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Spring Snowstorm Turns Rocky Mountain National Park Into Winter Wonderland


A snowstorm turned parts of Rocky Mountain National Park into a winter wonderland Friday/NPS

A potent spring snowstorm turned Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado into a winter wonderland Friday, at one point shutting down parts of the park due to avalanche hazards, but in the end creating a mid-winter picture of serenity in places.

More than three feet of snow fell Thursday into Friday, keeping park snowplow operators busy opening roads and numerous parking lots. Park rangers accounted for all wilderness camping permit holders who were camping overnight in the park’s backcountry.

By mid-afternoon Friday numerous roads were reopening on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road reopened to Many Parks Curve. Access to the park from the Fall River Entrance and the Beaver Meadows Entrance also reopened. Bear Lake Road reopened to Sprague Lake. The upper portion of Bear Lake Road above Sprague Lake, as well as the Bear Lake parking lot, were expected to reopen sometime Saturday.

The snow-shrouded Big Thompson River/NPS

Roads still closed Friday afternoon included the Endovalley Road from the U.S. 34 junction, Moraine Park Road from the Bear Lake Road junction to the Fern Lake Trailhead, Wild Basin Road at the Sandbeach Trailhead, and Upper Beaver Meadows Road. Numerous parking lots had not been plowed and were inaccessible.

Trail Ridge Road on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park was open to the Colorado River Trailhead.

More snow was in the forecast for Friday evening in Rocky Mountain National Park; park visitors should prepare for winter driving conditions.

Park officials were warning against travel in avalanche terrainand said visitors planning to hike, snowshoe or ski in the mountains this weekend should carry avalanche safety gear and have associated avalanche safety training and experience.

Park visitors should use additional caution when driving on roads, as wildlife were using cleared roads as easier travel routes.

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