Annual seasonal trail-use restrictions for the new McPhee Overlook Trail No. 155 will go into effect on Thursday, Dec. 1 to protect critical winter habitat for deer and elk.
The 1-mile section of the trail from Dolores to May Canyon will close annually to all public use from Dec. 1 to April 15. The more remote 6-mile section of the trail between May Canyon and House Creek Campground will close annually from Dec. 1 to May 1.
The seasonal closure was analyzed in the Boggy-Glade Travel Management Plan, as requested by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, an important partner of the Forest Service. When snow falls and temperatures plunge, deer and elk migrate down from the high country. Seasonal closures on critical winter range at lower elevations helps herds survive by offering forage, shelter from the elements, and protection from disturbance.
Observing seasonal closures and finding other places to recreate are two of the most important things the public can do to help Colorado’s wildlife survive the winter. When high-quality forage is scarce, herds must rely on stored fat reserves and are at the edge of starvation, often until late spring. Deer and elk disturbed by human activity, especially pregnant females, may not survive the stress of fleeing disturbances at such critical times.
Signs announcing the seasonal closures are posted at trailheads in Dolores and House Creek Campground. Closures will be enforced by Forest Service law enforcement. Violators face fines up to $150.
The non-motorized McPhee Overlook Trail is seven miles long and connects Dolores with House Creek Campground. The trail is open seasonally to non-motorized uses, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
For more information, please contact the Dolores Ranger District at 970 882-7296.