Colorado Road Closures

Colorado road closures are a frequent part of life in the Centennial State. Check road conditions before you drive, especially in the winter.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Road maintenance, construction, and severe winter weather can cause frequent road closures in
. Some Colorado road closures are temporary, lasting from hours to days, but others are scheduled for entire seasons, requiring some creative navigation in the winter
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How to check for road closures in Colorado

Road closures are a common part of life in every state, whether due to accidents, road maintenance, or weather conditions. But they’re often difficult to anticipate—and without advance warning, a road closure can set you up for serious delays. 
Stay ahead of road closures by going to
, the travel alerts site managed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (
). You can check the website anytime for live information on Colorado road closures, including a description of the cause, information on open and closed lanes, and estimates of when the closure will end. 
To get live updates easily, you can even subscribe for COTrip alerts. You can also call 511 for road closure information. 

Rocky Mountain National Park road closures

With its high elevations and difficult road conditions, Rocky Mountain National Park is subject to frequent road closures. 
If you’re planning to drive through the Rockies, particularly during the winter, it’s a good idea to check the National Park Service
for up-to-date information on road conditions and any closures
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Six Colorado roads that close in the winter

Most Colorado road closures, such as those caused by accidents or construction, are temporary. But Colorado’s unique mountain climate requires the CDOT to close certain stretches of highway on a regular schedule each year. 

1. Mount Evans Highway

Closed from: September to the Friday before Memorial Day
Highest elevation: 14,130 feet
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
, which runs 28 miles from the Idaho Springs Visitor Center to the summit of Mount Evans in the Front Range of the Rockies, is the highest paved road in North America. The portion of the road above Summit Lake closes each year on the day after Labor Day, followed by the whole road above Echo Lake by the end of the month.  

2. Trail Ridge Road

Closed from: November to May
Highest elevation: 12,185 feet
The Arapahoe called the trail across the Rocky Mountains near Grand Lake taienbaa, or “where the children walked”—because the path was so steep that children couldn’t be carried and had to walk on their own
Trail Ridge Road
follows part of the same route over the Continental Divide. This breathtaking 48-mile segment of US Highway 34 was the first high road through the park, and it remains a popular scenic drive—but only during the summer months. 

3. Cottonwood Pass

Closed from: November 1 to June 15
Highest elevation: 12,126 feet
Straddling the Chaffee-Gunnison county line in south-central Colorado’s San Isabel National Forest is
Cottonwood Pass
, the third-highest road in Colorado and a wintry no-man’s-land from November to early summer. A three-year project to improve the road ended in 2019. 
MORE: 12 pros and cons of living in Colorado

4. Independence Pass

Closed from: November to the Thursday before Memorial Day
Highest elevation: 12,095 feet
Central Colorado’s Sawatch Range is home to the highest peaks in the Rockies—and to
Independence Pass
, a historic mountain pass that connects
with the eastern side of the Continental Divide. Hairpin turns and steep climbs make this section of CO-82 treacherous in the winter, so the CDOT closes it each year. 

5. Kebler Pass

Closed from: November to May
Highest elevation: 10,007 feet
Unlike most of Colorado’s scheduled road closures, Kebler Pass isn’t located in Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, it’s not even a paved road. This gravel pass, which starts at Crested Butte in Gunnison County, follows Gunnison County Road 12 and closes each year under the county’s public works administration. 

6. Virginia Dale Rest Area on US-287

Closed from: November to May (before Memorial Day)
Highest elevation: 7,034 feet
What’s so special about Virginia Dale Rest Area? Nothing much—but it’s a popular stop for travelers to and from Wyoming since it’s located close to the state line. The CDOT made the decision to close the rest area annually in 2012 to avoid the dangers of frozen water pipes and slippery roads, and it’s shut down temporarily every year since. 
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It’s absolutely possible to drive through Colorado in the winter, but you’ll need to take some precautions. Equip your vehicle with
snow tires
if possible, check the CDOT’s
tips for winter driving
, and pay close attention to driving regulations for the I-70 mountain corridor.
If you love apps as much as Jerry, you can download the CDOT’s
COTrip app
for easy access to information about Colorado road closures.
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