Forest Service roads begin to open for season

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By Brandon Caley
Special to The SUN

To protect road surfaces and for public safety, many Forest Service roads are seasonally closed to wheeled motorized vehicles, except snowmobiles operating on snow. The roads are open to nonmotorized uses, including bicycling, hiking and horseback riding. 

Roads will remain closed until most of the road surface can withstand traffic without damage.

An open gate does not give permission to damage roads. Damage is defined as: ruts 1 inch deep or deeper on gravel roads, 4 inches deep or deeper on native surface roads. Do not go off roads, except to park adjacent to the road on dry ground.

Following is the road status as of April 23:

• Black Mountain, No. 661, closed.

• Blanco River, No. 656, closed.

• Blue Creek, No. 012/Big Branch No. 664, closed.

• Buckles Lake, No. 663, closed.

• Burns Canyon, No. 649 (to second gate), open.

• Burns Canyon, No. 649 (above second gate), open.

• Castle Creek, No. 660 to Opal Lake trailhead, closed.

• Castle Creek, No. 660 to Fish Creek trailhead, closed.

• Chris Mountain Road, No. 681, closed.

• Devil Creek, No. 627, to state wildlife area, closed.

• Devil Mountain, No. 626, closed.

• East Fork, No. 667, closed.

• East Toner No. 637, open.

• Echo Canyon, No. 029 (Nipple Mountain), open.

• Eight Mile Mesa, No. 651, closed.

• Falls Creek Road, No. 039, closed.

• Fawn Gulch Road, No. 666, closed.

• First Fork, No. 622 (main gate), closed.

• First Fork, No. 622 (gate at Sheep Creek), closed.

• Fourmile Road, No. 645, closed.

• Jackson Mountain, No. 037, open.

• Jack’s Pasture Road, No. 746, open.

• Kenney Flats, No. 006, open.

• Lefthand Canyon, No. 024, closed.

• Lower Piedra to Campground, No. 621, closed.

• McManus, No. 633 (at Plumtaw intersection), open.

• Middle Fork, No. 636, open.

• Monument Park East, No. 630, closed.

• Monument Park West, No. 630, closed.

• Mosca, No. 631, closed.

• Nipple Mountain, No. 665, open.

• Nipple Mountain, No. 665 (above Echo Canyon), closed.

• Plumtaw, No. 634, closed.

• Poison Park, No. 644, closed.

• Price Lakes, No. 731, closed.

• Snowball, No. 646, closed.

• Snow Ranch, No. 628, open.

• Trail Ridge, No. 639, open.

• Turkey Creek, No. 647, open.

• Turkey Springs, No. 629 — Lower/middle gate, open.

• Turkey Springs, No. 629 — Upper gate, open.

• Valle Seco Upper, No. 653 to private property, closed.

• West Fork, No. 648, closed.

• Williams Creek, No. 640 (from gate to lake), open.

• Williams Creek, No. 640 (to Palisades HC), closed.

• Wolf Creek Road, No. 725, closed.

You can find information on travel management, road openings and closings, and Motor Vehicle Use Maps on the San Juan National Forest website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/. Conditions change quickly, so check with the ranger district office in the area you plan to visit to get the most current information on road conditions and openings. Call the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268. 

To find current information on other seasonal Pagosa Ranger District road closures on the website, click on the “Forest Road Conditions” link located on the right side of the page under the “Quick Links” box. Under Alerts and Notices, click “Pagosa Ranger District Road Status.”