National Park Service Officials Close Trail Ridge Road For The Season
Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363
Today, Thursday, October 27, 2011, Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season to through travel. Since Saturday, October 22, 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 paved 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.
According to park superintendent Vaughn Baker, "After yesterday's significant snowfall and with the forecast for periodic storms at high elevations accompanied by wind and ice, we have officially closed Trail Ridge Road for the season." The snow will continue 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."
The average winter closure dates for Trail Ridge Road have been October 23. Although often times the road closes earlier and does not reopen, the previous ten year's official closure dates are: October 29, 2010, October 21, 2009, November 6, 2008, October 22, 2007, October 23, 2006, November 4, 2005, October 25, 2004, November 6, 2003, November 1, 2002 and October 18, 2001. The central portion of Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year Trail Ridge Road opened on June 6. Due to the most snow seen in late spring in over thirty years, this was the latest the road had opened in almost forty years.
Old Fall River Road officially closed for the season on October 14, 2011. 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.
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.