Estes Park tourists might return this fall after all

Denver’s Channel 9 is reporting this evening that the Estes Park tourist season might not be over after all. Reportedly word could come tonight or tomorrow that Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, and possibly Highway 7 are being reopened to normal traffic.

Click to view video on the Channel 9 website:

Incongruously, a water truck is now being used to keep down the dust on Estes Park streets.

Tourism is the lifeblood of this mountain town, and businesses there are as eager to get tourists back in as the tourists are to get in. The urgency becomes especially apparent in another Channel 9 report this evening:

The businesses aren’t covered by flood insurance, said Dave Callahan, owner of the Irish pub Lonigans. Past floods in the town, including the devastating Lawn Lake flood of 1982, make flood insurance impossible to buy, he said.

The leaves are turning, the elk are bugling, and fingers are crossed. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines …


Weds, Sept 18: The reporter might have been overly optimistic. At the time his report was airing, the Rocky Mountain National Park website said this (at 5:45 pm):

Due to emergency conditions and the need to get vital supplies, including, but not limited to, food and fuel, to the Estes Park area, commercial truck traffic is temporarily being allowed to travel over Trail Ridge Road between Grand Lake and Estes Park. Truck length may not exceed ninety feet. For trucks longer than a bus, an escort will be provided. Other essential travel being allowed includes: community residents, family members of community residents providing support, and emergency services vehicles. No other east bound traffic will be allowed, even for those with advance plans and reservations in the community. Trail Ridge is open to all travel west bound from Estes Park to Grand Lake.

The park continues to be closed to recreational use and the east side is still under an emergency disaster declaration. When the situation stabilizes, crews will begin to conduct damage assessments of park roads, trails, and other infrastructure. Soils are still saturated, trees are falling, and landslides are still possible. Employee safety will continue to be a priority when the assessments begin.

As long as Trail Ridge Road must be used by large trucks to get supplies into town, it seems doubtful the narrow, two-lane road will be opened to normal traffic.

3 thoughts on “Estes Park tourists might return this fall after all

  1. They say “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” but I’m still a bit stunned that things are improving so fast PT. Then again, maybe it’s all the experience from past flooding (of which I was not aware) paying off! 😀

    1. I’m sure they’re hoping against hope, as I am. A lot more photos and videos of Hwy 7 have come out in the last few days and I just can’t imagine it opening soon to normal traffic (usually abnormally heavy this time of year). Plus the flood damage will probably draw a lot of gawkers. On the other hand, maybe they think the very long detour route from the Denver metro will keep the numbers down.

... and that's my two cents