Where Not to Park in Colorado’s Snowy High Country
It may seem like common sense, but the fact is plenty of folks could use a little help in that department.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has issued some words of wisdom for those who are enjoying Colorado's high country this winter. Be careful where you park!
First of all, you never want to leave a vehicle unattended on the side of the road. For one thing, it's against the law and your vehicle very likely could end up getting towed away.
Another problem with leaving your car on the shoulder has to do with snowplows trying to clear the road. Not only could your vehicle be damaged, but it also complicates an already difficult job for snowplow operators, not to mention creating a potentially dangerous and hazardous situation for them.
Let there be no doubt. Purposely leaving your vehicle alongside the road is a violation of state law.
2) Whenever any… (law enforcement) …. or agency employee finds a motor vehicle... attended or unattended, standing upon any portion of a highway right-of-way in such a manner as to constitute an obstruction to traffic or proper highway maintenance, such officer or agency employee is authorized to cause the motor vehicle, vehicle, cargo, or debris to be moved to eliminate any such obstruction...
2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 42. Vehicles and Traffic
Article 4. Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic
Part 18. Vehicles Abandoned on Public Property
§ 42-4-1803. Abandonment of motor vehicles - public property
Backcountry users may find a safe place to park several feet off the road in an undesignated area. The problem there is your car could become trapped with snow being pushed off the road by the plows.
Avalanche danger is real this time of year in the Colorado mountains, so you need to be aware of snow slide operations and obey closures during mitigation. Additionally, you should never park your vehicle adjacent to snow slide areas, which are always well-marked with signs.
While it may not be terribly convenient for cross country skiers, snowshoers, hunters, and explorers, the best bet is to go to designated parking areas which you can generally find at the summit of mountain passes and near trailheads.
If you enjoy the Colorado backcountry in the winter you need to take advantage of the snow and the opportunity. However, always remember safety first - and a little common sense.