, failed bridge is because the creek is narrow and deep there. Scout for a wide (shallower) place to cross; look upstream from the failed bridge site maybe 0.1 mile for a shallower and suitable place to cross. See the “Guthook” screen shot that shows where one hiker who visits this area repeatedly fords.

If you decide to ford (and we think most CT travelers will) remove your socks and insoles and put your shoes back on for better traction. Unhook sternum and waist straps. Use your trekking poles or makeshift poles from the nearby woods. Face upstream as you cross and try for 3 points of contact at all times. Be safe.

Before you leave, study up on safely fording. Here are some tips, thanks to SectionHiker.

South-bounders who decide not to ford might use the following workaround. Backtrack in Seg 19 to Databook mile 3.8. Diverge the CT here and stay left (go straight) following a ranch-type road north. Ignore side roads and continue mostly straight north for 2-1/2 miles, then turn hard left on Forest Rd 794 also known as County Rd 14DD. (This shows fairly well in both the CT Databook and Guidebook.) Follow this gravel road to its end at Eddiesville Trailhead, the division between CT Segments 19 and 20. This go-around is about 30 miles and chances for hitching are probably slim. You’d miss about 4 miles of the CT.