Rocky Mountain National Park Opens Trail Ridge Road for the Season

by Amy Myers

Late last week, Rocky Mountain National Park announced the much-anticipated opening of Trail Ridge Road, a major access point to much of the area’s attractions.

With a peak altitude of 11,796 feet above sea level, Rocky Mountain is one of the highest national parks. Because of this, springtime doesn’t roll around until the start of summer for the rest of the country. Instead, the region still sees regular doses of snow and ice, each time thoroughly covering the crucial road for park-goers.

Once the weather finally warms up enough to give the area a final plow, Rocky Mountain’s Trail Ridge Road opens up to the public. Typically, this tends to fall on Memorial Day weekend, just as it did this year.

Rocky Mountain National Park Closes Part of Trail Ridge Road Not 48 Hours After Opening It

While this is certainly good news for Rocky Mountain visitors, the park warned that the road’s opening isn’t set in stone. In fact, just two days after opening the road, officials had to reclose it at the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park and at Rainbow Curve on the east side of the park.

“Winter storms are impacting Rocky Mountain National Park at higher elevations with snow, wind, and icy,” the park explained.

Earlier, when Rocky Mountain first opened Trail Ridge Road, it announced that the region was due for winter weather this weekend.

“However, because weather conditions may change rapidly, and winter weather is forecast for higher elevations this holiday weekend, including freezing temperatures and some snow accumulation, park visitors should be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly…” the park shared.

Hopefully, visitors heeded this warning and made backup plans for any trips to this region of Rocky Mountain National Park. In the meantime, it doesn’t seem that the frozen forecast will stick around very long. The area should be seeing much warmer weather by the end of the week. This will perhaps give Rocky Mountain officials a chance to once again plow and reopen Trail Ridge Road.

Rocky Mountain Implementing Timed Entry Permit Reservation System

While Trail Ridge Road may be a moving target for Rocky Mountain, there is at least one constant that visitors can count on. Starting May 27, the park is requiring timed entry permit reservations to gain access to the trails and attractions.

Like many national parks, Rocky Mountain hopes that this system will reduce the amount of overcrowding that occurs in popular areas. This will create less stress for the environment as well as the staff.

“Visitor crowding and congestion have led to increased negative impacts to visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience and operational capacity,” the park explained. “Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability. The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.”