Trail Ridge Road opening delayed by recent snows
This is why you need to call RMNP and/or the weather report before you go:
Closed – Report from RMNP 5/29/22: Trail Ridge Road has closed again at Rainbow Curve on the east side and Milner Pass on the west side due to winter weather conditions (snow, ice and poor visibility) at higher elevations on the road.
Opened – Report from RMNP 5/27/22: Because of the heat wave this weekend, the Trail will be opened from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but a reservation is needed. Expect water turning to ice on the road. The visitor center is expected to open on Memorial Day. Call their recorded status phone line at (970) 586-1222.
Closed – Report from RMNP 5/26/22: Mother Nature has provided some beautiful wet spring snow for Rocky Mountain National Park snowplow operators to contend with the last week at high elevations along Trail Ridge Road. We are grateful for the much needed snowpack and moisture! On schedule last week to open the road for the Memorial Day weekend, park snowplow operators are now plowing 2 to 5 foot drifts from Rock Cut to the Alpine Visitor Center located at 11,796 feet. The road is still closed for now at the top.
SEE BELOW for TIMED RESERVATION INFO
Controlling park usage for good, high goals
While most parks in America saw an increase is visitation during the pandemic, the biggest national parks have seen the combination of more visitors and more problems with pollution get out of control in the past decade. The reservation system was their response to this, and it is slowly making things better.
In 2021, the timed-entry reservation system was modiﬁed to address the inadequacies of the previous year’s program; and again in 2022 (it is still considered a program in progress). In 2022, reservations will be required from May 27 – October 10, 2022. Initially, 25 to 30 percent of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through recreation.gov. These are expected to sell out quickly. Reservations required 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. (and for Bear Lake Rd. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Visitation management measures have been in place since 2016 – everything from limiting traﬃc along the Bear Lake corridor to increased shuttles have been tried to help with the congestion, traﬃc, inability to ﬁnd parking, and more. But it wasn’t enough; in 2019, the Park’s visitation numbers of 4.6 million made it the third most-visited national park in the nation. This also affects the facilities wear-and-tear and the increased number of staff needed.
“I’d like to say our staﬃng levels have kept up with the increase in visitation, but it has not,’ said Kyle Patterson during a question-and- answer period after a public presentation held on May 25, 2021. This meeting was part of public outreach about long-range visitation strategies in Rocky.
“Our base budget that we get from Congress has seen a very ﬂat situation over the past 10 years,” said Rocky’s superintendent Darla Sidles at that same meeting. “This ﬂat is essentially an erosion of our budget,” about 14% over that time. Staﬃng has decreased by 16% as well, while visitation has increased by more than 40% since 2012.” (these quotes were taken by reporters from Rocky Mt. Day Hikes. See their full ARTICLE which has an extensive study of the problem over the past several years; and many photographs of crowds in the Park.)
Go HERE for ticketing info
The reservation system will begin on May 27, 2022.
The price for a one day entry has increased from $25 to $30. All other prices are the same.
Driving Directions: take US Hwy 36 toward Estes Park, CO. It is approximately 25 miles from Lyons. There are two entrances to the Park, plus the Bear Lake Rd. area (and Lilly Lake Trail). From mid-October until late May, Trail Ridge Road (in the Park) between Estes Park and Grand Lake is closed to vehicles.
In 2021, the BUSTANG CDOT bus picked up people in three spots along Hwy. 36 (including Lyons) and took them to the RMNP Park shuttle bus stop in Estes Park. We will publish an article with 2022 details.
NOTE: We had a related article a month ago, in April, with a link to the reservation page. This is just a reminder, as well as passing on a very informative article to our Readers. Some tickets are held back for same day purchase. See their page for more details.