Trail Ridge Road

June 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest continuous paved road in the United States. Running from Grand Lake Trail Ridge RoadTrail Ridge RoadTrail Ridge Road on the west side to Estes Park on the east, it winds across the high alpine tundra, with its high point at 12,183 feet above sea level.

 

 

 

 

Clouds and MajestyClouds and MajestyClouds and Majesty

The environment up top is a windswept alpine world, similar to those found in the Canadian or Alaskan Arctic. It's normally windy and 20 to 30 degrees colder than Estes Park or Grand Lake.


Strike ZoneStrike ZoneStrike Zone

 

 

The views are excellent, sweeping north to Wyoming, east across the Front Range cities and Great Plains, and south and west into the Rockies.

 

 

 

 

View from Alpine Visitor CenterView from Alpine Visitor CenterView from Alpine Visitor Center The Alpine Visitor Center is a great place to stop and take in the awesome views in every direction. Handy for pit stops, there's also a gift shop and informative displays.

 

The Trail Ridge area tundra is a place of

Longs Peak from Trail RidgeLongs Peak from Trail RidgeLongs Peak from Trail Ridge

vibrant life and vivid colors. Pikas, marmots, ptarmigans and bighorn sheep are commonly seen. About 200 species of tiny alpine plants hug the ground. Despite a growing season that may last just 40 days, many bloom exuberantly, adorning the green summer tundra.

 

 

Alpine SunsetAlpine SunsetSunset and alpine glow over the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park

 

Longs PeakLongs PeakLongs Peak Longs Peak, 14,259 feet above sea level,  is one of the 54 mountains with summits over 14,000 feet in Colorado. It can be prominently seen from Trail Ridge, as well as from the Colorado Front Range.

 

 

 

Lights on Trail RidgeLights on Trail RidgeCar lights on Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

 Driving over Trial Ridge at night brings its own rewards. The stars seem so close you could touch them, owing to the thin alpine air. The traffic is much less too, though watch for elk and deer jumping into your path!

 

Trail Ridge is only open from around Memorial Day at the end of May, until fall snows close the road for the winter, usually in mid-October. Plan ahead, check with the Park Service, and have a great trip!

http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/trail_ridge_road.htm

for a map, click this link:

http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=romo&parkname=Rocky%20Mountain

 

Galaxy Over Longs PeakGalaxy Over Longs PeakMilky Way over Longs Peak in the distance, from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

 

 


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