Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will open Friday, May 26, at 6 a.m. 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, nightly closures will not be implemented. However, because weather conditions may change rapidly at higher elevations, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly at any time and are encouraged to call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded status phone line at (970) 586-1222. Park staff will update the recorded line when/if the road status changes.
Alpine Visitor Center will open on Saturday, May 27. Trail Ridge Store will have limited services this weekend.
Timed Entry Permit Reservations Effective Friday, May 26
Rocky Mountain National Park is implementing a pilot timed entry permit reservation system which will begin tomorrow, May 26. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the busiest national parks in the country, with over 4.3 million visitors in 2022. Visitor crowding and congestion have led to increased negative impacts to visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience and operational capacity. The park has piloted various visitor use management strategies since 2016, including first-come, first-served as well as different parkwide Timed Entry Permit Reservation system pilots since 2020.
In 2023, 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 2 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.
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 27. 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 24.
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 snowpack.
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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