Good news for me at least the Big Thompson Canyon is open for the summer season. This cuts off 25 minutes each way to Estes Park. Some construction is still going on but traffic is moving through with little delay. I took a trip to Wild Spirits Gallery in Estes Park to stock photographs for the summer season and check to see if the Bighorn Sheep were in the canyon. We did spot several Rams not far off the road but the pull off was full of vehicles backing in and out causing a dangerous situation. Needless to say i continued on my way.
From what I could see it looks like another record breaking visitation year for Estes and RMNP. The streets were filled with people and parking was at a premium. It seems like every where we go within the National Park system the same scenario exist. At one time there was a shoulder period in the Spring and Fall but even that seems to be disappearing. With the growth on the front range of Colorado I can only anticipate that this will only get worse. It's probably only a matter of time before some additional regulations such as limiting the number of cars going into the park or busing will take place. It was estimated that 50K visitors were in the Estes area on July 04 weekend.
I didn't go into the park this trip the lines at the entrance were quite long. Hope to get up there again in a week or two as the Elk should have there summer coats and should be close to full velvet. We are having a hot summer this year a lot of 90 degree days on the front range. Fire season is here again hopefully people will be careful as they camp and have cookouts. If you go to the park you will find a large number of wildlife have moved to the higher elevation. Keep a watch out for Bighorn Sheep and Elk as you travel along Trailridge road. Also depending on conditions there can be some beautiful groups of Alpine flowers. I will keep you updated on conditions when I make my next trip in a week or two.
Added are some images of what you might see on your trip up Trailridge road. Have a great summer and be careful out there.