One day earlier than average, the National Park Service closed Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The highway through the park is one of Colorado’s premier destinations and travelers won’t be able to drive it again until next spring.
Drifting snow, powerful winds and dangerously cold temperatures have settled in for the season as the Northern Hemisphere descends further into autumn.
In a statement park superintendent Vaughn Baker said, "We continue to get snowfall at high elevations combined with strong winds. The snow will continue to blow and drift at higher elevations, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous.”
The average date of the annual closure is October 23 making this year’s even one day earlier than normal. It isn’t until the last week of May that crews are able to safely clear away snow to allow travel over it during the spring and summer.
U.S. Highway 34 reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet at its highest point and affords breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. Eleven miles of the road are above 11,500 feet with few guard rails.