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Independence Pass and Trail Ridge Road Reopen

Iconic Trail Ridge Road & Independence Pass Both Open for the Season

Colorado enthusiasts, rejoice! Two of the state’s most scenic routes, Independence Pass and Trail Ridge Road, have officially opened for the season, providing breathtaking access to the state’s high-altitude wonders. 

Here’s an update on both of these famous mountain passes:

Independence Pass Now Open

On May 31, 2024, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) announced the opening of Independence Pass at noon. The annual collaboration between CAIC and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) ensures that avalanche mitigation efforts are completed before the road welcomes travelers. This process triggers controlled slides to ensure the safety of CDOT plows preparing the road.

Independence Pass spans 32 miles between Twin Lakes and Aspen, reaching a summit elevation of 12,095 feet. Travelers should note that oversize and overweight vehicles are strictly prohibited due to the narrow, winding roads and steep inclines. Vehicles over 35 feet in length are not allowed at any time due to several single-lane widths and tight curves.

For current road conditions, visit CDOT’s website or call 303-639-1111. For information on the surrounding San Isabel and White River National Forests, contact the Leadville Ranger District at 719-486-0749 or the Aspen Ranger District at 970-925-3445.

Trail Ridge Road Welcomes Visitors

June 1, 2024, marked the opening of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Known as the highest continuous paved road in the United States, Trail Ridge Road climbs to 12,183 feet and connects Estes Park and Grand Lake. This year, visitors should be prepared for icy conditions due to melting snow and potential freezing temperatures.

The Alpine Visitor Center, Trail Ridge Store, and adjacent parking areas remain closed. Visitors must adhere to barricades and will be cited for entering closed areas. For the latest road status, call the Trail Ridge Road recorded status line at 970-586-1222.

Additionally, Rocky Mountain National Park has implemented a timed entry permit reservation system during peak times. To learn more and secure a reservation, visit here.

As Colorado’s mountain passes open for the season, travelers are reminded to stay informed about current conditions and travel responsibly. Whether marveling at the expansive views from Independence Pass or traversing the heights of Trail Ridge Road, these scenic routes offer unparalleled access to the state’s natural beauty.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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