Fall River Road
Larimer County, Colorado
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Nearby Towns: Estes Park
Trail Length: 10.9 miles
Elevation: 9,016 to 11,828 feet
There is an exit off of I-70 that goes to Fall River Road -- that is NOT this trail. This trail is in Rocky Mountain National Park, just inside the entrance from Estes Park.
It is a one-way trail that connects Estes Park to Trail Ridge Road. It is usually a wide and smooth dirt road, and the trip is possible in a passenger vehicle. There are often minivans on the trail.
It provides some amazing views of the mountains in the park, and there are a few wide turnouts where you can hike down to the river. There are also a couple well-maintained hiking trails that leave from the trail, and these are well-marked.
The best part comes when the trees start to thin and you get above timberline. Then the trail is very often a shelf road as you climb up to the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Fall River Pass. The dirt road ends here as you find yourself in a large, paved parking lot.
This visitor center is easily accessible from Trail Ridge Road on the other side, but Fall River Road is a great way to get there. The visitor center offers lots of information about the area, a gift shop, clean pit toilets, and a great opportunity to get above timberline in nearly any vehicle.
This trail is definitely a good one if you really want to see Rocky Mountain National Park.
From Estes Park, take Highway 34 towards Rocky Mountain National Park. Follow signs to Old Fall River Road.
Meet at the large public parking area just inside Estes Park.