Old Fall River Road

Estes Park, Colorado (Larimer County)

Last Updated: 07/16/2021
5 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 06/25 - 10/05
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Length: 9.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 11796 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Estes Park
Nearest Town w/ Services: Estes Park
Official Road Name: Old Fall River Road
Management Agency: National Park Service
District: Rocky Mountain National Park
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Old Fall River Road
Old Fall River Road, or Dog's Trail by the Native Arapaho, is a historic roadway crossing through Rocky Mountain National Park. It was built between 1913 and 1920 by 38 convicts from the Colorado state penitentiary, resulting in it being the very first motor route to cross the park. Following the construction of Trail Ridge Road in 1932, Old Fall River Road was designated a one-way route and continues to be today. Your journey up Old Fall River Road and around the slopes of Mt. Chapin, will take you through three of the life zones, or ecosystems, that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Awarding you one of the best journeys through the park you will have, in my opinion. You will not forget your journey along this historic road. So take your time, drive it slow, and get out and enjoy what it has to offer.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Old Fall River Road

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( EASY )

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Waypoints

1. Start (0 mi)
Take the right side of the fork to begin your journey along historic Old Fall River Road. The left fork will take you to a picnic area alongside Fall River, where you can enjoy the birds and the sound of flowing water while you enjoy a snack or just relax before starting your journey. You may wish to take the opportunity to stop for a moment and pay the $2 cash and purchase the Guide to Old Fall River Road. Available from a self-serve post on the north side of the roadway, before the gate.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 40.414252, -105.655204

Starting Point: Estes Park

From Estes Park: Take highway 34 or highway 36 west and into the park. Passing through either the Fall River or the Beaver Meadows park entrances respectively. Travel either 3.6 miles from the Fall River entrance or 4.8 miles from the Beaver Meadows entrance. Turning west onto Endovalley Road and continuing straight for 1.8 miles to Waypoint 1. From Grand Lake: Travel north on highway 34 for 39 miles. Turn left at Deer Ridge Junction, continuing on highway 34 for another 2 miles. Turn left onto Endovalley Road and continuing straight for 1.8 miles to Waypoint 1.

Camping

Not allowed

Trail Reviews (12)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open for the season!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
The fire closure is no longer in effect. However, the trail is no closed for the winter season.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
The trail is currently closed due to fire activity from the Cameron Fire.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made our way up this trail easily in our Tundra (those of you who were behind us, sorry we were sight seeing). There were a few sedans navigating this trail too. Definitely a great little trail for those (like us) Who were just looking to get our feet wet with experience. The trail was well kept and maintained. Some narrow spots, but still enough room to maneuver. Cant wait to come back next year and find more trails to explore!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Really nice drive. Saw a bull moose on the trail. We did do this in the rain which made the last part of the road up near the top a little more exciting but it wasn't too bad. This is definitely doable with any AWD/4WD vehicle with a little bit of clearance. There were some ruts on the corners where a passenger car may get hung up.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Wife and I took a Labor Day weekend trip to visit Estes Park and took the opportunity to drive the road/trail. I agree that this is a must drive if you are going into the park and will be in the area. No special vehicle or equipment required. I didn't see, but you could even do this on a full dresser Harley if you wanted to with ease. There are plenty of places to stop and get out of the way to sight see. Given that we were there on a Holiday weekend, it was almost bumper to bumper for most of the trip. Get the book at the beginning of the trail. It is $25 to get into the park so be prepared, then the $2 honor system payment for the book.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Old Fall River Road is a one way well maintained road through Rocky Mountain National Park. The views from the road are amazing, with plenty of pull offs to take in the views around you.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Man it was a wonderful view and a great easy trail that can been don’t in 2wd and low rider. Absolutely the best was to go through the park. Route was heavily traveled so it’s no secret. Just pay the park en

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Was great! Got stuck behind a few tourists that kept stopping in the middle of the road. used the horn quite often. Besides that the viewes are fantastic!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
How can you go to Estes Park and miss the Old Fall River Road. The high country is in the peak of color change during this autumn season. As we began the journey, it was cloudy with the expectation of a few showers by the late afternoon. We were in for a different result. About half way up the trail, the clouds began to hover over the mountain tops and the temperature made a drastic change. During the first part of the trail, we were able to enjoy the fall gold of the changing aspens. By the time we reached the summit, we encountered heavy fog and our first snow of the season. Park Rangers were waiting for us at the top as they had decided to close the the pass because of the declining weather conditions. It is not yet closed for the season, but just closed during the inclement weather. This was an awesome trip.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We decided to enjoy this years solar eclipse by taking a mountain journey to be able to enjoy the eclipse from high altitude. As part of that journey we visited Rocky Mountain National Park and traveled up Old Fall River Road to the Alpine visitors center. We started with having a nice little lunch picnic at the Endovalley Picnic area, at the start of Old Fall River Road. Where we got to see several beautiful birds and listen to the Fall River flow by. Traveling along the road we got to enjoy a run in with a Yellow-bellied Marmot, hanging out in the middle of the road. When we finally arrived at Marmot Point. We hiked out on the trail to the top of the first hill to sit and enjoy the sights. Where we discovered the sounds of the Marmots chirping away at each other and it echoing around the valley. While enjoying the stop we where awarded with the often missed Pika hanging out and playing on the rocks in front of us. We arrived at the Alpine Visitor Center shortly after 5. Where we found that it had just closed and the temp having dropped nearly 20degs from the clime. So we left and returned back to Estes Park via Trail Ridge Road.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Decided to go for a drive up Fall River Road tis afternoon since it was recently opened after repairs from the 2013 floods in Northern Colorado. While the road itself has not changed you could tell that a lot of work went into repairing some areas, mostly around Chasm Falls. In that area some portions of the road were repaired and the hiking trail itself down to the Falls received a lot of work. What use to be a steep decent filled with loose dirt is now a well manicured trail with steps down to the Falls viewing area. There was still plenty of wild life to see in the area, and the road itself was fairly dust free thanks to all the precipitation we have been receiving in the area. This is definitely a trail/road that is worth seeing if you are in the area. While it is not difficult by any means, it sure does have a lot of beautiful Colorado scenery to see.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Nik Verbeck

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Nik is an passionate overlander, general outdoors person, as well as an avid homebrewer. Taking every chance they can to get outdoors and discover new areas, trails and campsites. When not enjoying the outdoors, you can find them wrenching on the truck, enjoying another great brewery, or working the day job designing computer systems and writing software.
For individual use only, not to be shared.