High mountain passes start reopening including Trail Ridge Road, Independence Pass, Guanella Pass

DENVER - Several of Colorado's high mountain passes and roads will start reopening Thursday.

Independence Pass, Trail Ridge Road (Rocky Mountain National Park), Cottonwood Pass, Kebler Pass and other roads close in the fall, depending on the weather.

The Colorado Department of Transportation tries to reopen most of the roads by Memorial Day weekend, depending on weather conditions.

Here's a look at the expected opening dates for several roads and when they closed:

  • Independence Pass, opening Thursday afternoon, closed Oct. 31
  • Kebler Pass, opening Thursday, closed Nov. 16
  • Trail Ridge Road, opening Friday, closed Oct. 1
  • Guanella Pass, opening Friday, closed Dec. 2
  • Cottonwood Pass, opening Friday, closed Oct. 31

Mount Evans Highway is opening Friday, but only to Summit Lake.

"Crews hope to have the rest of the 14 mile stretch of road open in the next week," CDOT said. "Additional snowfall hit the road last night and crews have been fighting winter weather in an effort to reach the top."

CDOT said clearing a mountain pass doesn't just involve plowing the road. Crews at Independence Pass must:

  • Clear avalanche slide paths (up to 12 on Independence Pass)
  • Clear snow, ice and other debris (from slide paths) from the roadway and shoulders
  • Move concrete barriers to clear ditches
  • Haul out loads of rock debris from the ditches
  • Reset barriers and replace any that may have been damaged 
  • Repair/replace signs, guardrail and roadside delineators
  • Trim trees and brush
  • Patch pot holes

Check CDOT's website for the latest road and highway closure information.

Print this article Back to Top