The Old Fall River Road, which ascends slowly through a picturesque corner of Rocky Mountain National Park to near the summit of Trail Ridge Road, will be closed to vehicles throughout 2014 due to storm damage sustained in September.
A good portion of the park on the eastern side of the Continental Divide received significant damage on bridges, roads, and trails in the historic floods that occurred in September.
Damages on Old Fall River Road are extensive and repairs will require that the road remain closed to vehicles through 2014, park officials said in a release.
Old Fall River Road is a historic dirt road built between 1913 and 1920. Due to the winding, narrow nature of the road, the scenic 9.4-mile route is one-way only and normally opens from the Fourth of July to early October. It follows the steep slope of Mount Chapin’s south face.
It is unknown at this time whether hikers and bicyclists will be allowed on the road next year. Park staff are working with the Federal Highway Administration on assessments of the Alluvial Fan area and Old Fall River Road. Cost estimates and design concepts are still being determined.
Elsewhere in the park, repair work has been completed in the Wild Basin parking lot, the Twin Sisters Road, and is nearing completion on the McGraw Ranch Bridge and the Aspenglen Bridge.
Known damage to trails and pedestrian access are mainly in the Fall River, Lumpy Ridge, Bear Lake, Northfork, Twin Sisters, and Wild Basin areas. Some trails are closed to stock use.
Due to the flooding, 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.
Visitors should be prepared. Most of Rocky Mountain National Park is designated wilderness, where self-reliance, discovery and adventure are expected.
The next steps will be to assess at what level park staff will "repair" damaged trails. The flood was a natural event that will be taken into consideration as park staff move forward in determining what repairs should be made.
For more detailed information about flood impacts to trails please visit the park’s website or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.