ESTES PARK – Every year, Rocky Mountain National Park snowplow operators begin plowing Trail Ridge Road in mid April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet near the Alpine Visitor Center. The visitor center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. Plow operators normally encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet.
This year snowplow operators have encountered less snow on the west side of the Continental Divide and average snow pack on the east side. The latest spring storms were a result of more up slope conditions, producing lots of snow in places like Longs Peak. As is typical, park plow operators have dealt with days of low to no visibility, wind, drifting snow and icy road conditions.
Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved highway in the United States reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet. The entire road traverses the park for 48 miles. It travels through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, entering a world of alpine beauty and incredible scenic vistas. About 11 miles of the road is above treeline. Trail Ridge Road was completed in 1932 and connects the communities of Estes Park and Grand Lake, Colorado.
Trail Ridge Road is currently open to pedestrians and bicycles above Rainbow Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side, unless posted otherwise due to safety of snowplow operations.
Weather permitting, the road will reopen May 22, 2015. Visit http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/road_status.htm for road status updates throughout the season.