Effects of the 2003 Snowstorm on Rocky Mountain National Park

The following fun fact was published on March 24, 2003.

Rocky Mountain National Park received its share of snow during the epic snowstorm from March 18 through 20, 2003. On Thursday, March 20, there were reports of 109" of snow at Bear Lake and 48" of snow at Beaver Meadows. Even before the storm, only the very top of Alpine Visitor Center was visible and we assume it is completely covered now, although no one has been up to check it. The recent snow has increased the snow water equivalent in the snow pack on the east side of the park to 165% of the 30 year average for the same date, and to 113% of the 30 year average for the same date for the west side of the park. You might want to check out the "Fun Fact" titled "The Blessing of Snow" for more information on how the snow water equivalent in snow pack in the park is calculated.

The snow is a real benefit to natural ecosystems and to humans still suffering from Colorado's worst drought in recorded history, but it has also resulted in concerns for potential park visitors. While roads to the park are reported open, wildlife are often congregating on plowed roads inside the park as the only refuge from deep snow. You may want to check with the park Information Office at (970)586-1206, or with rangers staffing the park's Visitor Centers for current road information within the park. Animals have been seen congregating on all park roads so please use extra care while driving.

You may also want to check for avalanche danger. As of Friday, March 21, the avalanche danger in Rocky Mountain National Park was reported to be extreme. You can easily check the avalanche danger in the park or anywhere in Colorado by visiting either the Colorado Avalanche Information Center or the most recent Colorado Avalanche Bulletin.

Remember, when you visit our park, please help us protect you and our wildlife by driving and enjoying the park safely!

Last updated: March 31, 2012

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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