Photo: Snowplows begin work to remove the snow from the roadway on Trail Ridge Road in April Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
On Wednesday, June 5th, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened for the season. Due to melting snow on the road and the potential for freezing temperatures visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. At this time, night time closures will not be implemented. However, because weather conditions may change rapidly, night closures are possible. Park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly and are encouraged to call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded phone line at (970) 586-1222. Park staff will update the recorded line during and after regular office hours, when the road status changes. The Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are anticipated to open by this weekend.
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 24, in 2017 it opened on May 31 due to a late May snowstorm. The earliest the road has opened was on May 7, 2002; the latest June 26, 1943. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbs to 12,183 feet and connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on October 31.
National Park Service plow operators normally begin clearing the snow in the middle of April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet at the Alpine Visitor Center. The visitor center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. This year, crews ran into average or below average snowpack in many locations until May, when numerous spring storms brought significant snow and drifting above 11,500 feet.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.