Camping, hiking open this weekend

Officials asking users to pay close attention to closures and signs

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Temperatures in the Yampa Valley indicate spring and summer, but most trails in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the White River National Forest still are covered by snow.

With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, U.S. Forest Service offices in Steamboat Springs and Yampa remind people who access trails in their respective areas that snowy, muddy conditions still exist in many places.

Numerous campgrounds are open and available for use, and those campgrounds within the Forest Service's domain operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Those campsites include Hinman Park in North Routt and Lynx Pass, Bear Lake, Chapman Reservoir and Blacktail Creek in South Routt. The Blacktail Creek and Bear Lake campsites will have water for use. The other sites will not.

For those looking to camp today through Memorial Day and are unable to get to one of those sites, the Yampa River State Park west of Hayden has sites available all weekend. Most other campsites in the area do not. Reservations for Hayden can be made at www.parks.state.co.us or by calling (800) 678-CAMP.

Steamboat Lake State Park, Pearl Lake and Stagecoach State Park have limited availability on Sunday and more availability Monday and Tuesday. Reservations can be made online at www.reserveamerica.com.

Rabbit Ears Pass, Hahn's Peak Lake, campsites off Seedhouse Road in North Routt and other campsites in South Routt are closed this weekend because of weather-related conditions.

Trail access is spotty, as well, though people can take their pick of a large number of trails open in the Steamboat Springs area, including Mad Creek Trail, Spring Creek Trail and trails on Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain.

The Fish Creek Falls trail is open to the second bridge, and Fish Creek Falls is raging from the spring snowmelt.

The Sarvis Creek and Silver Creek areas in South Routt also are open.

People hiking are reminded of quickly changing weather patterns in the Yampa Valley and should prepare accordingly.

Bring a map, a compass, water, food, lightweight rain gear, a first-aid kid, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, a weather-proof fire starter and a flashlight. Do not disturb wildlife. Dispose of waste properly.

There are no fire restrictions in place, but campers and hikers should be mindful and respectful of direction signs or closure signs that the city of Steamboat Springs or the Forest Service have posted for safety reasons.

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