A beautiful autumn picnic on the Old Fall River Road
Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado spans the Continental Divide and encompasses protected mountains, forests and alpine tundra. It’s known for the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road, drives that pass aspen trees and rivers. The Keyhole Route, a climb crossing vertical rock faces, leads up Longs Peak, the park’s tallest mountain. A trail surrounding Bear Lake offers views of the peaks.
THE OLD FALL RIVER Road:
-11 miles long, one way uphill
-Fall River Pass is 11,796 feet above sea level
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.
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.
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.
Rocky Mountain National Park.Com
Fall River Road Picnic
Driving the Old Fall River Road is a favorite annual day trip from our home in Ft Collins. Today, temperatures ranged from 69 degrees in Estes Park, to 53 degrees at Alpine Visitor Center at nearly 12,000 ft elevation. Sunny and warm, Sally though it was a perfect day for a steam-side picnic. Fresh pears, locally made Brie Cheese, crackers
Since our grandson’s family would not be with us during this Christmas holiday, Sally proposed a road trip to celebrate her birthday and Christmas with her twin sister Julie in Savannah, Georgia. When older sister Jo disclosed her intention to also join us in Savannah, the trip plan was locked in.
Deciding to take our camper to make a grand sight-seeing / camping tour, we determined to stop in St Louis to visit friend Doris, re-explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit cousin Jackie in Tennessee. On the return from Savannah, we planned to bask in the sunshine throughout the warm sunny south, touring the Natchez Trace, antebellum mansions in Natchez itself and finally do some camping and hiking on the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas.
Most of our plans came to fruition however, due to unseasonable cold weather bringing snow and ice to portions of our intended route, we had to make some changes and regrettably our shorts and sandals never were unpacked.
Driving across Kansas and stopping in Saint louis, we spent a couple of nights with our friend Doris who lived across the hall from us in Shanghai, China.
Continuing on, we arrived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the temperatures began to drop and the clouds rolled in.