May 19, 2011
The actions of Mother Nature have an effect on the circumstances that bicycle travelers encounter as they pedal their routes. Right now, of particular interest are the Mississippi River system in the midst of its annual flooding, and the heavy snow pack that is keeping high passes closed in the Rocky Mountain West.
State Departments of Transportation (DOT) usually have good status reports that you can use to stay abreast of these types of situations. You can find links to each state DOT through the Federal Highway Administration website. Once you arrive at a state DOT website, look for Traveler Information or a link to their 5-1-1 page.
In the Southeast, we are currently keeping an eye on the Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky DOT sites to track how flooding may impact the Southern Tier, Great Rivers, Underground Railroad and Lewis & Clark routes.
Out in the West, mountain passes -- still closed due to record snowfalls -- are of greater concern. States in this category include Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Routes affected include the Northern Tier, Sierra Cascades, TransAmerica, Lewis & Clark, Great Parks North, and Great Divide.
As we learn about these impacts on our routes, we report them to the Temporary ACA Route Closures discussion on our Forums and in our @acaroutes Twitter feed as appropriate. You are always welcome to report your experiences and information in both of these places as well.
GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, an Adventure Cycling cartographer, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.
I am planning a trip in 2016 on the Trans America Route. If I travel west to east, how early in the spring or summer can I can I leave and expect reasonably mild weather in the Rockies and avoid snow issues?
A mate and I have been planning a small trip from Rawlings, Wy to Santa Fe, Nm. We are starting May 28thish and plan on the trip taking 2 weeks. My question is, should we be concerned with snow? I bet it will be wet but if anyone has done the cdt at the beginning of June in the past, it would be great to get some beta from you. Thanks fellow bikers!
In general I would say your timeframe is a bit earlyish but it can really vary from year to year. If you're road riding, I'd guess you'll be ok. If riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, it might be less pleasant. Use the state DOT resources to see what it's like out there.
Wyoming has a great page on current road conditions you can use as a guide: http://www.wyoroad.info/highway/conditions/RoadClosures.html
Check Colorado's Seasonal Openings/Closures link against your intended route: http://www.coloradodot.info/travel
New Mexico also has a road conditions page that might be useful: http://nmroads.com/
If your intended route is on any of these currently closed list, contact the state directly to get their assessment.
You might also consider asking about current conditions on our forums (http://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php). There are cyclists from all over the country who could tell you their experience.
I hope this helps!
Adventure Cycling Association
As I rode the southern tier this spring and missed all the disasters (fires,tornadoes,flooding), I was thinking about the ACA routes across the country and how the weather was affecting them. Your resource page is a good idea!!
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I'd say mid-late May is the earliest you'd want to depart. You will likely still encounter snow and chilly nights. In Oregon, you'll want to check the status of McKenzie Pass. If it's closed, you will have to take the Santiam Pass Alternate. (Though you might also get the bonus of riding McKenzie Pass without vehicles if it's cleared for cyclists but not yet open to cars.) You can check the status here: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION4/Pages/mckenzie_pass_project/McKenzie_Pass_Project.aspx
Enjoy your trip and be sure to stop by the office for your ice cream and photo for the wall!