Road Status: CLOSED
- Call 970-586-1222 anytime for up to date road status, especially if weather threatens
- Trail Ridge Road in fall: Latest winter closure was Dec. 2, 1933.
- Average winter closure Oct. 23.
Trail Ridge Road spans the Park and connects Estes Park to the town of Grand Lake on the western slope. It’s the highest continuously paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet.
It is open to vehicle traffic from around Memorial Day weekend until the Park Service closes it in the fall. A Timed Entry Permit is required to drive over Trail Ridge Road between 9am and 2pm from May 26 to Oct 22, 2023.
Temporary closings to the Alpine region occasionally occur in early June or late fall because of snow. It’s usually October before the Park Service gives up fighting the snow and turns the road back to Mother Nature for the winter.
On the east side of the Park, Trail Ridge Road is plowed to get to Hidden Valley for tubing and sledding. If you’re headed to Bear Lake, come prepared with 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive and proper snow tires because road conditions can change rapidly at these higher elevations.
The many turnouts along Trail Ridge Road provide scenic overlooks and tremendous photographic opportunities, day or night.
The night time view from Rainbow Curve is spectacular. City lights from Fort Collins to Denver are visible.
Trail Ridge Road travels through forests, above tree line,and over the alpine tundra. It reaches a high point, then crosses the Continental Divide before winding its way down to the town of Grand Lake.
Visit the alpine tundra
There are lots of trails and short hikes that start off of Trail Ridge Road.
Just west of the high point is Fall River Pass, elevation 11,796 feet. The Alpine Visitor Center has rest rooms, a restaurant and a gift shop.
It can be pretty cool and windy at this altitude, so you’ll want to bring a jacket along just in case.
Many elk, deer and bighorn sheep move to the high country in the summer and can sometimes be seen from the deck of the Visitor Center.
Note about alpine tundra: This is an extremely fragile ecosystem. Please stay on the marked trails. Crushed growth takes many decades to heal.
Visit RockyMountainNationalPark.com for a full, mile-by-mile description of the drive, including important tips for drivers.