Highway 34 into Estes Park closing Monday

Flooding in Big Thompson Canyon, Sept. 2013. (Photo: CDOT)
Flooding in Big Thompson Canyon, Sept. 2013. (Photo: CDOT)

Those planning a trip to Estes Park, Colo., and/or Rocky Mountain National Park should note that Highway 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon will close Monday and will not reopen until Memorial Day 2017. The highway was severely damaged in September 2013 flooding and repairs at the time were considered temporary. Construction this winter will include blasting through the mountain in one place to eliminate a sharp bend in the road that washed out in both 2013 and 1976 flooding.

For those traveling to Estes from northern Colorado, Highway 34 is normally the shortest route. They will now have to detour to the south and take Highway 36 from Lyons. CDOT says that will add only 15 minutes to the drive.

Canyon residents will be issued permits for limited access.

UPDATE, May 26, 2018: Construction on Highway 34 is finally complete and the road reopened yesterday just in time for the Memorial Day holiday rush. Thank you to everyone who worked so long and hard to rebuild this important route into Estes Park.

9 thoughts on “Highway 34 into Estes Park closing Monday

  1. YEA! About time – such damage! Parts of some roads were stillscary.
    We were surprise how much road construction was going on all around the area on the back roads last summer. Added a bit to the travel times, we had to constantly be checking what routes were going to be affected and when But didn’t complain a bit about waiting to take turns alternating lanes in some areas. Just glad crews were making use of good weather to fix wht they could.

    1. Brave of you to go through an area with so much construction and delay. I haven’t driven through that canyon since I just missed the ’76 flood there. Was leaving Estes and exited via the canyon. The flood swept through later the same day. It’s all the reason I need to avoid that road, but then, it’s not the most direct route for me anyway.

        1. I never linger in canyons. They’re a necessary evil if you’re heading for the high country, but I keep moving. I would never rent or buy a place in a canyon, or any place I knew had flooded. There are too many alternatives to take the chance. Yes, those mountain streams look and sound wonderful, but they can turn on you so fast …

... and that's my two cents