• A translucent blanket of clouds hangs over the snowy continental divide above Bear Lake Road. NPS Photo by VIP Olsen

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

Trail Ridge Road Is Open for 2009 Season

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Date: May 22, 2009
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened around 9:00 a.m. yesterday morning, May 21. It closed last night at 8:45 p.m. due to weather conditions and reopened this morning. The Mayors of Grand Lake and Estes Park cut a ceremonial ribbon this morning to celebrate the opening of the road that connects their two communities.

Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 23. 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, climbing to 12,183 feet and connecting the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on November 6.

National Park Service plow operators normally begin clearing the snow in 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. Plow operators can encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet.

Because weather conditions may change rapidly, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly and are encouraged to contact the park information office at (970) 586-1206 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo to receive current road conditions.

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