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Old 08-24-2012, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,463 posts, read 10,399,996 times
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A friend and I were thinking of going to Rocky Mountain National Park next week and trying the Old Fall River Road.

Just how scary is it?

Some people say you need a high clearance vehicle, others say that's nonsense. I'd b driving a Buick LaCrosse. What's the truth?

Any other comments welcome.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,901 posts, read 9,665,859 times
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Having not been on that road for many years, I Googled it and found many pictures and videos. Also looked at Trip Advisor. There were comments from people who drove it recently and everyone said it was quite safe and doable in a regular car. If you are comfortable driving your car on dirt roads, then you should be fine.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:46 AM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,232 posts, read 8,395,972 times
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In my experience, it is not particularly scary. Can be done in a standard sedan car if very careful, and road is dry. Some switchbacks are tight enough you may need to back up a little and hit it twice. The road is one-way, uphill only. Don't overload the car, and expect to scrape bottom a few times.

Some pictures at this site will give you an idea
Search Results: "Photograph: co0304" - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress)
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Wink Old Fall River Road

The Old Fall River Road in RMNP is perfectly passable in an average passenger vehicle.

Something that has been lowered, or a Corvette, would have to pay particular attention, but even they could do it. In other words, it is fairly well graded, without much in the way of deep ruts or larger rocks providing the chance to scrape the vehicle's underside. Nevertheless, if unfamiliar with this type of road, good practice is to straddle any rut encountered rather than put a wheel into it; if a somewhat larger rock, do the opposite: put a wheel over it if necessary, but keep it away from the center of the vehicle. But on that road, this is largely academic advice.

There is a length limit, which basically precludes RVs and anybody towing something; if in doubt, check with the Park Service in advance. From where this road leaves the pavement it is 9 miles one-way uphill to the far end entering the parking lot of the Alpine Visitors Center. During the season often only beginning in late June to July this road is open 24/7 until it closes with the first decent snow, something like September/October.

It is a popular route with more traffic than one might expect. As said, it is only one-way, so once begun you are in for the duration. It is relatively narrow, with about the only places to pass slower vehicles (and some of them will be driving slower than one might expect) the occasional turnouts, assuming they are decent enough to let one past. Expect to keep the windows and vents closed if following someone, due the dust. It is by nature with a low speed limit anyway, so just plan on settling back and enjoy the scenery. Less traffic will be encountered during weekdays, and the least from near twilight until early morning.

It is not a route recommended for the faint of heart when it comes to mountain driving. Some will just question anything that is all dirt. Other than that it is largely fine, and a fairly easy drive. But there are a few tight switchbacks, and a few sections (without guardrails) where it would be a very bad idea to drive off the side of the road—and into space.

Your Buick will be fine. If no issue with decent dirts roads in general, or some of the more *interesting* sections of paved Trail Ridge Road, then no worries with this road. Consider that once it was the only path across.

Shortly after this road begun, one will come to Chasm Falls, where the Fall River next the road drops down through a rock defile in some interesting waterfalls. It can be worth a look, with a parking area there for people often stopped, and a trail down from there to next the water.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, CO
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Just drove Fall River Road last month, it was gorgeous and you could definitely do it in most any car. It's one way (UP) so not scary at all. Beautiful drive!
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:44 AM
 
Location: fresno
1 posts, read 2,192 times
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'm also thinking of going traveling through the Rocky Mountain in the middle of next month. -- just moved back to california from. Wisconsin. I want to get the stuff I have in storage up there and drive back home with it. I dont have alot of stuff. Got rid of most of the big stuff, i plan on driving my friends Chevy trail blazer n pullin a. U'Haul trailer.'Now do you think we will be able to take that route. I'm all excited to go. on a road trip but since i 'been planning our route im getting worry. I dont want to.be puttin
g us at danger when were suppose to be havin, fun. If someone can answer, greatly a'ppreciated it. Are give, me another route.,"
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:46 AM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,038,392 times
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Wink Trailers - not so much, or at all

It would be preferable if, once at Estes Park, you left the U-Haul safely parked and continued with only the Chevy over Old Fall River Road.

It isn't much of a detour, and once at the Alpine Visitors Center you could easily double back to Estes Park and your U-Haul via paved Trail Ridge Road. Then, you could elect to continue on west via another route, or back over the full length of Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake and beyond. Probably plan on a good half day spent on doing the Old Fall River Road loop.

If electing to travel west via Trail Ridge Road, you may wonder why anyone would do it with a trailer. They do not allow commercial vehicles, such a semis, but one does occasionally see that towed, such as a boat. But if attempting the Old Fall River Road with a trailer, quickly finding out why it isn't a good idea (or—I'm fairly sure—allowed).
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:30 AM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,232 posts, read 8,395,972 times
Reputation: 7186
Thumbs down Fall River - not with a loaded trailer

Quote:
Originally Posted by priscillaoc View Post
'm also thinking of going traveling through the Rocky Mountain in the middle of next month. -- just moved back to california from. Wisconsin. I want to get the stuff I have in storage up there and drive back home with it. I dont have alot of stuff. Got rid of most of the big stuff, i plan on driving my friends Chevy trail blazer n pullin a. U'Haul trailer.'Now do you think we will be able to take that route. I'm all excited to go. on a road trip but since i 'been planning our route im getting worry. I dont want to.be puttin
g us at danger when were suppose to be havin, fun. If someone can answer, greatly a'ppreciated it. Are give, me another route.,"
Please, don't even think about the Fall River road route with a loaded trailer. The grades are too steep and the switchback/hairpin turns are too tight. If you want a "Rocky Mountain" experience, considering using I-70 thru Colorado, but go over the Continental Divide by way of Loveland Pass instead of thru the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Unless you particularly wanted to "do" Rocky Mt National Park, then stick with US34/Trail Ridge Rd thru the park. That route will be interesting enough without risking the Old Fall River Rd. In which case I hope you have lots of time, and gas money, to make the trip
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
22,463 posts, read 10,399,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed303 View Post
Please, don't even think about the Fall River road route with a loaded trailer. The grades are too steep and the switchback/hairpin turns are too tight. If you want a "Rocky Mountain" experience, considering using I-70 thru Colorado, but go over the Continental Divide by way of Loveland Pass instead of thru the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Unless you particularly wanted to "do" Rocky Mt National Park, then stick with US34/Trail Ridge Rd thru the park. That route will be interesting enough without risking the Old Fall River Rd. In which case I hope you have lots of time, and gas money, to make the trip
Yes, I have a difficult time imagining towing anything over Old Fall River Road...and I'd actually hate to tow anything over Trail Ridge Road.

Last week I went over Loveland Pass...for the fun of it. I have to admit that I pity the truckers with hazardous cargo that have to use that road! It's not that bad on the "west" side, but there are a few spots on the "east" side that give one pause.
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