Trail Ridge Road in Winter

Estes Park, Colorado

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Winter wind and snow close the highest continuous paved road in the country to vehicles and thereby open it to foot travel. Walking a road may seem unappealing to trail purists, but Trail Ridge Road is inches from wild wonder as it climbs to tree line and beyond to the domain of winter wind. Actually, fearsome wind aids the initial ascent from Many Parks Curve by stripping snow from much of the road. But hikers may do well to carry snowshoes or cross-country skis for those stretches where the wind is not so considerate. Large Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir in a classic subalpine forest disappear for a short distance where the road crosses an old abandoned ski slope—a verdant, flower-filled meadow in summer.
Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

by Kent Dannen (Falcon Guides)

Winter wind and snow close the highest continuous paved road in the country to vehicles and thereby open it to foot travel.

Walking a road may seem unappealing to trail purists, but Trail Ridge Road is inches from wild wonder as it climbs to tree line and beyond to the domain of winter wind. Actually, fearsome wind aids the initial ascent from Many Parks Curve by stripping snow from much of the road. But hikers may do well to carry snowshoes or cross-country skis for those stretches where the wind is not so considerate.

Large Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir in a classic subalpine forest disappear for a short distance where the road crosses an old abandoned ski slope—a verdant, flower-filled meadow in summer.

© 2015 Kent Dannen/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Estes Park
Distance: 12
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 9 hours
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office, 1000 US Highway 36, Estes Park 80517; (970) 586-1242; www.nps.gov/romo
Local Maps: USGS Trail Ridge; Trails Illustrated Longs Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Trail Ridge Road in Winter

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Apr 2018