Old Fall River Road

Chasm Falls on Old Fall River Road

One of the first pullouts is Chasm Falls where a short steep trail leads to a nice view of these falls that drop about 30 feet or so.

STATUS:  Closes for Winter Oct. 7

Old Fall River Road is:

  • 11 miles long
  • One way uphill  (means no oncoming traffic)
  • Fall River Pass is 11,796 feet above sea level
  • Speed limit is 15 miles per hour

Old Fall River Road

This motor nature trail, constructed in 1921, was the first auto route in Rocky Mountain National Park offering access to the park's high country and was the first route over the Continental Divide. It follows a route traveled long ago by Indian hunters who came for the abundant game.

State convicts built the three-mile stretch of road to Chasm Falls with only hand tools!

Today it is a one-way gravel road that runs between Endovalley and the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass. It is narrow and has many switchbacks (hence trailers or vehicles over 25 feet are not allowed) but it is a beautiful and safe drive.

There is a map available at the entrance of the Old Fall River Road that points out many interesting sites and geological areas on your way to Fall River Pass.

The road continues along its narrow path offering views across the valley of Sundance Mountain high in the alpine tundra. The road climbs up out of the trees to the Fall River Cirque, the starting point of a glacier that carved the steep chasms of the Fall River valley.

Many varieties and colors of wildflowers grow along the road. Also, be sure to watch for elk, deer, bighorn sheep and marmots when you get above tree line.

Group of Big Horn Sheep along Old Fall River Rd

The Park Service does not plow this road except for the last portion near the Alpine Visitor Center.

Each year after the snow melts, the road is graded before it is open for vehicle traffic.

Opening date for the Old Fall River Road is usually around the 4th of July.

Snow usually closes it in late September or October to motorized travel, but it is open to snowshoeing and cross county skiing during the winter.

It is open to bicycles and leashed pets starting early in Oct  - November 30, re-opening for them on April 1.

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