Seasonal closures for winter big-game habitat begin Dec. 1 near Steamboat

Media Contact: Aaron Voos, (307) 745-2323


News Release (PDF)

Brochure (PDF)


(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.)  November 26, 2019 – Seasonal closures for big-game winter range begin Dec. 1 in multiple locations near Steamboat Springs on the Routt National Forest.


Both mandatory and voluntary closures are in place annually from Dec. 1 to April 15 at trailheads and in areas where conflicts between wildlife and people have historically occurred.


Approximately, 12,000 acres on National Forest have a seasonal closure of winter range for deer and elk in place. This includes trails such as Mad Creek, Red Dirt, Hot Springs, and Spring Creek trail.


Mandatory closures are a result of the Steamboat Front and Buffalo Pass Trails projects on the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.


A full list of closure areas is below. If respected, these closure areas provide pockets of habitat where deer and elk find security and food during the harsh winter months without being disturbed by human activities.


The current closure areas include:


  • Spring Creek Trail 1160
  • Spring Creek Alternate Trail 1160.1A
  • Mad Creek Trail 1100 (Swamp Park Trail)
  • Red Dirt Trail 1171
  • Hot Springs Trail 1169
  • Foothills south of Steamboat Ski Area to Hwy 40


  • Greenville Mine area (Roads 440 & 471)
  • Coulton Creek area (Trail 1188 & Road 429)
  • Lower Bear Trail 1206
  • Sarvis Creek Trail 1105
  • Silver Creek Trail 1106
  • Areas adjacent to the Radium and Indian Run State Wildlife Areas (Roads 212 & 214)
  • Area north of Toponas off Forest Road 285


“These temporary closures reflect the efforts of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service working together toward shared goals,” said Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District Ranger Tara Umphries. “The District greatly appreciates public cooperation in adhering to the closures and sharing information amongst the community, as well as with out-of-area visitors.”


Closure signage is posted at affected trailheads, and maps and brochures are available at area businesses and at the District office. Other area land managers, such as the City of Steamboat and the BLM, also have seasonal area closures in place that recreational users should respect and be aware of. 


Since some of the closure area borders Steamboat Ski Area, the District has worked closely with the resort to publicize the public access impacts. The ski area has included the big game winter range closure areas in their ski area trail maps and mandatory closure signs are posted along the ski area operating boundary between South Peak Lift and Broadway ski trail. 


Recreationists are asked to use the following alternative winter recreation areas on the Forest:  Buffalo Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Gore Pass, Lynx Pass, Bear River Corridor (entrance to the Flat Tops), and Dunckley Pass.


Other areas include the South Fork Trail (Trail 1100.5A) south of the Elk River with parking at the Hinman parking area (a non-motorized area) and Forest Road 430/Scott Run (Trail 1177).  Another alternate area is located west of Routt County Road 129 at the Hahns Peak Lake Area on Forest Roads 486 and 488.


Later this winter, the Forest Service will work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to allow a research project within the area closure boundaries which will help document elk movement and health.


For more information about the closure areas or other areas recommended to recreate outside of winter range, please stop by the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District office at 925 Weiss Drive in Steamboat or call (970) 870-2299.


Information may also be found on this website, You can follow the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.