Early summer adventure plans are dwindling for many as deep snowpack remains in Colorado’s high country.

While the calendar may have flipped into July, winter is still hanging on in parts of Colorado. Lingering snowpack continues to put a damper on outdoor recreation, confining hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers to lower elevations throughout the state.

Heavier-than-normal snowpack also means that higher elevations are taking a hit for peak wildflower blooms. High-elevation buds are not expected to bloom until sometime in late August, if at all. While high altitude trails remain buried in snow, lower elevations are bursting with color from glacier lilies, wild larkspur, and fairy primrose.

Below you’ll see two photos taken by photographer Ben Strauss of the same Colorado lake at the same time of the year. The top photo with the flowers is last year, while the photo with no flowers is this year.

Colorado’s 14er season has also been pushed back by lingering snowpack into late-July to early-August. If you’re planning to explore high-altitude terrain safely this summer, be sure to fill your pack with some winter gear, including trekking poles, waterproof boots, microspikes, Yaktrax, crampons, and ice axes.

Hikers should be prepared for unusual summer trail conditions including snow, downed trees, mud, and cold swift river crossings, especially at higher elevations. Expect possible delays and closures on popular high-altitude trails and roads due to deep snowpack and avalanche destruction.

Before you go, read up on the local forecast and trail conditions. Use a map for navigating snowpack covered trails and be ready to turn around if necessary.

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