Due to melting snow on the road visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are anticipated to open later this week. At this time, night time closures will not be implemented. Because weather conditions may change rapidly, 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.
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 28. 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 November 18.
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. On May 18 and May 19 of this year, a major snowstorm occurred on the east side of the park, dropping more than 3 feet of snow in lower elevations of the park. Plow operators faced 8 to 14 feet of snow at higher elevations, hampering efforts to open Trail Ridge Road by Memorial Day weekend.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.