Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will open on Thursday, June 4. 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.
Alpine Visitor Center will not open until the end of June. Trail Ridge Store will tentatively open on June 15. Due to limited services along Trail Ridge Road, and lack of presence of staff at Alpine Visitor Center, visitors should be extra prepared when traveling on Trail Ridge Road. Vault toilets are open.
Timed Entry System Effective June 4
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country. To increase park access while providing the public a reasonable opportunity to comply with health guidelines related to COVID-19, the park will temporarily implement a timed entry system effective at the beginning of Phase Two on June 4. The park will cease using this system in later phases of the reopening.
Reservations to enter the park are available through www.recreation.gov Currently, reservations are available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked.
Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. At this time, reservations are not required prior to 6 a.m. or after 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park.
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on June 5, 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 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 below average snowpack in many locations.
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.