• Photo of park visitors enjoying sunset from the Alpine Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

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  • Impacts from September 2013 Flood - Old Fall River Road, Alluvial Fan and Trails

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Flood Impacts and Closures

Rocky Mountain National Park received significant damages on bridges, roads and trails during the historic floods that occurred in September 2013. However, impacts in the park were relatively minor in comparison to the disastrous flooding that downstream communities east of the park experienced. The west side of the park was largely unaffected by the storm with flooding occurring only east of the Continental Divide.

Keep reading...to access the interactive map of damaged bridges and trails.

Alluvial Fan and Old Fall River Road
On Monday, July 28, Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will close to all uses including pedestrians, as major repair work begins on the road and the Alluvial Fan bridge. Old Fall River Road received significant damages during the September 2013 flood. The road has been closed since last September to vehicles and bicycles but pedestrians and hikers had been allowed on the road. All other roads in Rocky Mountain National Park are open.

The closure will extend from the east end of Endovalley Road just west of the Lawn Lake Trailhead parking area, to the upper west end of the road to the Alpine Visitor Center. This closure will extend 200 feet from the center line to both sides of the road corridor. The closure does not include the Fall River waterway and bank. Areas affected by this closure may be adjusted as construction work proceeds.

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Sign at the West Alluvial Fan parking lot entrance
NPS
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Debris at Alluvial Fan bridge
NPS
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Looking down at Alluvial Fan from Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road

NPS/Ann Schonlau

Once the construction begins, the best place to view the flood damage in the Alluvial Fan area is from Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road.

Damage to Trails & Pedestrian Access
Note! Due to the flood, backcountry travelers may encounter different conditions than they have experienced in the past. Visitors may find missing foot bridges, missing trail segments, uneven trail surfaces, unstable slopes, falling trees due to soil moisture, rutted trails, damaged water bars and steps, difficult water crossings, and missing directional signs. Be prepared. Route finding skills may be required. Carry a map and compass and other backcountry travel essentials. Most of Rocky Mountain National Park is designated wilderness, where self-reliance, discovery and adventure are expected.

The following information is NOT an inclusive list of all of the flood impacts in the park. If recreating in these areas, please be aware of warning signs and potential hazards. Bridge Out hazards include cold, fast moving water, slippery rocks and logs, risk of injury or drowning.

Fall River Area: Lawn Lake and Ypsilon Lake Trails have significant damage with sections that are missing. The bridge across the Roaring River to Ypsilon Lake Trail is missing. Access to Ypsilon Lake, Fay Lakes and Spectacle Lakes will be difficult during high water.

Alluvial Fan Area: Beginning on Monday, July 28, this area will be closed to all uses as repair begins on the Alluival Fan bridge and Old Fall River Road. The closure will extend from the east end of Endovalley Road just west of the Lawn Lake Trailhead parking area, to the upper west end of the road to the Alpine Visitor Center. This closure will extend 200 feet from the center line to both sides of the road corridor. The closure does not include the Fall River waterway and bank. Areas affected by this closure may be adjusted as construction work proceeds.

Lumpy Ridge Area: There is damage on the McGregor Falls Trail, the Black Canyon Trail, the North Gem Lake Trail and the Bridal Veil Falls Trail. The Bridal Veil Falls bridge has been replaced.

Twin Sisters Area: The large landslide on the west side of Twin Sisters impacted the switchbacks leading to the upper portion of the trail. Aspen Brook Trail received damage.

Northfork Area: The US Forest Service has closed the Dunraven Trailhead to all uses due to significant damage on the trail and bridges. There is damage on the North Boundary Trail and the Lost Lake Trail. Bridges have been repaired on the North Boundary Trail. Bridges on the North Fork Trail and Lost Lake Trail are displaced or missing.

Wild Basin Area: The Ouzel Falls bridge is missing. The spur trail to Ouzel Lake is damaged and the bridge is missing. A detour to Ouzel, Bluebird and Thunder lakes is posted on the trail. The section of trail between Finch Lake junction and Calypso Cascades is damaged. The Sandbeach Trail bridge at Hunters Creek has been replaced.

Bear Lake Area: The bridge across Fern Creek to Odessa Lake has been replaced. There is damage on the North Longs Peak Trail.

To see the map of some damaged bridges and trails, click here.

Trail Closures For Stock Use

Some trails which are normally open to stock use are currently closed due to flood damage. Please see map

Since the flood occurred just prior to the winter season, the first priority will be to replace missing foot bridges, such as the Ouzel Falls Bridge. The exact schedule of this work is still being determined. The next steps will be to assess at what level park staff will "repair" damaged trails. The flood was a natural event which will be taken into consideration as park staff move forward to determine what repairs should be made.

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Backcountry Camping Impacts
Permits are required for backcountry camping. The backcountry office can provide updated information on the status of access to backcountry sites. Call the Backcountry Office at (970) 586-1242.

For more detailed information about flood impacts, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

Did You Know?

photo of wheelchair accessible trail

There are accessible trails which are good choices for visitors interested in adjusting to the park's higher elevations, groups that include young children, visitors with visual impairment and anyone who finds walking on level, relatively smooth paths attractive.