As damage assessments continue in Rocky Mountain National Park in the wake of last week's rain storms, visitors are finding more terrain to access.
On Thursday, the Alpine Ridge and Tundra Communities trails, as well as the Forest Canyon Overlook, all located above treeline on Trail Ridge Road, were opened to park visitors.
Trail Ridge Road also was open to east- and westbound visitor traffic, and the communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park were open and welcoming visitors.
With fall setting in, visitors should be aware that Trail Ridge Road can close at any time due to ice and snow. The route, which crosses the Continental Divide above 12,000 feet, was temporarily closed early Thursday by snow and ice. Road conditions can be obtained by calling the park's recorded status line at 970-586-1222.
Colorado Highway 7 also was open to all traffic, so commercial traffic is once again prohibited on Trail Ridge Road. Due to damage to highways 34 and 36 leading to the park from Loveland and Lyons, Colorado, those wishing to access Rocky Mountain National Park from the east should leave Interstate 70 at exit 243, follow State Highway 119 north from the Blackhawk area to Nederland. Then follow State Highway 72 to Highway 7. Follow Highway 7 north to Estes Park.
As a GPS system might not show this route, you should consider using a paper map.
Visitors coming from the west can take Highway 34 north from Granby to Grand Lake, where you will enter the park via Trail Ridge Road.
Park staff continues to examine the condition of facilities and trails to determine which areas can be reopened. Debris is being removed and facilities cleaned where needed. A Facilities Management team arrived in the park Thursday to begin assessing the scope and scale of the flood damage and risk to park facilities, roads, and infrastructure as an initial step in determining long-term repair and rehabilitation needs.
Nearly all Rocky Mountain National Park employees who were evacuated from in-park housing are now back in their residences.