Fall River Country

Each time we visit Rocky Mountain National Park, we travel the Old Fall River Road from it’s junction with the modern Fall River Road, U.S. Highway 34.  The road is two-way and paved for the first 1.75 miles, passing Lawn Lake Trailhead, Lawn Lake Alluvial Fan, and the Endovalley Picnic Area.   The remaining 9.4 miles is winding, narrow,  unpaved and one-way from the picnic area  to above treeline at Fall River Pass, following the steep slope of Mount Chapin’s south face to it’s junction with Trail Ridge Road.

Old Fall River Road was built between 1913 and 1920.

The Lawn Lake Alluvial Fan is a particularly interesting recent geologic feature.  It was created when flood water and debris rushing down the steep and narrow Roaring River valley from a failed dam at Lawn Lake slowed down when it reached the broader Fall River valley, leaving behind an alluvial fan of debris.  When we first saw it over 20 years ago, the large Roaring River gully scoured by the flow and the alluvial fan were still a fairly fresh scar on the land, with little new vegetation. In the ensuing years, the scar has weathered some and vegetation has moved in.

Additional information on the Lawn Lake Dam Failure, July 15, 1982


Aerial view of Estes Park, July 15, 1982 (USGS)

Colorado, history, landscape, mountains, parks, photography, video
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