Trail Ridge Road is still open. How often does that happen?

I can’t be the only one wondering if this is a sign of the coming climate change apocalypse or just some weather.

staff photo

It’s Nov. 9, and Trail Ridge Road remains open. I can’t be the only one wondering if this is a sign of the coming climate change apocalypse or just some weather.

I can’t answer that big question, but I did ask Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson about the latest date that Trail Ridge Road has remained open. It turns out Nov. 9 isn’t even close to any kind of record, but it’s not exactly common either.

Here, as provided by Patterson, are the years when the road has been open until some date in November.

1934 – Nov. 13
1952 – Nov. 8
1962 – Nov. 10
1964 – Nov. 13
1965 – Nov. 17
1966 – Nov. 10
1976 – Nov. 26
1987 – Nov. 12
1999 – Nov. 22
2006 – Nov. 6
2014 – Nov. 4

The park service plows the road until Columbus Day (Oct. 12), and after that, it’s open only if it naturally stays clear of snow. The road usually closes for the year around Oct. 22.

The latest date the road closed for the season was Dec. 2, 1933, the year after the road was completed in 1932.

There’s definitely a cluster of warmer years in the mid-1960s when the road was frequently open until early or mid-November, but other than that, it’s about once a decade, unless we’re embarking on another cluster.

Weather forecasters think the mountains might see some snow late next week.

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