Friday, May 28, 2010

As snow melts, terrain opens

Some lower roads and trails will be open this weekend

Express Staff Writer

Stacey Sholtis walks her dog, Kiwi, across a narrow footbridge in lower Adams Gulch on Wednesday. Many trails in the Sawtooth National Forestís Ketchum Ranger District, including Adams Gulch, will be open for adventure seekers this weekend. Photo by David N. Seelig

Recreationists will confront a mixed bag when they head out into the Sawtooth National Forest this Memorial Day weekend.

Depending on the spot, adventure-seekers will find roads and trails on local public lands either open, partly open or closed.

In the Sawtooth's 350,000-acre Ketchum Ranger District, most lower trails are either fully open or open for significant portions of their lengths, the district's May 21 road and trail report states. The Ketchum Ranger District covers the higher sections on both sides of the Wood River Valley in the Pioneer, Smoky and Boulder mountain ranges to within five miles north of Ketchum at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area boundary.

Here's a brief rundown of road and trail openings (and a few closures) on the Ketchum Ranger District:

· Trails completely open on the district include the Adams Gulch-Lake Creek connector, the Bullion connector, Citizens Trail, Corral Creek, Cow Creek, Hidden Valley, Proctor, Shadyside and Sunnyside.

· Partially open trails include Fox Creek, Harper's Trail, Mahoney Butte-Greenhorn and Oregon Gulch.

· Closed trails include Chocolate Gulch, Griffin Butte-Adams Gulch, Imperial Gulch, Lodgepole Gulch and Red Warrior.

· Open roads on the district include Adams Gulch, Corral Creek, Eagle Creek, Hyndman Creek, Lake Creek, Taylor Canyon and Trail Creek.

· Partly open roads include Baker Creek, Cove Creek, Deer Creek and Warm Springs Creek.

Note: trails that are partly open on the Ketchum district will be signed. For more detailed information about conditions on the district, call 622-5371.

As is typically the case, roads and trails northwest of Ketchum on the 756,000-acre SNRA have been slower to open this spring. Hikers can expect to find some short, lower sections of trails open, with the mid to higher elevations remaining closed due to lingering snowpacks.

Hikers in the SNRA should be prepared for dangerous conditions along streams and rivers, which will be running high and fast.

While trail access may be limited, camping opportunities are abundant.

South of Galena Summit on the Wood River Valley portion of the SNRA, all campgrounds are open. Campers will not be able to reserve a site in advance this close to the holiday weekend, though spots should be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

North of Galena Summit in the Sawtooth Valley portion of the SNRA, campgrounds are either fully open or partly open. Again, campers will not be able to reserve a site in advance, but will have access to campsites on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jason Kauffman:

Your weekend weather report

True to form, the Memorial Day weekend will likely present local adventure seekers and campers with blustery weather complete with rain lower down and some snow squalls higher up. Here's a brief forecast for the area from the National Weather Service:

Tonight: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low about 41. Winds about 6 miles per hour. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Saturday: Showers likely, mainly before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. North-northwest wind between 5 and 7 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

Saturday night: A 50 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low about 35.

Sunday: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 59.

Sunday Night: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low about 40.

Memorial Day: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 63.

According to the weather service, snow levels in central Idaho will drop to about 6,000 feet by early Saturday morning. Up to 3 inches of snow will be possible in the lower and mid elevations of Idaho's central mountains.

 Local Weather 
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