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Denver/Rockies in early March

Denver/Rockies in early March

Old Nov 2, 16, 2:01 pm
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Question Denver/Rockies in early March

Hi all

I shall be in Denver next March with a spare day and was thinking of driving to the Rockies! But I am wondering what the weather is generally like at that time of year. The national park website simply says "Winter (Dec–Mar): cold weather, deep snow at higher elevations, and seasonal closures of facilities and roads. ".

Anyone know what this means, will any roads be passable? Will any facilities be open? I'm sure you guys deal better with snow than us this side of the pond - more than two flakes and the entire transport network shuts down !!

Cheers
TT
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Old Nov 2, 16, 8:36 pm
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Originally Posted by travellingtechie View Post
Hi all

I shall be in Denver next March with a spare day and was thinking of driving to the Rockies! But I am wondering what the weather is generally like at that time of year. The national park website simply says "Winter (Dec–Mar): cold weather, deep snow at higher elevations, and seasonal closures of facilities and roads. ".

Anyone know what this means, will any roads be passable? Will any facilities be open? I'm sure you guys deal better with snow than us this side of the pond - more than two flakes and the entire transport network shuts down !!

Cheers
TT
March is the snowiest month of the year in Denver - sometimes very heavy, wet snow of 3 feet or more! Luckily, the weather changes often, so the next day it's usually 60 degrees and the snow melts in just a couple of days.

March is one of the best skiing months in the mountains; spring break is the second or third week of March, and the ski resorts are at their peak during this period.

Roads will certainly be passable because we're pretty good at the whole snow removal thing. You can take I-70 up into the mountains, but there's simply no way to know if your spare day will be one with sunny skies, relatively warm temps and beautiful white mountains surrounding you...or blizzard conditions. You really won't know until you arrive.
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Old Nov 3, 16, 9:57 am
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Concur with everything said.
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Old Nov 3, 16, 11:02 am
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Great, thanks for the info. Will see what it's like when we get there and hire a car if the weather's good!

Cheers
TT
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Old Nov 3, 16, 11:56 am
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Just to clarify, it sounds like you're wanting to go to Rocky Mountain National Park which is a specific place within the Rockies. RMNP is beautiful but keep in mind that things like Trail Ridge Road will be closed.

A better option may be just to head into the mountains on I-70 to see mountain scenery. You won't have to go far. However, I would never say that roads will be passable for sure. Storms can and do shut down I70 and other mountain roads on a regular basis. In addition there are specific tyre requirements and restrictions so you should ensure that any vehicle you take into the mountains during a snowfall meet those requirements.
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Old Nov 7, 16, 10:12 am
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If your spare day is on a weekend, you may want to check the Ski Train to Winter Park:
https://www.amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress Even if you don't want to ski, there are other things to do in and around Winter Park (snowmobile, cross-country ski, snowshoe, etc.) I suspect vendors of those activities will help you get from the train station to their location.

The road across Rocky Mountain National Park will, in all likelihood, still be closed for the winter. If you are more into scenery than activities, here is a route that you can do in a day will give you some nice views (if the weather is clear and you are comfortable with a left hand side vehicle): Denver--West on US 6 to Golden--Left turn on US 6 (near Golden) to Hwy 119--Right turn on 119 through Black Hawk to Nederland--Left at traffic circle onto Hwy 72--Left turn on Hwy 7 to Estes Park--East on Hwy 34 (if open and no construction) to I-25 or Hwy 36 to Hwy 66 to I-25--I-25 back to Denver. All cities mentioned above have decent restaurants, tourist sites, etc. Black Hawk and its sister Central City have casinos. From Estes, you can visit the RMNP Visitor centers and probably drive a little bit in the park. Probably will see elk around Estes, but I wouldn't count on other animals. This route (and others suggested above) will likely take you above 3000m elevation, so make sure you have acclimated and are drinking lots of water. Some portions of this route may not have cell service, so keep that in mind.

For the most part and as long as you don't pay ahead, rental car companies here typically are not charging a penalty if you cancel even at the last minute. I suggest you look into making a reservation now, then watching for price drops, rather than waiting until you are here to make a reservation.

Feel free to respond or PM if other questions.

Last edited by TRRed; Nov 7, 16 at 10:15 am Reason: Clarifying
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Old Nov 13, 16, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by TRRed View Post
The road across Rocky Mountain National Park will, in all likelihood, still be closed for the winter.
True, and traditionally true until Memorial Day. However, the road into RMNP will usually be open, subject to the typical March weather non-patterns.

From Denver, that's US 36 through Boulder and Lyons into Estes Park, then US 34 into the park. That time of year, I believe you can usually get to the Alluvial Fan and make the loop back on US 36.
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