Plan for heavy weekend traffic on I-70, likely closures in Glenwood Canyon

Travel Advisory

August 28, 2020 - Northwestern Colorado

Glenwood Canyon Smoke

I-70 MOUNTAIN CORRIDOR ― Motorists should plan for heavy traffic on Interstate 70 this weekend and will encounter closures in Glenwood Canyon due to continuing repairs and weather impacts. Denver metro motorists heading into the mountains should expect variable conditions as well. A hazardous weather outlook has been issued for the central mountains, including I-70 and much of the Western Slope. The forecast includes rain and the potential for heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, which could cause mudslides, debris flow or rockfall onto I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Burn areas from the Grizzly Creek Fire have increased vulnerability for mudslides and rockfall. It is possible that any of those impacts could require a safety closure in the canyon. Ongoing repair work to power poles, by Xcel, will also likely require closures on Saturday in Glenwood Canyon.

I-70 reopened on Monday after an extended closure due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. In addition to likely closures, motorists in Glenwood Canyon should be prepared for reduced speeds and no stopping in the canyon. Rest areas and the bike path continue to be closed for public safety.

Highway closures can last for as little as a few minutes or for as long as several hours. When drivers set out on a trip, especially through high country roads or the I-70 mountain corridor, it would be wise to have the car supplied with an emergency kit. The kit should contain at the very minimum: water, snacks, flashlight, and a blanket. Remember to also carry water for your pets if you’re traveling with animals. You may even consider packing some items to keep you or children occupied while waiting in the car. Activity books, colored pencils or a deck of cards can help pass the time.   

I-70 Glenwood Canyon Fire Map


CDOT recommends that travelers plan for alternative routes to I-70 when there is heavy rain in the forecast, in order to be prepared for a closure. Expect delays when using detour routes and possible construction impacts on US and state highways. Recommended alternative routes will help travelers arrive at their final destination (see below). CDOT urges motorists to avoid relying on navigation apps that may take motorists on forest roads and over mountain passes. 

  • Through traffic: CDOT recommends a southern detour route, due to construction on commonly used northern alternate routes. Drivers should anticipate additional traffic on these routes. CDOT has paused some construction projects in order to accommodate detour traffic. CDOT discourages travelers from using highways north of I-70 as a through route, due to construction zones (even if projects are paused during the closure).

  • WESTBOUND I-70: Denver metro area motorists can travel on US 285 to US 50, and continue west to Grand Junction. Travelers on I-70 can use CO 9 to US 285 south to US 50, or usus CO 91 southwest to US 24 to US 50.

  •  EASTBOUND I-70 : Motorists traveling from Grand Junction can use US 50 east to US 285 and continue to Denver. Eastbound travelers on US 50/285 may also use US 24, CO 91or CO 9 for destinations at or near Vail, Copper Mountain or Silverthorne. 

  • Independence Pass: CO 82 between Aspen and US 24 is open with limited access and alternating traffic, controlled by flagging personnel. Motorists are advised that only passenger vehicles, such as cars, SUVs and vans are allowed. No commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), camper trailers, recreational or similar vehicles are allowed. A 35-foot length restriction is in place. Motorists should expect slow speeds, lengthy travel times and potential delays of up to two hours if traveling over Independence Pass. Campers and recreational vehicles are strongly advised to seek alternate southern routes. 

  • CDOT asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass, Hagerman Pass, or other county or forest service roads in Eagle and Garfield counties as a detour. These roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles. 

Colorado Highway 14 remains closed from west of Cameron Pass and Walden (Mile Point 61) for eastbound traffic and at Rustic and County Road 69 (MP 97) for westbound traffic due to the Cameron Peak Wildfire. CDOT recommends detouring north on US Highway 287 or Interstate 25 to Laramie, Wyoming, and then traveling on Wyoming Highway 230 to Walden, Colo.

CO 14 Cameron Fire Map

The Williams Fork Fire in Grand County is burning near US Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 9, north of I-70, but is not impacting state highways at this time.


CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s multimodal mobility options.