What was left of the Grand Lake entrance station office to Rocky Mountain National Park in the aftermath of the East Troublesome fire. (Provided by Rocky Mountain National Park)
The Grand Lake entrance on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and about 10 miles of U.S. 34 from the gate north to the Colorado River trailhead have reopened, ending a closure caused by the East Troublesome Fire in October. The current closure at the Colorado River trailhead is the normal west-side closure for Trail Ridge Road in the winter.
Trail Ridge Road was closed for the season on the east side of the park at Many Parks Curve on Nov. 17. Trail Ridge tops out at 12,183 feet and becomes impassable in the winter due to heavy snowfall. It normally reopens around Memorial Day.
The closure of the Grand Lake entrance effectively shut down the west side of the park for seven weeks, but now there are limited recreational opportunities there.
“Park visitors should not stop or park along the roadside from the Grand Lake entrance to the Onahu Trail due to hazard trees along the road from the East Troublesome fire,” according to a park news release. “There is no access to trails, picnic areas or parking areas along that section of the road including the Harbison Picnic Area, the Green Mountain Trail and the Onahu Trail. The area from the Coyote Valley Trailhead to the north was not impacted by the fire and is accessible. The Bowen-Baker Trail is open inside the park and is closed at the U.S. Forest Service boundary. The Colorado River Trail has reopened to the park boundary. The Timber Lake Trail has reopened. The North Inlet Trail and Sun Valley Trail remain closed.”
Additional areas have reopened on the east side of the park, including the Upper Hidden Valley area and the Moraine Park Campground. The Moraine Park Road is open to the campground but closed beyond there.
Upper Beaver Meadows Road has reopened for foot traffic but is closed to vehicles for the winter.
In the Bear Lake area, access has reopened to Lake Helene from the junction of the Flattop Trail, but trails still closed in that area include Fern Lake, Cub Lake, Mill Creek Basin, Hollowell Park and the Bierstadt Trail. Other areas on the east side of the park that remain closed include the North Boundary Trail, the North Fort trail, Mummy Pass, Stormy Pass, Comanche Peak and the Mirror Lake trails.
The fire ban placed on the park on Aug. 14 has been lifted.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.