Trail Ridge Road Opens For The Season

This afternoon, local officials Travis Machalek, Estes Park Town Administrator, Jody Shadduck-McNally, Larimer County Commissioner, Steve Kudron, Grand Lake Mayor, and John Crone, Grand Lake Town Manager join RMNP Superintendent Darla Sidles and other park staff to cut the ribbon to open Trail Ridge Road for the season.

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is open for the season. Due to melting snow on the road and the potential for freezing temperatures visitors should be prepared for icy conditions. Winter weather is forecast for higher elevations later this holiday weekend. 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 when/if the road status changes.

Alpine Visitor Center and Trail Ridge Store are scheduled to open Saturday, May 29.

Timed Entry System Effective May 28

Rocky Mountain National Park has implemented a temporary timed entry permit reservation system which began May 28. Park staff are managing for significant increases in visitation to public lands in Colorado, including Rocky Mountain National Park, along with continued Covid-19 concerns, ongoing park seasonal staff shared housing challenges, and residual fire impacts in some areas of the park from historic fires in 2020. 

There are two types of reservations available. One permit is for the Bear Lake Road Corridor, which includes the entire corridor and access to the rest of the park. This reservation period is from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. The second permit is for the rest of Rocky Mountain National Park, excluding the Bear Lake Road corridor, and includes Trail Ridge Road. This reservation period is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability. The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park. To learn more visit www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm 

Rock Cut on Trail Ridge Road

Photo courtesy NPS.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on June 3, 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.

Trail Ridge Road

Photo courtesy NPS.

National Park Service plow operators began 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 above average snowpack on the east side of the Continental Divide and lower than average snowpack on the west side of the Continental Divide.

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206. For a recorded status line on Trail Ridge Road please call (970) 586-1222.

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