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“Not for the faint-of-heart” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Old Fall River Road

Old Fall River Road
US 34, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO 80517
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Type: Scenic Drives
Activities: Driving
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Attraction Details
Owner description: This dramatic and scenic roadway built in 1913 followed an old Indian pathway that climbed over 3,000 feet.
Wichita, Kansas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Not for the faint-of-heart”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013

This drive used to be the only way to get to Grand Lake and to the highway that is the highest continuous highway in the US. From Estes to Grand Lake is just under 50-miles. It's cold at the top! Should be. It is more than 12,000 ft. The view is spectacular. If having the side of the road drop off to hundreds of feet below bothers you, reconsider. Before May or after October may find the road closed because of snow. I've been to the top in July and found snow to play in!

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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93 reviews from our community

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Scarborough
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Up and up and up and up.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

Whoa. Don't like heights? Don't look outside the car then! This road is only drivable one way and starts off on the flat but you soon find yourself ascending the side of the valley, climbing up and up on narrow dirt roads whilst navigating tight switchbacks (and I mean tight, several large 4x4's couldn't make it round them in one swing). The views over the edge are amazing and there's even a few places to pull off and hike a short trail or just take in the view. Be warned that this is not a road you can drive fast and while a 4x4 is not really necessary it sure does help with the ride. If you're doing 15mph on here you're going fast. The road eventually reaches the Alpine Meadow Visitor centre at the summit where a plethora of souvenirs gifts and overpriced food await you, as do simply stunning views of the alpine valley you just drove up the side of. We were in a steady snake of traffic on the way up and it was nice to get out, stretch our legs and then continue on to the paved Trail Ridge Road.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesapeake, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Old Fall River Road - Rocky Mountain NP”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

This is the original road over the Continental Divide thru Rocky Mountain NP, and is accessible in summer via car ONE-WAY (east>west from Endovalley to the Alpine Visitors Center), but until July (normally) is open only for hikers & bikers. Access the road thru the US34 entrance to Rocky Mountain NP and park in the picnic area at Endovalley. Then hike up the road as far as you can without post-holing (every step up to your thighs in snow!) This year on Memorial Day weekend, it was to the 6 mile mark, still well short of the continental divide. Yet this is spectacular scenery, and not to be missed if you're a serious hiker. You'll be walking on dirt & gravel at first beyond the Chasm Falls Trail [closed now (May 2013) for re-construction,] then on patchy snow, and finally, in deep snow. If you're careful, you won't even need snowshoes and can get by with ordinary footwear! But come prepared for changing conditions with extra clothing layers in your backpack, sunglasses, a hat and emergency equipment. Any trek on the Old Fall River Road in late May or early June will normally end in a section of road where you are post-holing every step without snowshoes. Be sure to dress and pack accordingly, with multiple layers, and plenty of water (4oz/mile/person MINIMUM!) & food. Elevation is well above 10,000' so allow more time to hike and be prepared. There's a picture every few steps, so bring a big memory card for your camera as well. You'll enjoy this hike. I ALWAYS do!

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amarillo, Texas
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A challenging drive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

This is one-way heading west, unpaved although it seems pretty well-maintained. But do not even think about doing this unless your vehicle is in good shape (no trailers or humongus RVs) and your driver is very steady and experienced. Steep cliffs and dropoffs.

Visited June 2012
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Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Gorgeous and scary!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

The sweetest park ranger in RMNP pitched this as a peaceful scenic drive for the early morning. She was right about everything except the peaceful part. I spent a great deal of time staring at my feet as my boyfriend navigated distressing switchbacks at approximately 3mph. However, it was one of the very best things I have ever done. The scenery I did see was incredible and we saw pikas and elk everywhere near the top of the mountain. Absolutely amazing experience.

Visited September 2012
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