Trail Ridge Road to fully open Friday, weather permitting
Trail Ridge Road’s long winter closure could be coming to an end this Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Officials from Rocky Mountain National Park confirmed Monday that current plans are to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the official summer opening of Highway 34, also known as Trail Ridge Road, through the park this Friday. Weather permitting, the ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at noon at the Alpine Visitor Center.
The 48-mile stretch of highway through Rocky Mountain National Park, running from Grand Lake to Estes Park, has the unique distinction of being the highest continuous paved road in the United States and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet at its highest point.
This year’s seasonal opening tracks closely with the park’s historic opening date for Trail Ridge Road, which is typically held over the Memorial Day weekend. If Mother Nature plays along Friday and National Park Service employees are able to open the highway, it will beat last year’s opening date by one week.
In 2017, the road officially opened for the summer on May 31, a Wednesday, which was slightly later than the 2016 opening date of May 28. In 2015, Trail Ridge Road opened on May 29. The opening dates for the past four years have all been well behind the 2014 opening date of May 23. It is not uncommon for Rocky Mountain National Park to close the highway overnight after initially opening the road as it did in 2014, though park officials have made no mention of potential overnight closures expected in 2018.
The earliest date that Trail Ridge Road has opened for the summer was in 2002 when the highway became accessible to through traffic on May 7. The latest date Trail Ridge Road has opened was on June 26 in 1943.
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