To protect wintering elk and mule deer, much of Mount Jumbo is closed to recreational use during the winter months.

Missoula Conservation Lands Manager Morgan Valliant said Mount Jumbo’s south zone, which includes the Backbone Trail and trails near the “L”, will remain closed through Monday, March 31:

"Essentially, due to the record amount of snowfall we got this February and a late spring green up, the Mount Jumbo elk herd has decided to remain up at the top of Mount Jumbo," Valliant said. "We are extending our seasonal winter closure on Mount Jumbo for another couple weeks."

Valliant said, for the most part, mount jumbo has stayed closed because of habituation.

Habituation has shown previous trends of elk staying in their winter range longer than usual.

"Typically in the south zone, which is the bulk of the mountain and includes the actual peak of the mountain, that area typically opens March 15," Valliant said. "This year, we've extended the closure to March 31, just to give those animals a little more time to make their way north."

The Saddle Road and all points south of the road will re-open to the public on Tuesday, April 1.

North Mount Jumbo or areas north of the Saddle Road remains closed until May 1.

For more information, call 721-PARK or visit the Parks and Recreation website.