Trail Ridge Road is the name for a stretch of U.S. Highway 34 and is the highest continuous paved road in the United States. Also known as Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway, it traverses Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park, Colorado in the east to Grand Lake, Colorado in the west.
Trail Ridge Road is closed during the winter, and often remains closed until late spring or early summer depending on the snowpack. It requires access to Rocky Mountain National Park even for local residents.
Route description 
Late-summer tundra well above the treeline along Trail Ridge Road
View of Trail Ridge Road from a hill above the Ute Trail, nineteen miles from the eastern end of the highway
The wooden poles mark the edge of the road for the spring snowplowing. The road is closed through the winter. 
From Kawuneeche Visitor Center at the park's Grand Lake Entrance, Trail Ridge Road follows the North Fork of the Colorado River north through the Kawuneeche Valley. There are several trailheads along this section of the road, notably the Colorado River Trailhead, which is the western terminus of the road segment closed during the winter.
The road crosses the Continental Divide at Milner Pass (elev. 10,758 ft/3,279 m) and reaches a maximum elevation of 12,183 ft (3,713 m), near Fall River Pass (elev. 11,796 ft/3,595 m). Near the highest point on the road is another pass, Iceberg Pass (elev. 11,827 ft/3,604 m).
Trail Ridge Road - elevation profile, screenshot from Google Earth
Fall River Road was the first road into the park's high country. It opened in 1921 and quickly proved inadequate for motor travel as a single-track road with steep grades (up to 16%), tight curves and a short annual season due to snowpack. Construction began in 1929 and was complete to Fall River Pass by July 1932, with a maximum grade of 7%. The road was complete through the Kawuneeche Valley to Grand Lake in 1938. The route followed what was known to local Arapaho Indians as the Dog Trail. Internal opposition to the construction of a road through the park's alpine tundra was overruled by National Park Service director Horace Albright, who wished to encourage park visitation. The road was designed to intrude as little as possible into the landscape, in accordance with Park Service design principles.
Hidden Valley (or Ski Estes Park) was a local ski area attraction from 1955 - 1991, off of Trail Ridge Road, now in defunct status.
See also 
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