Category Archives: Estes Park News

Rocky Mountain National Park Is Open But Trail Ridge Road Closes To Through Travel For The Season!

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Yesterday, October 22, 2013, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed for the season to through travel.   The most popular destinations for this time of year including Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park and the section of Trail Ridge Road along the Kawuneeche Valley are all open.  These are all great areas for hiking and wildlife watching.

Trail Ridge Road, one of the most impressive alpine highways in the United States, is the highest continuous paved road in America and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet.  The road connects the park’s gateway communities of Estes Park on the east and Grand Lake on the west.  Trail Ridge Road is not designed to be an all season road with 11 miles above 11,500 feet and few guard rails and no shoulder. There are winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet.  The road is currently closed at Colorado River Trailhead on the west side and Many Parks Curve on the east side.

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According to park superintendent Vaughn Baker, “We continue to get snowfall at high elevations combined with strong winds.  The snow will continue to blow and drift at higher elevations, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous. During the winter season, weather permitting, we will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.”

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The average winter closure dates for Trail Ridge Road have been October 23.  Although often times the road closes earlier and does not reopen, the previous ten year’s official closure dates are: October 17, 2012, October 27, 2011, October 29, 2010, October 21, 2009, November 6, 2008, October 22, 2007, October 23, 2006, November 4, 2005, October 25, 2004, and November 6, 2003.   The central portion of Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting.  This year Trail Ridge Road opened on May 24.

Trail Ridge Road is now in “winter trail status” which means that bicycles and pets are not permitted beyond the closed gates.  For current road conditions and other park information, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

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Photographs courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park. The photographs are: 1) Alpine Visitor’s Center, 2) near Medicine Bow Curve,  3) between Medicine Bow Curve and the Alpine Visitor’s Center, and 4) Trail Ridge Road.

 

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Alien Cloud Over Twin Sisters In RMNP

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We were on our way to the gym the other morning when I saw this “alien-looking” cloud over Twin Sisters in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Isn’t it cool looking with all its layers? Doesn’t it look like a flying saucer should emerge from the bottom?

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This Little Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel Was Posing For Us In RMNP

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This little Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel was posing for us in Rocky Mountain National Park as if to say, “Take my picture!”

Cute little guy, don’t you think?

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It’s Tough To Photograph When Estes Park Is On Fire.

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Your town is on fire and 8 friends totally lose their businesses in the fire… and many other business friends have smoke and water damage.

I awoke at 4:30am yesterday and started to work. When Mel arose at 5:30, she noticed a huge cloud in the sky. It wasn’t a normal cloud and then she decided it was a fire. After a bit, we also decided that it looked like it was coming from downtown Estes Park.

We quickly got dressed and drove into town (about 1 mile away) and it was the Park Theater Mall on fire. The Park Theater Mall had 8 businesses in the Mall (fortunately, many of the tenants had moved out in the past few months). We were concerned about all our friends that had businesses in the Mall and other businees friends that had businesses surrounding the Mall. And we also had a friend that had a deli sandwich shop and an apartment in the other part of the Mall (on top of the Mall).

We were one of the first people on the scene and it was very difficult to photograph the situation. As other business owners arrived, we bonded with all of our friends.

Fortunately, no one was injured or hurt… and the people of Estes Park are always willing to help out others. That is the one of the great virtues of this town.

The Park Theater (shown as the tallest building in the first two photographs) is the oldest theater in the USA still operating and showing movies. That would have been a terrible loss to history.

The firefighters brought large fire trucks from 4 different cities as Estes Park could not handle a fire of this size.

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