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Trail Ridge Road won’t reopen in time for Memorial Day this year due to snow, officials say

Welcome to springtime in the Rockies, folks. Sorry not sorry
Trail Ridge Road May 15 2024 Courtesy RMNP.JPG
Posted at 10:57 AM, May 23, 2024

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK – Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. for most people, but in Colorado, it’s the reopening of Trail Ridge Road which lets us know warmer months are soon upon us.

Not this year, though.

“Due to ongoing and forecasted winter weather conditions at higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road will not be opening this holiday weekend,” said Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

Snowplowing operations at one of the most renowned roads in the country have been underway since mid-April, but this month’s snowstorms, which have brought additional white powder accumulation, as well as significant wind resulting in deep snow drifts and freezing cold temperatures and ice have hampered those efforts, Patterson said.

Closure points for vehicles on Trail Ridge Road are at Many Parks Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side, she added.

Trail Ridge Road’s complex history and incredible views inside Rocky Mountain National Park

Though access points for hikers and bicyclists will vary based on weather and road conditions at the park, people making the trek should prepare for high wind gusts, snow accumulation, deep drifted snow and ice above tree line, Patterson said.

Any visitor parked in traffic lanes or blocking access gates will be cited and towed, and anyone traveling past pedestrian and bicycle closures will be cited, she said.

The road, which spans the entirety of the park, partially closes every year through the winter due to winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below-freezing temperatures that occur above 10,000 feet.

Trail Ridge Road was never meant to be an all-season road, with 11 miles about 11,500 feet, few guard rails and no shoulders.

Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. In 2023, it reopened on May 26.

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