National Park Service Officials Close Trail Ridge Road to Through Travel For the 2009 Season
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
Today, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season to through travel. Old Fall River Road officially closed for the season on October 8, 2009. Since Sunday, October 4, Trail Ridge Road has been closed due to consistent winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet. Trail Ridge Road, one of the most impressive alpine highways in the United States, is the highest continuous road in America and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet. The road connects the park’s gateway communities of Estes Park on the east and Grand Lake on the west. The road is currently closed at Colorado River Trailhead on the west side and Many Parks Curve on the east side.
Old Fall River Road is an unpaved road that travels from Endovalley picnic area to above treeline at Fall River Pass, following the steep slope of Mount Chapin. Due to the road’s narrow nature, the scenic 9.4-mile route leading to Trail Ridge Road is one way only. The Old Fall River Road was built between 1913 and 1920.
According to Superintendent Vaughn Baker, “After recent snowfall accumulation at high elevations in the park, with the accompanying wind and ice, as well as the forecast for periodic storms at high elevations, we have decided to officially close Trail Ridge Road for the season. The snow continues to blow and drift at higher elevations, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous. During the winter season, weather permitting, we will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.”
Trail Ridge Road was opened in 1932. The average winter closure date has been October 23. The previous ten year’s closure dates are: November 6, 2008, October 22, 2007, October 23, 2006, November 4, 2005, October 25, 2004, November 6, 2003, November 1, 2002, October 18, 2001, November 2, 2000, and November 22, 1999. The central portion of Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year Trail Ridge Road opened on May 21, 2009.
Both roads have reverted to trail status; therefore bicycles and dogs are not permitted. For current road conditions and other park information, please call 970-586-1206.
Did You Know?
The ptarmigan is camouflaged perfectly in summer, with "mottled rock" color, and in winter, when it takes on the color of snow.