As of 10/16 the gate was closed before the fee station which adds about 5 miles RT to any hike you plan to do. The road has some snow/ice but also has large dry stretches. Once you get near the Mitchell Lake TH you will be on snow the whole time. The trail is packed down for most of the way. I brought microspikes and snowshoes. Never put the spikes on, but snowshoes were very helpful once I got about 1/4 mile below Blue Lake. Was glad to have gaiters and waterproof boots. Beautiful hike.