Trail Ridge Road - Opening Day 2015

May 31, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest continuous paved road in the United States. It usually opens on Memorial Day Weekend, but due to inclement weather, didn't open until Friday the 29th of May. I heard on the news that morning that the road had opened, and hoped in the truck to take a look.

Rock Cut, Trail Ridge RoadRock Cut, Trail Ridge RoadTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

Running from Grand Lake on the west side to Estes Park on the east, Trail Ridge winds across the high alpine tundra, with its high point at 12,183 feet above sea level. As you can see from the photos, it's still winter up top! Trail Ridge Road 3Trail Ridge Road 3Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

The road was open, but required a bit of fortitude to drive past the towering snow banks in addition to steep drop offs.

Trail Ridge Road 5Trail Ridge Road 5Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

 

 

The Alpine Visitor Center was closed, workers were still digging it out from its winter blanket. They carved a sign into the bank nearby to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Park.

100th Year Anniversary, in snow100th Year Anniversary, in snowTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

 

Alpine Visitor CenterAlpine Visitor CenterTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

Alpine Visitor Center SnowbankAlpine Visitor Center SnowbankTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. The view to the mountains to the west was magnificent, snow showers moving through adding drama to the scene.

Trail Ridge MajestyTrail Ridge MajestyTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

 

On the trip back down the west side towards Grand Lake, the view of the Kawuneeche Valley was superb.

Kawuneeche ValleyKawuneeche ValleyTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

And these trees, their tips just freed from the winter snow pack, looked relieved to be out in the air again.

Free at Last!Free at Last!Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015

Lead MountainLead MountainLead Mountain in the Never Summer Range, from Trail Ridge Road

 

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

Trail Ridge RoadTrail Ridge RoadTrail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on opening day, May 29th, 2015


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