Rocky Mountain National Park Is About to Undergo ‘Major Construction’

by Jon D. B.
ESTES PARK, CO - OCTOBER 28: U.S. Park Ranger, Paul Larson, mans the Fall River entrance station at Rocky Mountain National Park Tuesday morning, October 01, 2013. The park closed Tuesday morning due to the government shutdown. (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Beginning October 31, Rocky Mountain National Park (ROMO) is set to take on a major overhaul of the iconic Fall River Entrance.

The park enthusiastically announced their plans for a “new and improved entrance station at the Fall River Entrance” today. One of two major entrance stations on the east side of the park, the Fall River Entrance is located on U.S. Highway 34, just inside the park boundary.

As for why, ROMO states that the entrance was “originally designed for summer operations nearly 60 years ago.” As it stands today, “the facilities at the Fall River Entrance Station no longer meet the safety or operational needs of the park,” their media release continues.

Back when the Fall River Entrance station was designed, the Rocky Mountain National Park received approximately 1.5 million visitors per year. But that number would triple to over 4.5 million annual visitors by 2019. “Improvements are needed” as a result, the park says.

Chiefly, ROMO hopes to “improve visitor access and convenience, reduce traffic congestion, and provide a safe and efficient space for park employees” with the Fall River project. Yet as overdue as this major construction is, visitors should prepare for closures and intense delays/traffic around the iconic entrance.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Fall River Entrance Will be Down to ‘Only One Lane’ During ‘Major Construction Project’ Thru June 2023

Firstly only one lane at Fall River Entrance will be operational to enter the park, and one lane to exit, during the “major construction project,” ROMO announces.

As a result, Park visitors are strongly encouraged to avoid the Fall River Entrance and use the Beaver Meadows Entrance during construction. Visitors should also expect extended wait times at both major east side entrance stations.

The project will be a lengthy one, too. ROMO officials don’t expect the project to be completed until “late June” of 2023, “weather and resources depending.”

But it’s all in the name of those long-overdue improvements. According to the park, the new and improved Fall River Entrance will feature the following:

  • A fast pass lane will be added
  • Road widening which should improve visitor wait times and experience while entering through the Fall River Entrance
  • A new office and three kiosks, with proper ventilation, will be constructed
  • A new entrance sign will be installed which will include a small formal parking area

Needed improvements outside of visitor’s sight will also happen simultaneously. An additional project will also rehabilitate and replace components of the wastewater and water systems. In addition, a culvert crossing Fall River Road is severely deteriorated. It does not meet 100-year flood standards, Rocky Mountain National Park adds. So “it will be upgraded and replaced during this project as well.”

The Fall River Visitor Center will remain open during construction. Winter hours are 9 am to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

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