National Park Service plow operators began clearing the snow from Trail Ridge Road in the middle of 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 at the Alpine Visitor Center. (Courtesy photo, Rocky Mountain National Park)
Crews are working feverishly on snow removal on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, racing to open the popular, well-traveled, sight-seeing highway by Friday, in time for Memorial Day weekend traffic.
National Park Service snow plow operators, using a variety of heavy equipment, including plows and front-end loaders, carving through 20-foot-deep sections in some spots, began clearing snow from the high-altitude 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 at the Alpine Visitor Center,” park officials said in a news release.
Crews encountered an average to below-average snowpack on most sections of the road this season. Drifts, however, were similar to most past years ranging in height from 10 to 20 feet high in some locations.
Trail Ridge Road, built in the early 1930s, covers 48 miles between Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. An 11-mile stretch of the road takes drivers and travelers above timberline (11,500 feet), and the highway’s high point tops out at 12,183 feet above sea level, according to the park service.
Spring sunshine and rain from recent storms have helped whittle away some the snowpack, aiding crews.
Park officials urge the public to “stay tuned” for the impending opening.