The first road in northern Colorado to cross the Rocky Mountains was the Fall River Road. Inmates of the state prison completed the early construction of the road during 1913 in Grant and Larimer counties prior to the Rocky Mountain National Park being established. There was no a lot of progress made by the inmates and during 1920 the road was completed by contractors.
Old Fall River Road was originally an unpaved dirt road and ran up the Fall River Valley from the Horseshoe Park over switchbacks until it reached the Fall River Pass. The pass is at an elevation of over eleven thousand feet and the road leave it going down the mountain's west side until it reaches the Grand Lake. The original Old Fall River Road's surface was a difficult to maintain and travel even though it was a popular route.
The road was buried by avalanches frequently and drivers had difficulty maneuvering on the curves and steep inclines. The Old Fall River Road's eastern half was turned into a scenic one way route they went from Endovalley to the Fall River Pass once the Trail Ridge Road was completed during 1932. The road's western portion was covered by the Trail Ridge Road or abandoned at this time.
Until the completion of the Trail Ridge Road the Old Fall river Road was no longer the only road leading to the Fall River Pass. The National Park Service did restoration on the Fall River Road and paved the lower third portion during 1968. The dirt road now goes one way to the Alpine Visitor Center which is at the Trail Ridge Road's top from the Horseshoe Park. The road is a total of nine miles long and opens on the 4th of July each year.
A map can be obtained of the interesting geological areas and sites in the Rocky Mountain National Park that can be seen when taking the Old Fall River Road to the Fall River Pass. The Chasm Falls can be found along the Fall River Road and has a parking area. Visitors that want to may park and walk to the bottom of the Chasm Falls. There are wildflowers, deer, elk, marmots and bighorn sheep along the Old Fall River Road.
The last portion of the Old Fall River Road located close to the Alpine Visitor Center is the only portion of the road that is plowed by the Park Service in order to remove the snow during the winter. The weather can cause the road to be closed due to it becoming impassible from avalanches and large amounts of snow fall on the road.
Those planning a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park should contact the National Park Service to determine if the roads in the park are travelable. Additional information about the park and a map can be obtained at the Alpine Visitor Center which is found on the Old Fall River Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The park offers something for everyone with the numerous roads, trails, lakes and natural formations making it a place that everyone should visit at least once.