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Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened today at 8:30 a.m. The road is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 20. 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 23.
A major $10 million road repair project is underway this season along Trail Ridge Road. Park visitors can expect 20 to 30 minute delays throughout the season. Park Superintendent Vaughn Baker said, “The only time you can complete major work on Trail Ridge Road is during the summer, so we hope when visitors encounter delays they will enjoy the views out their windows.” From July 5 through the end of the season, night closures from Forest Canyon Overlook to Alpine Visitor Center will occur. Night closures will be in effect from 10:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. beginning Sunday evenings and ending Friday mornings. Night closures will not occur on Friday and Saturday nights.
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 to receive current road conditions.