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Summer travel season kicks off May 21 on White River National Forest trails, roads

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May 20, 2022, 10:23 am

The White River National Forest on Thursday issued the following press release on summer motorized and mountain bike travel season kicking off on May 21, including its rules for e-bikes:

The summer motorized and mountain bike travel season begins May 21 in most areas on the White River National Forest. 

Some roads and trails are not scheduled to open until later in May or June because of conditions at higher elevations or to reduce disturbance to wildlife such as calving elk. 

Some roads and trails opening May 21 may still be muddy or snowy in places and susceptible to damage if people drive or ride them.

“We have a wide range of elevations with varying conditions. Some open gates may lead to roads that are wet and muddy,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. “Travel in muddy conditions creates deep ruts that can significantly damage roads and trails. Please be patient and give muddy areas time to dry out and harden so they can be enjoyed all summer long.”

High winds this spring have blown down a higher than usual number of trees across the Forest’s roads and trails, and it may take more time for roads and trails to be cleared than in past years.

E-bikes are considered motor vehicles by the Forest Service and may only be ridden on roads and trails designated open to motorized use. Traditional (non-electric) bicycles are allowed on designated trails and roads where mechanized use is permitted. 

Off-road and off-trail travel is prohibited for all motorized and mechanized vehicles on the White River National Forest.

All forest visitors are responsible for knowing when and where they can drive or ride. Ranger District offices have the latest site-specific information. Summer motor vehicle use maps and mountain bike maps are available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

E-Bikes on the White River National Forest

Where can I ride an e-bike on the White River National Forest?

Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes are all considered motorized vehicles by the Forest Service, so you are welcome to ride your e-bike on the hundreds of miles of White River National Forest roads open to motorized use during the summer travel season, as well as the limited number of trails open to motorized and e-bike use. 

Because e-bikes are considered motor vehicles, they are not permitted on White River National Forest non-motorized trails, including those that are open to non-motorized mountain bikes.

How can I find out what roads and trails are open to motorized and e-bike use?

Summer motorized vehicle use maps are available at local ranger district offices and on-line at www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver. These maps detail the roads and trails open to motorized use, which are where e-bikes are allowed. Season dates for motorized use vary to protect sensitive resources like elk calving, and the maps also detail when the roads are open to motorized use. It’s your responsibility to know the rules and regulations regarding e-bikes and motorized travel.

What about riding e-bikes on paved paths managed by other jurisdictions, or summer trails at ski areas?

Please check with the local government or resort for the areas where you are interested in riding.

Several areas operated under special use permit on the White River National Forest allow e-bike use within their permitted areas such as the Frisco Nordic Center, Keystone Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Sunlight Resort (guided), and the Summit County paved recreation path system. E-bikes may be permissible on trails owned by county governments or local municipalities; however, e-bikes are not allowed on the Glenwood Canyon Recreation path or the west side of the Vail Pass Recreation Path.

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