Three trails and some areas of Rocky Mountain National Park on the east side that were impacted by the flood reopened for public use yesterday. Meanwhile, the first of a pair of convoys with heavy equipment essential for infrastructure repairs crossed over Trail Ridge Road from the west side of the park, necessitating a temporary closure of that highway.
Here’s an overview of what’s reopened:
Hidden Valley – The nature trail loop, picnic area, parking and restrooms in Hidden Valley are now open. This site is located along the lower stretch of Trail Ridge Road just off Highway 34.
Lily Lake Trail Area – Most of the Lily Lake Trail and the parking area, vault toilet and picnic area are also open. The trail around the lake received considerable damage, but crews have been able to repair most of the trail. The trail will remain closed along the south end, where trail damage and standing water block safe access. Visitors will be able to walk around most of the lake and then retrace their steps to the trailhead. This trail was originally constructed as an accessible trail for wheelchair use, but is not currently considered accessible. Additional trail improvements will be needed before safe wheelchair use can resume. The Lily Ridge Trail which connects with the Lily Lake Trail is also open.
Deer Mountain Trail - The trail has reopened from the trailhead at the junction of Highway 34 and 36 at Deer Ridge Junction. While there are other trailheads that access Deer Mountain, connector trails have not yet been assessed for damages and all access to Deer Mountain should be through the popular Deer Mountain Trailhead.
All backcountry trails on the west side of the park remain open, but for day use only at this time.
The National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Regional Type 2 Incident Management Team transitioned the flood incident back to Rocky Mountain National Park’s Type 3 Incident Management Team on Tuesday morning. The team continues to assess flood damage, manage stabilization operations and incrementally open park roads and trails as conditions allow.
A nine vehicle convoy of tractor trailers, a truck mounted rock crusher, pickup trucks and pilot vehicles crossed Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday. The photo above was taken as the convoy crossed the Continental Divide at Milner Pass.
The extra wide convoy stretched nearly three football fields in length. Trail Ridge Road was closed to public travel during the morning traverse. The trip covered around 65 miles from Granby to Estes Park. The rock crusher will be used by the Town of Estes Park to create badly needed road base on flood damaged roads.
A second convoy, though smaller in length, will traverse the park this morning, bringing the final loads of equipment to Estes Park. This is a cooperative effort between Grand County, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Town of Estes Park.