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The two RV Gypsies drove up Old Fall River Road,
a 9-mile dirt road
in Rocky Mountain National Park

September 30, 2012

USA map showing location of Rocky Mountain National ParkColorado map showing location of Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is in the north-central region of the U.S. state of Colorado. It features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments—from wooded forests to mountain tundra—and easy access to back-country trails and campsites. The park is located northwest of Boulder, Colorado, in the Rockies, and includes the Continental Divide and the headwaters of the Colorado River.

sign: Roosevelt National  Forest
the two RV Gypsies at the Rocky Mountain National Park sign

Opened in 1920, Old Fall River Road earned the distinction of being the first auto route in Rocky Mountain National Park offering access to the park's high country. The road is primarily gravel, one-way uphill and punctuated by switchbacks, so it is a slower-paced 9-mile-long road. The old road quietly goes from Horseshoe Park (a short distance west of the Fall River Entrance) through the park's wilderness to Fall River Pass, 11,796 feet above sea level. Not recommended for big RVs.

sign: Old Fall River Road - 9 mile dirt road
narrow, curvy roads, no railing

The posted speed limit is 15 miles per hour, a clear indication that a journey up Old Fall River Road is not for the impatient. There are NO GUARD RAILS along this road. The road itself is safe, but narrow and curved. In places, the trees of the montane and subalpine forests are so close that Karen was able to reach out the truck window to touch them.

curvy road, fall foliage on Old Fall River Road
fall foliage on Old Fall River Road
fall foliage on Old Fall River Road
fall foliage on Old Fall River Road

Notice the edge of the road - a sharp drop-off, no railings

sharp drop-offs on Old Fall River Road
sharp drop-offs on Old Fall River Road

GRADE: The road climbs to Fall River Pass on steep grades sometimes reaching 16%.

TURN RADIUS: The two RV Gypsies had to negotiate 16 switch-backs with radii as tight as 20 feet. Lee had to backup on one turn, because their toad is a long pick-up truck.

ROAD WIDTH: The road width rarely exceeds 14-feet, too narrow for cars to pass safely. That is why it is a one-way road. Passing turnouts are provided, but these were few and far between.

ELEVATION GAIN: The roadway was largely built out from the hillside. In the steepest places, multiple switch-backs were stacked one above the other.

PULLOUTS: Few pullouts are provided to allow motorist to stop; some are located on switch-backs, making the curves even more difficult.

The two RV Gypsies touch the trees as they drive Old Fall River Road
good thing it is a one-way road

fresh snow is on the mountains

fresh snow is on the mountains
fresh snow is on the mountains

Looking over the cliff edge at the valley below

Looking over the cliff edge at the valley below
Looking over the cliff edge at the valley below
Looking over the cliff edge at the valley below
Looking over the cliff edge at the valley below

A bit of fog

 
a bit of fog
snow on the mountain
snow, hail, cold, curvy road on Old Fall River Road
snow, hail, cold, curvy road on Old Fall River Road

Despite the fact that the two RV Gypsies were only wearing sweaters, and the temperature had dropped to 35 degrees, they got out of their truck and take photos, while being snowed upon. - 6:19 p.m.

Lee Duquette on Old Fall River Road in 35 degree temperature
Karen Duquette on Old Fall River Road in 35 degree temperature
snow poles and hail
snow on the mountain

The Alpine Visitor Center was closed. The elevation was 11,796 feet. There was a light snow falling, and sometimes hail. The temperature was 35 degrees.

sign: The Alpine Visitor Center
sign: The Alpine Visitor Center - elevation 11, 796 feet

Looking out over the ledge at the Alpine Visitor Center

Looking out over the ledge at the Alpine Visitor Center
Looking out over the ledge at the Alpine Visitor Center
Karen Duquette in the snow Looking out over the ledge at the Alpine Visitor Center
Karen Duquette in the snow Looking out over the ledge at the Alpine Visitor Center

It was time for the two RV Gypsies to head back down the mountain, but they did not have to take the dirt road down because it was a one-way road. The road down the mountain was a paved road, but still curvy with no railings, and much easier to drive on.

time for the two RV Gypsies to head back down the mountain
beautiful scenery

The sun was behind all the clouds and the scenery was beautiful.

The sun is behind all the clouds
The sun is behind all the clouds
 

The Gore Range

sign: The Gore Range
panorama of the Gore Range at Rocky Mountain National Park

Lee said he would not get out of the truck again because it was too cold, but when Karen got out of the truck, he did too.

Lee Duquette filming the Gore Range of mountains

Permanent ice patches on the mountains

Permanent ice patches on the mountains
Permanent ice patches on the mountains

Beautiful scenery. Looking out the passenger SIDE window, Karen saw that the road curves and curves as it could be seen in the far distance.

snow on the mountains
curvy road
a split in the mountain
cold can be beautiful
cold can be beautiful
cold can be beautiful

Now it is time for the two RV Gypsies to return to their RV at the campground, but they will be back in Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow for an entirely different experience with new scenery.

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Please return to the Rocky Mountain National Park MENU to see the park, fall colors, a waterfall, wildlife and more