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Winter road closures begin for San Juan National Forest

Winter road closures for the San Juan National Forest will begin Dec. 1.
House Creek Road and Dolores River road below McPhee dam are among closures Dec. 1

The San Juan National Forest has begun seasonal closures of roads and trails to protect road conditions and wildlife habitat.

Seasonal road closures to wheeled motorized traffic, as well as motorized and some nonmotorized trails, start Dec. 1 based on snow conditions.

The Columbine, Dolores and Pagosa Ranger District Recreation staff will close gates on roads and trails temporarily to prevent damage to road surfaces or protect critical wildlife habitat.

These roads will open in spring as conditions allow, generally around May 1. Travelers should always be prepared for winter conditions and travel with shovels, tire chains and appropriate safety equipment necessary for winter conditions.

The Columbine Ranger District will temporarily close most Forest Service roads beginning Dec. 1. FSR 578 (Hermosa Park Road) will close Nov. 15.

The Dolores Ranger District will begin closing Forest Service roads and trails Dec. 1 They include: FSR 504, Dolores River below McPhee Dam; FSR 528 and 529D, House Creek area; FSR 240 and 241, Black Snag and Ryman Creek area; FSR 568, Railroad grade near Mancos Hill.

The McPhee Overlook Trail from Dolores to House Creek Campground is closed to all users starting Dec. 1.

The Pagosa Ranger District will close most Forest Service roads and trails on a staggered schedule beginning Dec. 1 with the majority closing by Dec. 15 and Dec. 22.

Even if snow levels are not deep, wheeled motorized use can damage road surfaces during freezing and thawing periods. Seasonal road and trail closures also protect critical habitat for deer and elk in winter and early spring when temperatures are cold, snow is deep and food is scarce. During these critical times, human disturbance can threaten the survival of deer and elk, especially pregnant females.

Please visit the San Juan National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps and Road conditions webpage for up-to-date road closures and conditions across all districts. District Motor Vehicle Use Maps also have an allowable access date table for roads.

Visitors to the National Forest should be prepared to encounter additional closed gates on roads and trails across the San Juan National Forest as winter conditions develop.

For additional information on road closures, please contact the specific Ranger District Office at:

  • Columbine Ranger District (970) 884-2512.
  • Dolores Ranger District (970) 882-7296.
  • Pagosa Ranger District (970) 264-2268.