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“A challenging drive”

Old Fall River Road
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
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.

Thank Gallopingphotog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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306 - 310 of 376 reviews

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.

Thank Amy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

One way so no opposing traffic. Wildlife encounter opportunities are high, especially deer and elk. Dusty but invigorating. Not difficult but not a good place for a radiator to go out!

Thank 33657Ariadne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

First off...for reviewers who didn't like Old Fall River Road - they either didn't do their homework, didn't read the signs, or they are the type of folks who can't share the road and enjoy God's beauty at the same time. It is the only way under the sun that I can imagine anyone not enjoying that trip.

For those deciding whether or not to trek up OFRR for the first time - I will try to paint a vivid picture. OFRR is UNPAVED and ONE LANE in ONE DIRECTION heading UP A MOUNTAIN! Realize that before you start out for a quick Sunday drive. The road is roughly 9 miles to the top and ends near the Alpine Center where you can catch the Trail Ridge Road to decend or to check out the beauty at 12,000 feet. As traffic only moves one direction, once you head up - you are committed. You're in for the whole drive. If this is not for you, to help out those of us who actually enjoy this adventure, please turn back before you start, so that the rest of us can savor the journey. As the road is steep and unpaved, make sure your vehicle is suited for the drive. I have witnessed all types of vehicles on the road, you do not need 4WD, but your car should be in good condition and not over sized.

The road twists and turns, sometimes in extremes, and always up hill. There are no guard rails. The nature of the road itself means this is not a speedy trip. For your safety, and the safety of those around you, please take it slow. The patience is equally rewarded because you get to experience the closest to back country in the mountains as you can get without actually hiking there on foot. The scenery is breathtaking and wild flowers are abundant if you make the trip earlier in the season. (OFRR is only open a few months each year as the snow must melt naturally for safe passage). I will attempt to post some of my many pictures from our drives up the road. There are occasional, narrow pullouts for slower vehicles and there are wider road areas where you can pull out of traffic a bit, if you want to stop for photos or to see wild life passing by. On our numerous trips up OFRR, we have seen elk, moose, marmots and coyotes. Not all at once, mind you, this an accounting over several trips. In addition to the road conditions, as you are traveling up a mountain, realize that you will enter new temperate zones. You may start out in sunny, warm climates below, and end up in snow at the top. This did, in fact, happen to me a couple seasons back. It was actually a hot day below in Estes Park and by the time we reached the end of OFRR we were in cloud cover and it started to snow! This was in AUGUST. So understand the ways of the mountains before you travel them on foot or in a vehicle. In the words of "Bear Claw" from 'Jeremiah Johnson', "you can't cheat the mountain. Mountain's got its own ways". So true.

You need an adventurous spirit and good nature to enjoy OFRR to its fullest as you must employ both on the trip. The good nature of sharing the road, and the adventurous spirit for traveling the switchbacks and unpaved beauty of the mountain. The astounding beauty is what draws me back to Rocky Mountain National Park and to the OFRR year after year. It just never gets old to me. There is something new to discover about the mountain or about myself on each journey.

Share the road and enjoy the trip.

5  Thank Chippi1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

I was younger and had a 23' mini home which wasn't overly large. The sign near the beginning said, "No large vehicles allowed," so I went up the road. About half way up the one way road the air was thin and the motor was spitting and sputtering. I had the camper in low gear with the gas pedal to the floor just chugging and then I hit the cut-backs. I had to back the rear end over the cliffs to make the turn. One cut-back at a time I went. My wife was crying and my kids were crying and hiding under the dinette table. Finally I made to to a flat landing about 1/2 mile from the top. We took a break for dinner, but nobody ate a bite. Looking at the long grade to the peak, I took the air cleaner off for more air to the engine and put it in low gear and waited for the care to clear. I just floored it and hoped for the best. I made it about half way up going about 5 mph and got behind a little sports car I didn't see earlier. I got on his bumper and just laid on the horn for him to get out of the way. I made it to the top and just made it over the top, barely. That was my memory of Old Fall River Road and i never forgot it. No pictures, just nightmares. I may have been scenic but I was to nervous to look. The moral is; read the signs :-)

Thank DeereDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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