Weather is unpredictable in Colorado all year long. Many forget that it can snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains any month of the year.
Spring is an especially unpredictable time. While it may appear to be summer-like down in Denver, winter may just be loosening its grip up in the mountains. Day hikers from the Front Range and tourists are often unprepared for the sudden weather changes. It’s sunny and warm one minute and a total white-out snowstorm the next.
On one of the last days of May in 2001 I foolishly decided to plant my backyard vegetable garden. It was sunny and a warm 80 F. I saw cloud cover quickly moving down from the north but didn’t think too much of it. I needed some supplies from the garden center and noticed the cloud was still moving south on the trip back.
I unloaded my garden supplies but was still really curious about that cloud cover as it rapidly approached. The front reached my backyard with a cold huge burst of wind. It suddenly started snowing. The temperature went from 80 F to 30 F in one hour. It snowed 18 inches that night.
Some unprepared Front Range day hikers were hiking on Mt Evans that day. According to a KUSA-TV report, they ended up spending the night shivering on the mountain and one hiker lost eight toes. In a recent KKTV-TV report, a mother and 8-year old daughter spent the night out on the trail from being unfamiliar with the trail.
There are hiking hazards in Colorado other than the weather and the lack of a proper map. Wildlife, terrain, physical condition, and altitude can also factor in.
For more summer hiking tips in Colorado, read the article ‘Summer Hiking Safety Tips in Colorado‘.
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