In Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road gives visitors a chance to take a slow and steady trip through one of Colorado’s most scenic high alpine areas. It’s a one-way route east to west, leading from near Estes Park to near Grand Lake.
Old Fall River Road was originally constructed in 1920, offering the first automobile route with access to the national park’s high country. The road was constructed along a path that was originally used by the area’s indigenous hunters. Once Trail Ridge Road was completed in 1933, Old Fall River Road became significantly less trafficked, although it is still maintained and accessible today.
Driving on Old Fall River Road
Fall River Road is a one way road that is primarily gravel. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour, and motorists need to pay close attention to the road’s frequent turns. The road is also very narrow and does not have any guardrails. At the end of the route is Fall River Pass.
Seasonality – Old Fall River Road is closed in the winter. In normal years, the road will open in June and close around mid-November.
Vehicle Restrictions – There are no restrictions on vehicles accessing Old Fall River Road. The route can become crowded and patience is crucial to enjoy the journey.
Activities near Old Fall River Road
The drive up Old Fall River Road is a unique experience, journeying in alpine wilderness on a steady, narrow climb. There are also a few places to stop and enjoy the area’s nature and wildlife. Notably, the Chapin Creek Trail and Chasm Falls are popular stops along the way.
Just before you turn onto Old Fall River Road, there is a picnic area with restrooms, tables, and grills. At the end of your journey, the Alpine Visitor Center sits at nearly 12,000 feet with restrooms, a gift shop, and a cafe. From here you’re back on Trail Ridge Road with fast access both east and west to activities with Rocky Mountain National Park.
Season: June to November
Elevation: Up to 11,796 ft. (3595 m)
County: Larimer County
Mountain Range: Rocky Mountains