COLORADO, USA — Summer has finally arrived in the high country of Colorado, and with it comes the reopening of several majestic mountain passes. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and several local authorities are delighted to announce that Independence Pass, Mount Evans Highway, Guanella Pass, and the iconic Trail Ridge Road are now open for public access for the 2023 season.
The CDOT crews unlocked the seasonal closure gates at Independence Pass at noon on Thursday, May 25. The reopening of Colorado Route 82 on both sides of the pass allows visitors to take in the breathtaking views and rugged landscapes that define this high country. The team’s hard work in avalanche mitigation, snow clearance, pothole repair, and roadway striping has ensured the pass’s safe and smooth reopening. However, motorists are reminded that vehicles and trailers over 35 feet long are prohibited due to the challenging driving conditions.
Mount Evans Highway
The Mount Evans Highway, North America’s highest paved road, was also opened by CDOT crews at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 26. Extensive snow plowing and ice clearing along the 15-mile stretch from Echo Lake Lodge to the summit of Mount Evans were necessary to ensure this roadway was ready for public access. Remember, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service requires reservations for visiting the Mount Evans Recreation Area.
Guanella Pass Scenic Byway will officially open for the summer season on Friday, May 26th at 9 a.m. The 24-mile route offers picturesque views and allows visitors to glimpse multiple mountain peaks including Mt. Bierstadt, Mt. Evans, and Argentine Pass. Fred Nelson, District Supervisor for Clear Creek County Public Works, advised all drivers to take their time and be prepared for sudden weather changes. The Guanella Pass Road Information Line is available for traffic and other information at 303-679-2422 x2.
A switchback section of the road leading up Guanella Pass during last autumn.
Trail Ridge Road
Known as the highest continuous paved road in the U.S, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is set to reopen on Friday. Like a number of Colorado’s beloved parks, reservations are necessary for entry. The park, which attracted over 4.3 million people last year, has introduced a timed entry reservation system to manage visitor numbers and enhance the overall visitor experience. Visitors are advised to call the Trail Ridge Road status line at 970-586-1222 for updates on road conditions.
Leave No Trace and Stay Safe
As we welcome visitors to Colorado’s pristine alpine landscapes, we urge everyone to prioritize safety and adhere to ‘Leave No Trace’ principles. When driving along these roads, always be alert for sudden weather changes, as conditions can become hazardous rapidly at high altitudes. Ensure your vehicle is in good working order and be prepared with emergency supplies. While enjoying the majesty of these mountain passes, please remember to take all trash with you and avoid disturbing natural areas. Remember that wildlife should be admired from a distance and that feeding or approaching wildlife is prohibited. Lastly, if stopping for photo opportunities or to enjoy the view, ensure you are in a safe location and not obstructing traffic. We all have a role to play in preserving Colorado’s magnificent natural beauty for future generations.
Enjoy Colorado’s Mountain Passes and Highways This Summer
The reopening of Colorado’s high mountain passes is a welcomed sign of summer and a testament to the hard work of numerous teams dedicated to maintaining the accessibility and safety of these routes. Colorado’s landscape is ready to be explored, and the roads are open to welcome adventurers from near and far.