After a longer than usual wait, Colorado’s “Highway to the Sky” has opened.
Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday announced that plows completed their battle on Trail Ridge Road, which traditionally opens Memorial Day weekend. Close to the holiday, pictures showed the Alpine Visitor Center atop the tundra still in winter form, piled high with snow.
The road, the highest and longest of its kind in the country, last opened this late in 2011, when drivers were allowed up June 6. It took until May 31 to open the road in 2017. The latest opening was June 26, 1943.
Trail Ridge Rd open for the season. Due to snowmelt & potential freezing temps, be prepared for icy conditions. No night closures but this could change; be ready to adjust travel plans; call the park’s Trail Ridge Rd status line (970) 586-1222. Alpine Visitor Ctr not open yet. ks pic.twitter.com/UDodSK2sJb
— RockyNPS (@RockyNPS) June 5, 2019
The park still warns of melting snow and freezing temperatures at elevations above 11,000 feet. A press release said visitors should be prepared to change travel plans and be sure to check conditions before driving by calling 970-586-1222. The visitor center is expected to open this weekend.
Meanwhile, the state’s highest paved road remains closed after May storms altered summer traditions in Colorado’s backcountry. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, also known to open Memorial Day weekend, had no scheduled opening as of Wednesday.
The Mount Evans Ascent, annually closing the road for runners in the morning, is scheduled for Saturday. “Keep your fingers crossed maybe (the road) will open Friday,” a U.S. Forest Service staffer was telling callers to the Idaho Springs Visitor Center on Wednesday afternoon. “But no guarantees.”
Colorado’s other 14,000-foot mountain drive, the Pikes Peak Highway, opened to the summit Monday.
Pictures showed drivers surrounded by short walls of snow when Independence Pass opened Friday, a week after its typical season debut.
— Aspen Times (@TheAspenTimes) June 1, 2019
Cottonwood Pass is open to the summit on the east side from Chaffee County, but officials say travelers should expect 30-minute delays due to construction. On the other side near Gunnison, the pass is expected to stay closed until Aug. 12.
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