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Old 12-10-2013, 03:41 PM
 
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One of the consequences of the historical flooding within northern Colorado in September of this year will be the closure of the Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park throughout the 2014 summer season when it is traditionally, seasonally open.

For those unfamiliar with it, this one-way, more or less one-lane dirt road is the original route across the top of RMNP, preceding the present major route of Trail Ridge Road. Its eastern end begins near the picnic area at the far western end of the Endo Valley. With the western terminus of this road meeting Trail Ridge Road at the Alpine Visitors Center, elevation 11,796 feet.

This dirt road closely parallels the Fall River for much of its length. The Fall River is one of the two principal rivers flowing through the town of Estes Park, the other being the Big Thompson. Together they helped send several inches of water running down the main street of Elkhorn Avenue during this flood. Further upstream, the Fall River, likely in conjunction with tributaries crossing the road, has apparently damaged sections of the Old Fall River Road, thus the necessity of repair and its closure next summer.

Foot traffic may still be allowed along this road during its closure to vehicles. Although if precedence follows form, the NPS will entirely close this road to the public.

As well, one should expect that sections of various hiking trails within RMNP will remain damaged come summer 2014. The popular Fern Lake Trailhead at the western end of Moraine Park, following the canyon of the Big Thompson River, may be one such area. In part because the large wildfire of 2012 burned areas across this trail and to the edge of the river. Combine that with massive flooding, and well . . .

Some further information can be had here:
http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20...d-through-2014
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:05 PM
 
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Re: Old Fall River Road:
More info and photo of some of the damage (due to a landslide) on the RMNP site: Flood Impacts Will Close Old Fall River Road Through 2014 Backcountry Travelers May Encounter Different Conditions - Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Also read this information on Trip Advisor - a member called and spoke to a Park Ranger:
You are still allowed to walk or snowshoe to Chasm Falls on Old Fall River Road this winter. To reitierate, you park at the first (east) Alluvial Fan parking lot. Restrooms are available at the Lawn Lake Trailhead. The restrooms at the West Alluvial Fan parking lot are closed. You must cross Roaring River on foot to get to Endovalley Road for the walk to Old Fall River Road. Round trip distance is less than 6 miles. From the start of Old Fall River Road at the end of Endovalley Road to Chasm Falls is 1 mile. From the east Alluvial Fan parking lot along Endovalley Road to the Old Fall River Road junction is not quite 2 miles.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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Wink Alluvial Fan & access

Mention of the Alluvial Fan raises an interesting point. With, as noted above, implications for travel.

In 1903, some Loveland farmers built a dam on the high mountain lake of Lawn Lake (elevation, 10,987 feet) to significantly exceed its natural capacity, towards their farming enterprises well downriver. Early on July 15, 1982 that long neglected dam suddenly and catastrophically failed (in similar fashion and reason as a portion of the Grand Ditch in the Never Summer Mountains of RMNP in May of 2003), sending a torrent of water down the Roaring River. The resulting flood washed out the dam and some of the works of the original Stanley hydropower electric plant (circa 1909) just west of Estes Park, and doing more damage to the town than the flood of September 2013.

The natural course of the Roaring River was deeply scoured by this event, with that still starkly evident where the Endo Valley road crosses the debris field of large boulders, being this alluvial fan. It is now a popular destination for visitors, with parking lots and trails beginning from either the east or west side. Once past that point, having steeply descended down the mountainside, the Roaring River shortly empties into the Fall River at their confluence in that relatively wide and flat valley floor.

Unfortunately I cannot discover them at the moment, but there exist aerial photos of this alluvial fan, post 1982, then more lately when trees and some vegetation had begin to reestablish itself in this wide rock pile—and then after the September 2013 flood. It could well be that this latest flooding would not have been as severe save for the prior damage to the landscape from the entirely unnatural 1982 flood. These photos, for one, show the meandering course of the Fall River through this meadow as essentially unchanged. But as far as further changes to the Alluvial Fan, it is dramatic: the bridge over the Roaring River that the NPS had been "improving" to no great architectural merit may still exist or not (I haven't personally been there since the recent flood), but the roadway in that area is simply gone. The Roaring River has since assumed a new path, with its principal flow now decidedly to the west of where it formerly passed under the road. A good deal of the reestablished vegetation is once more gone as well.

Presumably the NPS will soon, and by possibly summer 2014, be repairing this road for vehicular access to the far west end of the Endo Valley. But academic in the moment as they customarily plow the road no further than the west parking lot of the Alluvial Fan in winter, closing it for the season at the gates there. Although pedestrian traffic beyond is welcome, and many visitors take the opportunity to walk or cross country ski on down this now quiet path. Getting as far, and across the Roaring River, may however prove something of a challenge at the moment.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
...
Presumably the NPS will soon, and by possibly summer 2014, be repairing this road for vehicular access to the far west end of the Endo Valley. But academic in the moment as they customarily plow the road no further than the west parking lot of the Alluvial Fan in winter, closing it for the season at the gates there. Although pedestrian traffic beyond is welcome, and many visitors take the opportunity to walk or cross country ski on down this now quiet path. Getting as far, and across the Roaring River, may however prove something of a challenge at the moment.
That area has a stunning spotty forest of aspen in autumn.
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