(CBS4) – Memorial Day weekend usually brings the beginning of the heavy summer travel season, especially for those who love our mountain passes. The COVID-19 pandemic means many of those passes will be not be open for that first “emotional” weekend of summer, but the Colorado Department of Transportation is working to get them reopened over the next few weeks.

Cottonwood Pass, 12,126 feet
Reopening Date: June 1
From the summit of Cottonwood Pass to the west of Buena Vista you are treated to gorgeous views of both sides of the Continental Divide. It usually opens in late May. Last year construction had it closed for times over the summer in 2019 but the plan is to have it open for the 2020 season on June 1.

Guanella Pass, 11,669 feet
Reopening Date: Undetermined
Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant is another favorite summer and fall drive taking travelers through a number of distinct environments. Again, the goal is to have it ready for travel Memorial Day Weekend but the state’s safer-at-home orders means that won’t happen this year.

Independence Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen

Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

Independence Pass, 12,095 feet
Reopening Date: June 1
The goal is always to open Independence Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen the Thursday before Memorial Day. This year it’s been pushed to June 1.

Kebler Pass, 10,007 feet
Reopening Date: OPEN
Kebler Pass between Crested Butte and the Paonia area is one mountain pass that will be open for travel Memorial Day Weekend. It opened at noon Thursday but CDOT does warn, you should expect rough, muddy spring conditions.

Mount Evans, 14,265 feet
Reopening Date: Early July
It’s the highest paved road in the nation and the goal is to open Mount Evans Road as soon as the snow is cleared. Last year it didn’t open until June because of the late season snow. This year the pandemic will keep it closed until at least early July in an effort to reduce crowding at the peak.

Trail Ridge Road, RMNP

Trail Ridge Road (credit: CBS)

Trail Ridge Road, 12,183 feet
Reopening Date: Undetermined
Trail Ridge is the highest continuous paved road in the nation. The National Park Service maintains the road, which usually includes determined plowing in May to get the road open for Memorial Day weekend. Rocky Mountain National Park is in the process of a phased reopening but those plans do not currently include Trail Ridge Road.

For the current status of the seasonal roads above, please check the cotrip.org website or call 511.

Raetta Holdman

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