As snow melts away from Colorado's high country, mountain roads and passes are starting to open for the season.
Mount Evans Highway opened at 8 a.m. Friday, so the public can now (almost) drive their way to the peak of the 14,264-foot mountain. A short and rocky hike will bring visitors to the actual summit.
CDOT crews worked throughout May to clear the 15-mile road of snow and ice. They also worked to repair potholes and fix signage.
Reservations are required to drive up the mountain and park at any of the three developed sites between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. To make a reservation, visit Recreation.gov.
Around 9 a.m. Friday, Guanella Pass ended its annual winter closure. The 24-mile road in Clear Creek County is now open for the public.
"This year is looking good up there. There was about three feet of snow when we started clearing it a few weeks ago," said District Supervisor for Clear Creek County Public Works Fred Nelson. "Every driver going up and over the pass should take their time. You also need to be prepared--the weather can change quickly. Enjoy what Mother Nature has given us. Be kind and have some courtesy to other travelers."
For traffic and other information, call the Guanella Pass Road Information Line at 303-679-2422 ext. 2.
Independence Pass, which splits Pitkin County and Lake County, opened to the public at noon on Thursday. Colorado Highway 82 is now open on both the Aspen side and Twin Lakes side. Because avalanches are common along the pass during the snowy months, CDOT crews have mitigated the dangers, fixed potholes and guardrails and re-striped the roadway.
CDOT worked with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the avalanche mitigation work.
Vehicles longer than 35 feet long are prohibited from the pass due to its tight curves and steep inclines.
Rocky Mountain National Park said Trail Ridge Road also opened Friday at 6 a.m. Visitors should remember that the roads may be icy.
The Alpine Visitor Center is closed until Saturday.
Park staff will close the road if weather conditions become dangerous for driving. Call the park’s Trail Ridge Road recorded status phone line at 970-586-1222 for the latest information.
RMNP has a pilot timed entry permit reservation system that began Friday. Two types of reservations are available in the park now — one for the Bear Lake Road Corridor and one for the rest of the park, excluding that area. Click here to learn more.