National and State Register

Fall River Road

Larimer County

The district includes an intact segment of the original Fall River Road, along with a variety of historic buildings and structures associated with the road’s construction and maintenance.  The segment runs 9.5 miles from Horseshoe Park on the east to Fall River Pass on the west.  Initially utilizing convict labor, construction on what was the first highway through Rocky Mountain National Park began in 1913.  By September 1920, it was possible to drive from Estes Park to the western terminus of the road at Grand Lake in Grand County.

A black and white photo of the road on the side of a mountain in a heavily forested valley with open fields in the distance.

Fall River Road (1972 photograph.)

Beginning at an elevation of 8,000 feet, and rising to 11,796 feet at Fall River Pass, the roadway included steep switchbacks and hairpin curves.  Two-way traffic was terminated with the opening of Trail Ridge Road in 1932.  Although a rock slide closed the Fall River Road in 1953, it was reopened to one-way traffic in 1968 and now serves as a Motor Nature Trail.  Listed under the Rocky Mountain National Park Multiple Property Submission and the Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks Multiple Property Submissions.