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Gravel ride in the famous Rocky Mountain National Park climbing 3000 vertical feet to the Alpine Visitors Center.


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Map Key

9.2

Miles

14.8

KM

Doubletrack

11,791' 3,594 m

High

8,610' 2,624 m

Low

3,181' 970 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Views

Need to Know

Park in any open space once you turn off US-34 (Lawn Lake Trailhead, Alluvial Fan Trailheads, or last in Endovalley). Suggest parking in Lawn Lake to give you about 2 miles of warm up before the climb.

Description

Old Fall River is a legendary, one-way, dirt road build in 1921 as the first route for vehicles up to the summit of the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. There are two basic cycling seasons: summer and early Fall before the snow moves in.

Summer season usually opens July 4 and closes (to vehicles) in mid-October. You don't really want to ride this road during "normal summer hours" because of the amount of cars driven by very nervous tourists. Plan to ride it on a full moon night (lights off) up to the visitor center and back down via paved US-34—the downhill is as fun as the climb! Remember that when the road is open to cars, it is ONE WAY only.

Off season normally starts when the road closes to cars in early October. This is the best MTB/Gravel time to ride as it's open both ways. Fall is best, but know you may hit snow and/or mud (spring is okay in late June, but every year is different).

Also, the wind. It never stops blowing. If you feel a breeze in the treeline, above treeline it will be whaling 40 plus mph—just be prepared with extra layers. By mid November, there is too much snow to ride without some hike-a-bike, but it's still fun if you're willing.

When the road closes to cars in October, the hiking traffic up the first 3-4 miles can be crowded on weekends. Just keep that in mind as you fly back down (suggest a loud bell).

Contacts

Shared By:

wade metzler with improvements by J VR

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 7 votes

#7157

Overall
  4.4 from 7 votes
5 Star
71%
4 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#693

in Colorado

#7,157

Overall
19 Views Last Month
4,234 Since Oct 15, 2019
Intermediate Intermediate

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Photos

Near the Alpine Visitor Center looking back at Old Fall River Road.
Jun 12, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
Climbing along the Old Fall RIver Road switchbacks, looking north toward a ridge near Mount Chapin.
Oct 10, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
Getting ready  to start the 9-mile descent of Endovalley on Old Fall River Road.
Oct 10, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
A hazard of biking Fall River Road in the spring--this was in May 2020 and had to turn around at this point.
Oct 10, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
Coming down some switchbacks on Old Fall RIver Road with some fall colors and Endovalley in the distance.
Oct 10, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
Beautiful views down Endovalley from a gravel bike ride in late May.  This marmot was not impressed.
Oct 10, 2022 near Estes Park, CO
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 12, 2023
Erik Dasbach
Oct 17, 2022
Beck M
30mi — 3h 10m
Jun 13, 2022
Colin Erskine
No cars on this trip because there was a mudslide near the top. lots of snow walls over 11k. 9.2mi
Jun 20, 2020
Cory Beekman
Epic ride. 20mi
Jun 15, 2020
agent-ochre
Recorded 3,104' of climbing :-) Saw a few elk and a deer, but nothing else. 20.4mi — 3h 38m
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