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Posted June 30, 2020 –

Snowpack 2020 … All Passable as of June 30

  • (Summary: Entire CT including the Collegiate West is ‘Snowpack Passable.’ Read details below.)

PASSABLE! Snowpack-wise, this means you can get through whatever snow is left without it being overly arduous or unsafe.

HOW MUCH SNOW REMAINS? It is hard telling at this time of year how much snow is still on all the different portions of The Colorado Trail. The widely varying elevations, 5,522 to 13,271 feet above sea level, play a huge role as does the aspect of each hillside and tree shading. This 2020 winter and spring deposited near-average snowpack, a little deeper than average on roughly the north half of the CT and a little less than average along the southern half. But May and June temperatures were warm, so the snow melted faster than normal.

User reports are the best source of snowpack information and we have been closely monitoring what trail travelers have said so that we can report to you. This is imperfect but the best approach we know.

We use the term “PASSABLE” to mean whatever snowpack remains is NOT OVERLY ARDUOUS OR UNSAFE due to slipping, post-holing and navigation challenges, etc. In other words, remaining snowpack has diminished to enable fairly easy distance hiking. We have learned that trail travelers vary a lot in their willingness to hassle with snowpack. Some are okay with miles of snow struggle and the fact that it slows them down and tires them out. Others don’t want any part of it including many who have experienced the challenge of Colorado spring snowpack before. We use the term “IMPASSABLE” to mean, due to remaining snowpack, many CT distance travelers won’t want to go yet.

  • (Summary: Entire CT including the Collegiate West is ‘Snowpack Passable’)
  • Segs 1-4 Passable
  • Seg 5 Passable (volunteer trail clearing work here has begun on the numerous blow-down trees blocking the trail, Seg 5, mi 3-6)
  • Segs 6-15 Passable
  • Segs 16-17 Passable (expect numerous blow-downs; so far Forest Service officials still prohibiting volunteer trail work)
  • Segs 18-19 Passable
  • Seg 20 Passable (expect numerous blow-downs high in the Cochetopa Creek valley)
  • Segs 21-23 Passable
  • Seg 24 Passable (Avalanche Debris requires cautious hiking)
  • Segs 25-28 Passable
  • Seg CW01 Passable
  • Seg CW02 Passable (NEW this report; use extreme caution on the remaining ribbon of cornice snow atop Lake Ann Pass)
  • Segs CW03-CW05 Passable (NEW this report)

Travelers starting after JULY 1 in an average year usually find enough of the snowpack has melted that the majority of the CT, including the CT Collegiate East, will have become passable by the time they reach the higher elevation areas that tend to retain snow. This July 1 date is average; some years melt-off comes a bit earlier and sometimes a bit later.

However, JULY 15 is the average melt-off date for the Collegiate West. It is an exception and normally melts off last, on average, becoming passable around July 15th.

This “entirely passable” declaration starting June 30 2020 is earlier than average by about two weeks…WooHoo!!