Rocky Mountain National Park proposes day pass as big price hike looms

The alluvial fan that was created after the Lawn Lake dam failed in 1982 sending water crashing down the Roaring River in Rocky Mountain National Park. The cascading water carried huge boulders and tons of gravel and rock which ripped down tall pine trees before fanning out at the base of Bighorn Mountain in Horseshoe Park, covering Fall River Road and changing the course of Fall River. This is a 2006 photo by Bll Vogrin / The Gazette

Visitors soon will be able to return to a popular area of Rocky Mountain National Park after a $400,000 renovation.

A new trail and overlook at Alluvial Fan, a scenic slice named for the shape it took after major floods, should be ready for phased reopening by the end of the month, park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said. The area closed in July for long-anticipated construction.

"This will be the park's most accessible friendly trail for all user types," Patterson told The Gazette.

The short, paved path — about a third of a mile, she said — will span the rock field of the parking lot's west side and the brief forest to the east, opening up for views of the mountain-backdropped meadow of Endovalley and Horseshoe Falls.

Alluvial Fan was formed by a dam break and flood in 1982. Soon, the area became popular for hikers, leading the park to build an asphalt trail and pedestrian bridge. Those were destroyed by another flood in 2013.

In 2017, then-U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke picked Alluvial Fan to announce public-private collaborations that would total nearly $50 million for maintenance across the national park system. That included at Alluvial Fan.

The government sum of $200,000 for the project is being matched by the park's resident nonprofit, Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

Load comments