After a short delay, Trail Ridge Road is now open

The highest continuous paved road in the nation was supposed to open on the Friday before Memorial Day, but a major snowstorm and 75-mph winds pushed that back.

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Trail Ridge Road. Nov. 9, 2016 (Rocky Mountain National Park via Twitter)

Trail Ridge Road. Nov. 9, 2016 (Rocky Mountain National Park via Twitter)

Trail Ridge Road opened for the season today, five days after bad conditions delayed its opening, the National Parks Service announced.

The highest continuous paved road in the nation was supposed to open on the Friday before Memorial Day, but a major May snowstorm and 75-mph winds pushed that back.

The storm on May 18 and 19 dropped about 3 feet of snow at lower elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park and left a cumulative 8 to 14 feet of snow for plow drivers to deal with at higher elevations.

The National Parks Service says visitors should be prepared for icy conditions as snow continues to melt.

The stretch of U.S. 34 connecting Estes Park and Grand Lake — climbing to 12,183 feet along the way — usually opens for Memorial Day weekend. Last year, opening day was May 28. The earliest the road ever opened was May 7, 2002, and the latest was June 26, 1943.

Independence Pass and Guanella Pass are open too. The road up Mount Evans remains closed as of May 31.

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