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My son and I will be riding Big Bend in Texas mid to late October and hope to go north to New Mexico, Colorado and Utah too but have no idea if we would encounter snow in late October.
Under normal condition how early can we expect the high country to have significant snow?
 

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Can't answer your question Keet, but sitting here in the middle of long-term drought the very thought of snow just made my day. Muchas gracias. :thumbup:
 

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I've crossed Independence Pass (east of Aspen CO) during a blizzard in mid-September (in a cage, not my bike). Mind you, Independence Pass is above 12,000 feet, so it was only snow from about 9500 feet and higher, but it was falling thick and fast.
 

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My son and I will be riding Big Bend in Texas mid to late October and hope to go north to New Mexico, Colorado and Utah too but have no idea if we would encounter snow in late October.
Under normal condition how early can we expect the high country to have significant snow?
If you are driving by Breckenridge on 70, absolutely expect snow, perhaps even an early blizzard. I moved to Georgia from Breckenridge. In SW Colorado (Durango, Cortez, Dolores) I was often still riding that time of year when I lived there. But not Breck!
 

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It can snow in the mountains any month of the year. I've skied two feet of powder on Memorial Day, have seen light snowfall in August and have trudged through high-elevation snow in September.

Which is a nice way of saying that by October, you probably want to pick your route carefully. There is no route from Northern NM through much of Colorado into Utah that does not involve some very high mountain passes.

You're going to need to check the weather every day and be prepared to adjust accordingly and head to lower ground. You might be forced to stay far south and west, cutting across through the four corners region, without getting far into Colorado. It's not a horrible place to be "forced" to ride through. Once you're on the Utah side of the mountains, things get a lot easier. I actually like Southern Utah that time of year. Rain is definitely possible, but things are cooler than the summer months and the tourists are mostly gone.

But remember that even in the Rockies, and even in the heart of the winter, most days are sunny days. In October, so long as your schedule and route are both a bit flexible and you exercise appropriate levels of caution and planning, you should be fine.

I would bring some colder-weather gear though. Pretty much any route you take through Colorado will have you above 10,000' at some point and by October those segments can get fairly chilly even in the absence of snow.
 

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Thanks, we'll plan on staying well south of I-70 .
If a big storm hits, that might not matter much. Some storms track south, others hit north. You won't have much advance notice or knowledge. The southern Colorado mountains get as much snow as any. Unless you stay so far south that you just "cut the corner" in the far SW of the state (four corners region, near Cortez), any conceivable route from NM, into CO and across to UT will put you well above 10,000' at some point and virtually all those routes can get early snow.

But as I said, the good news is that most days are sunny days, and that early in the season it is rare for the snow to stick around for too long. Not impossible, but rare. Sometimes on those roads, you just need to realize you're going to sit tight for a day for things to clear.

Pay attention to the weather. Adjust accordingly.
 

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What everyone else here said. The average first snow for Denver is October 15th, and snow storms in the mountains are very likely much earlier than that. In October of 2010, Copper Mountain (one of the ski resorts along I70) received 32 inches if snow, and Wolf Creek (very snowy southern CO ski resort) AVERAGES 27 inches in October.

Keep an eye on weather.gov and Mike Nelson from Channel 7 News for good weather forecasts. For southern CO, watch what Marty Venticinque from KRDO in CO Springs is saying. Great forecaster.

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