Visitors should come prepared for mud and ongoing winter recreation on the Forest

HELENA, April 9, 2021 — Spring has arrived and many people are eager to get out and enjoy their public lands. We remind visitors that many roads at higher elevations are still snow packed and will open for passenger vehicles and Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs) starting May 15. 

“We encourage you to check in with our frontline staff at districts to inquire about trail and road conditions before you head out,” said Jefferson Division Recreation Manager Bob Gliko.  “Please help us avoid resource damage by avoiding driving on soft and muddy roads.”

Elkhorn gates will open May 15, which includes major access roads such as Weasel Creek (FS Rd. #405), Indian Creek (FS Rd. #4031), and Crow Creek (FS Rds. #424 and #621).  These areas remain open for non-motorized use. 

Many of the gates in the Big Belts and Divide area will remain closed through May 15.  Forest roads and trails on the Jefferson Division, which includes the Little Belt, Castle, Crazy, Highwood and Big and Little Snowy mountain ranges, remain open to snowmobilers and other oversnow off-highway vehicles for winter travel.  Higher elevation roads may still be snowed in after May 15.  

Spring often brings very wet and muddy conditions and in the past the forest has had to temporarily close roads due to spring break-up in an effort to protect the road and resources along the roadways.  Driving off-road to avoid mud holes or snow drifts is prohibited, so it is important to assess road conditions and retreat if you cannot safely pass. Road surfaces and dispersed campsites may still be soft and muddy.

Please follow the Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) which indicate seasonal closures and vehicle type allowed.  MVUMs are available for free on our website and show the most updated travel restrictions and routes within a geographic area. 

Visit: to view the Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest’s free MVUMs and visit: to view contact information for your local district.  Continue to follow us on Facebook @HLCNF and Twitter @LewisandClarkNF for the latest updates.


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