Winter knocks in Colorado high country


It’s been snowing in the high country off and on for the last few days, and when the clouds break, the snow is clearly visible from Denver. Up and down the Front Range, skiers and boarders are checking their gear, getting ready to hit the slopes in a few weeks. But not being a skier, I’ve just enjoyed watching the weather via webcam. A fierce wind was scrubbing snow off Niwot Ridge as fast as it fell, and necessarily pushing it into drifts elsewhere. Clouds were streaming over the Divide at speeds I’ve never seen before. And for two days the lens on the Trail Ridge Road cam has been completely obscured with snow.

Throughout it all, however, it had not occurred to me that TRR might actually be closed. At least, not until one of my readers wrote from Florida to tell me about it and about this photo from the Rocky Mountain National Park Facebook page. It’s a snow plow operator’s view as he works to clear 2-3 foot drifts from Trail Ridge Road. Low visibility has also been a problem, and that was easy to see today on the Estes Park webcams; clouds hung low over the valley, obscuring most of the view, and a rain/snow mix was falling.

Park officials say they expect to have the road open again by this weekend and that this is not the season-ending storm (average closing date is October 23). Good news for Estes Park, because this weekend is the annual Elk Fest. The forecast is for sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s in Estes, 70s in Denver. Gotta love Colorado weather.

Meanwhile, snow is falling tonight as low as 8,000 feet.

12 thoughts on “Winter knocks in Colorado high country

    1. 🙂 It’s all relative, I suppose. Denver is the Mile High City, so we start measuring at 5,000 feet or so. And our highest peaks are about 14,000 ft. Snow comes over the Divide and down toward us, so the lower it gets, the closer to Denver it is. My brother lives just west of Boulder at about 8,500 feet, so he was probably getting snow. A bit early for snow so close.

  1. You found it! I thought this was a special point of view; your searching skills are better than some paid journalists & we know your integrity is better, too. Back from sea-level to 300 ft tomorrow… sure hope the snow doesnt mess with elkfest or Denver this weekend! ps, harry potter says hello 🙂

    1. Yes I did, and thank you again. I wonder if I’d know yet that TRR was closed if you hadn’t told me. I just checked several sources and it looks like it is still closed. The weather looks beautiful up there today, so they may yet get the road open before Elk Fest starts tomorrow.

      1. They did it– NPS says TRR opened about 2 hrs ago (little after noon?); they posted a beauty of a still from the webcam & Estes paper posted a clip from an Elk Fest performer. Gosh, wish i was out there instead of airports/planes!

        1. Wonderful news!! It must have been just minutes before that I checked for information and found only that the road was still closed. The Estes webcams showed bumper-to-bumper traffic on Elkhorn, though, so it apparently wasn’t choking off much traffic (most of which probably comes from the Front Range). And the weather today is glorious.

  2. Happy dance: some of that cool showed up here…OK 80 is cool-ish. Wind seems to have blown the mosquitoes off, too. (Now if my head would stop feeling like a bulging water balloon and my ears would unstop…but it doesn’t matter. Bright, sunny and cool-ish…58 tonight! Wooo-whoo)
    And go elk!

    1. I suppose that’s not surprising when you live in a warm climate. But I’d miss it. The seasons weren’t very distinct in Atlanta and I missed them when I lived there.

... and that's my two cents