Winter road closures being lifted
Memorial Day Weekend is not the only sign that winter is really over when the high pass roads are open for the season, and where plows do their work, RVs will soon follow. The amount of plow power and man hours to open key routes over the Rockies are really quite staggering. No time to add them here, but a quick search can lead you to the stats and the stories. Here are some key highways of interest to road-trippers. In addition to these paved highways numerous unpaved state, county and Forest Service routes in the high country are not yet open.
In Colorado, the three signature high-country roads are open for Memorial Day Weekend: Independence Pass(CO 82) between Twin Lakes and Aspen; Trail Ridge Road (US 34) through Rocky Mountain National Park between Estes Park and Grand Lake, opened today with the annual ceremony on the west side, and the Mount Evans Road (CO 5) from CO103 between Evergreen and Idaho Springs is open and once again fee-free. For the first time since 1997, visitors can make the 15-mile drive for free, thanks to the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition which been battling the U.S. Forest Service over what it believes are illegal fees for access to public lands. Don’t expect this victory to extend to units of the National Park Service, which unlike the Forest Service, are not “land of many uses” and rely on visitor fees and concessionaires for revenue.
Other mountain states (Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Montana) also have seasonal road closures — notably Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming and Montana), where openings of Dunraven Pass within the park and the Beartooth Highway at the northeast entrance have been delayed. In northern Montana, Going-to-the-Road in Glacier National Park is still being plowed out.