Vehicle Travel On the Eldorado
Over 1,800 miles of roads and trails across the Forest are designated for wheeled motor vehicle travel. Vehicle travel off these designated roads and trails is prohibited.
Motor Vehicle Use Map - 2016
Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available at any Eldorado National Forest office free-of-charge. They can also be downloaded from the list below. These maps display the roads and trails in the Eldorado National Forest that are designated for motor vehicle use and the routes that are restricted during the seasonal closure. Four MVUM maps are available, one for each ranger district. Vehicle use is allowed only on the routes that are shown on the MVUM.
All dirt roads and trails are closed to motor vehicle use between January 1 and March 31. If roads or trails are wet and susceptible to damage then the Seasonal closure will go into effect early or run longer until they dry. This closure is intended to protect water quality and prevent rutting and damage to these roads and trails. Approximately 600 miles of paved and gravel roads are not affected by the closure. The Rock Creek area near Georgetown has its own seasonal closure policy and procedures.
What Is So Different and Who Does This Affect?
The designated route system includes the following features:
- Allows use on 1,002 miles of native surface (dirt) roads and 210 miles of trails for public motor vehicles. This includes cars, trucks, campers, RV’s, ATV’s, motorcycles, 4WD’s, etc. In addition, there are 635 miles of surfaced roads suitable for passenger cars. These roads and trails are across the Forest, including in the Crystal Basin area, Silver Fork Road, Mormon Emigrant Trail, Elkins Flat, Gold Note, Rock Creek, and many other areas.
- Prohibits cross-country travel by cars, trucks, ATV’s, motorcycles, RV’s, etc.
- Seasonal closure on designated system trails and dirt roads from Jan. 1 through March 31. Seasonal closures may be longer if roads or trails are wet and susceptible to damage.
- Prohibits wheeled over-the-snow travel on the following: all designated snowmobile routes and cross-country ski trails on the ENF, Mormon Emigrant Trail (10N50/Forest Route 5) from the junction of Silver Fork Road (11N40) southeast to the Iron Mountain SnoPark at Highway 88; Loon Lake Campground Road (13N17); Chipmunk Bluff Road (13N19); and Robbs Peak Road (13N31).
- Parking outside of developed trailheads and other recreation sites is restricted to turnouts, landings, or within one vehicle length of the road or trail.
Forest visitors park on the forest for a wide variety of reasons; such as, to access areas to hike, fish, picnic, ride horses, bicycle, ride OHVs, swim, hunt, bird watch, snowmobile, snowshoe, etc. Parking along roads designated or authorized for public travel, as shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map, is permitted within one vehicle length from the edge of the road surface. This distance is part of National Forest Service direction.
Periodically throughout the woodcutting season the Eldorado National Forest may identify concentrations of fuelwood not accessible from the roads designated on your Motor Vehicle Use Map. In order to facilitate the removal of fuelwood from these identified areas, Ranger Districts may establish Fuelwood Cutting Areas. As these areas are established, routes will be signed and maps can be obtained from Ranger District Offices or from the Eldorado National Forest website. Contact the Ranger District offices or visit our web site for information about current fuelwood cutting areas.
Dispersed camping is a form of camping where you are not in a developed campground and there are none of the amenities; such as, toilets, piped water, picnic tables, etc. Visitors can camp just about anywhere in the national forest unless it is specifically prohibited. The big change on the Eldorado national Forest, along with other national forests, is that visitors cannot drive off of designated roads and trails, except where specifically allowed. The forest designated a number of routes that lead to areas popular for dispersed camping, and we are asking visitors to tell us of other locations they would like to see designated for motor vehicle use in the future.
Opportunity For Changes!
Implementation of Forest Supervisor’s decision also includes looking for ways to make the designated route system better. This may include identifying those routes that are closed that some people believe should be open and some routes that should be closed that are open. The key to implementing this Travel Management decision is the opportunity in the future to make changes!
Implementation will include involving Forest visitors and interest groups to help, through volunteering to complete resource protection improvements, maintaining trails, helping with monitoring of road and trail conditions, and educating visitors about the designated travel system and things they can do to protect Forest resources.