Spring snowstorms and wind-driven snowdrifts delay opening of Mount Evans Highway

Thinking of driving up Mount Evans Highway this Memorial Day Weekend? Not so fast — it’s closed.

Spring snowstorms have cut into the opening, making the road unsafe for motorists, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

CDOT crews will continue snowplow operations on the roadway through next week. Plowing operations are weather permitting and CDOT will announce when the highway, the highest paved road in North America, which climbs to  an elevation of 14,130 feet, opens.

Late spring snowstorms and recent high winds have re-covered already plowed portions of the highway with stubborn snowdrifts, which is why the highway hasn’t opened yet, CDOT said in a news release. When the highway does open, the USDA Forest Service is requiring motorists to Mount Evans Recreation Area to make reservations through Recreation.gov. Reservations are not required for people who are biking or hiking up the roadway. Motorists with reservations for days the road isn’t open because of weather or road conditions will be refunded through Recreation.gov.

Meanwhile, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is now open to motorists on the east side to Rainbow Curve, according to park officials. On the park’s west side, Trail Ridge Road is open to Milner Pass. People can walk or bike past gates, but not past signs posted by road crews. Vehicles parked on the road will be ticketed or towed.

On Thursday, Independence Pass opened for the 2022 season, according to CDOT. Closure gates swung open at noon for the pass on Colorado 82 that climbs to an elevation of 12,095 feet on the Continental Divide. The pass, midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, on the border of Pitkin and Lake counties, is in the Sawatch Range.

Vehicles over 35 feet in length are still prohibited on the pass.

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