National and State Register

Fall River Pump House & Catchment Basin

Larimer County

Constructed in 1938 to treat water for the Fall River Pass Museum, the Fall River Pump House and Catchment Basin are located in a remote section of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The pump house and basin are typical examples of National Park Service Rustic, a design philosophy blending buildings and structures with their environment through the use of local materials and specific placement that avoids distracting visitors from the surrounding scenic beauty.

A black and white photo of the building made of stone with rows of evergreen trees and mountains in the background.

Fall River Pump House & Catchment Basin (2004 photograph.)

The 1933 opening of Trail Ridge Road created a new era of visitation for the park.  With the opening of the Fall River Pass Museum in 1936 to accommodate the number of new visitors brought in by increased automobile access to the park, a water shortage soon developed at the museum.  Using the new basin to catch water and funnel it towards the pump house, water eventually found its way up a 1,000-foot steep slope to the museum above.  Today, a buried electric line powers the pump house as it feeds water to a 60,000-gallon storage tank, which then pumps the water on to the buildings atop Fall River Pass.  The property is associated with the Rocky Mountain National Park Multiple Property Submission.