• Photo of park visitors enjoying sunset from the Alpine Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Trail Ridge Road Opened Today-May 23

Photo-snow at Alpine Visitor Center
Winter snow and wind at Alpine Visitor Center have created drifts over eight feet high.
NPS Photo

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News Release Date: May 23, 2008
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-568-1363

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened around 11:30 a.m. this morning, May 23. Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 25. 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 October 22.

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/planyourvisit/road_conditions to receive current road conditions.

Did You Know?

a photo of treeline in Rocky Mountain National Park

If the current amount of total nitrogen deposition measured at the high-elevation monitoring site in Rocky Mountain National Park (3 kg/ha/yr) was the same throughout the park, the amount of airborne nitrogen entering the park would be equivalent to 35,500 twenty-pound bags of fertilizer. More...