The National Park Service reports that Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is expected to open for the season on May 22 — weather permitting. That last part is a given in the mountains, but it’s always worth repeating for newcomers. The Estes Park Trail-Gazette reports that the road is already open as far up as Rainbow Curve, about 12 miles into the park. It’s a particularly great overlook (my favorite) and the perfect destination/turnaround point for those wanting to experience the road but not go all the way to the Alpine Visitor Center. Many’s the time I’ve grabbed a drive-thru lunch in Estes and taken it up to Rainbow to enjoy. And it was the usual destination for my joy rides when I was staying in Estes and had a sudden urge for a little altitude. (If ever a drive typified “joy ride,” this is it.) I confess, though, that I was never up early enough to see a sunrise like this, captured two days ago by Erik Stensland. The early bird gets the great photos. (I know, I know, I sound like a Stensland shill, but hey, it’s not my fault he takes all the best pictures of the places I love.) My photos from the same overlook are typically taken in the afternoon.
For current road conditions in the park, see the National Park Service’s Road Status Report.