Within Rocky Mountain National Park, Fall River Pass sits one mile west of the highest point on Trail Ridge Road. The 11,796 ‘mountain pass is located on the Great Continental Divide, and is home to the park’s Alpine Visitor Center and Fall River Pass Ranger Station.
The United States designated Rocky Mountain National Park as a protected area in 1915. Five years later, Old Fall River Road was established as the park’s first gravel route designed for automobiles. The road, built by convict laborers, reaches Fall River Pass through a slow, gradual grade containing many switchbacks. Today, the 15 mph one way dirt road can still be driven, although it should be noted that there are no guardrails.
In 1922, the Fall River Pass Ranger Station was built on the pass at the end of Old Fall River Road. It operated for about a decade before being converted into a museum. When Trail Ridge Road was completed in 1932, it became the main access point to Fall River Pass. In 1965, the Alpine Visitor Center opened atop the pass, becoming the highest elevation visitor center in the National Parks network.
Fall River Pass Accessibility
To get to Fall River Pass, you will need to purchase a National Park Pass (either daily or annual). Once you reach Fall River Pass, there is plenty of parking to stop and enjoy the mountain views. There are bathrooms located in the Alpine Visitor Center.
Seasonality – US Highway 34 along Trail Ridge Road closes each Winter. The route to Fall River Pass typically opens in late May and closes in October.
Vehicle Restrictions – There are no restrictions on vehicles that can access Fall River Pass. However, the entire stretch of Trail Ridge Road contains tight turns and steep grades. Drivers should be confident, experienced, and aware of any potential weather conditions.
Activities near Fall River Pass
At Fall River Pass, you can enjoy the views of the Great Continental Divide along the Alpine Ridge or Ute Trails. The Alpine Visitor Center is a great place to stop for food or souvenirs during your visit. The scenic drive continuing along Trail Ridge Road is a favorite among visitors looking to enjoy ample opportunities for photography, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
Season: May to October
Elevation: 11,796 ft (3,595 m)
County: Larimer County
Mountain Range: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Coordinates: 40 ° 26′26 ″ N 105 ° 45′17 ″ W
Access: Trail Ridge Road (US 34)