Waldo Canyon Update (October 11)

UPDATE: October 11, 2017
Now that the Waldo Canyon are is open, we are getting more information about the conditions hikers can expect. The most important things to know:

  • The trailhead on Hwy 24 remains closed, as is the Waldo Canyon Trail that begins there.
  • Access is off of Rampart Range Road, where parking restrictions have been lifted. Seasonal closures will take effect in the winter.
  • Trails into the canyon are steep, with lots of fallen trees and scree. Falling trees and flooding are a real possibility. Most trails have been partially obliterated, and the landscape is very different.
  • The takeaway: You should be an experienced backcounty hiker to make the trip into Waldo Canyon.

For more information, and photos of the area, here’s a link to Hiking Bob’s blog about his first trip into Waldo: “. . . access into the burn area is at your-own-risk, and you’ll have to find your own way in and out — the same as most other lands managed by the Forest Service. Be brutally honest with yourself about your ability to handle the terrain, and with your way-finding abilities before you make the trek.”
The Forest Service has revised its closure order for Waldo Canyon and will now allow public access to the area. While the public will be allowed to access Waldo, the Waldo Canyon Trail (NFST 640) and Waldo Canyon Trailhead on Highway 24 will remained closed for public safety. Access to Waldo Canyon will be off Rampart Range Road.
Forward into the future:

  • Redesign of the recreation plan in the Waldo burn scar, including a public process.
  • We’ll be reporting on the progress of the planning effort in the months to come.

Successful Recovery Effort Leads Forest Service to Reopen Waldo Canyon as Recreation Planning Effort Gets Underway.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., October 5, 2017 – The Pike National Forest has revised the closure order for Waldo Canyon to allow public access. The Order (PSICC-2017-22) rescinds parts of the previous closure that prohibited entry into Waldo Canyon. The many years of work by federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations has allowed for recovery of the land making public use of this part of El Paso County on the Pikes Peak Ranger District possible again.
While the public will be allowed to access Waldo, the Waldo Canyon Trail (NFST 640) and Waldo Canyon Trailhead on Highway 24 will remained closed for public safety. There are no other legally designated Forest Service system trails in Waldo Canyon. Public accessing the area should use caution and be prepared for cross-country hiking over rough terrain and debris from the 2012 wildfire. The potential for flash flooding still exists. In addition, there are many dead hazard trees that can fall down. Anyone entering the area should be aware of these hazards and take any necessary safety precautions by using extreme caution.
This opening is the beginning of the next chapter in Waldo recovery. “We are proud of the massive recovery effort the Forest Service, partners, and the community has poured into Waldo and happy that we are finally able to open the area as hunting season gets going,” said Oscar Martinez, District Ranger. The Forest Service is working with partners on a sustainable path forward for recreation in the area. Redesigning and implementing a safe sustainable recreation plan in the Waldo burn scar is complex and will take time.
The newly revised Order maintains prohibitions of camping and campfires in the area and keeps several roads closed. However, parking will now be allowed in non-designated parking areas. To read the new order and see the map, visit www.fs.usda.gov/psicc and look under “Alerts & Warnings.”

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