Rocky Mountain National Park Flooding

The rain in Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding areas just keeps coming. And with flood warnings in effect all along the Front Range, Rocky Mountain National Park has been closed to all recreational use.
By Staff ,

Gushing waters at Bear Creek in Boulder, CO. Photo by Julie Ellison

UPDATE 9/23/13

RMNP and Trail Ridge Road are open, though access to the park from the east side is limited. The best way to access the park from the east is as follows: From 70 take exit 243, follow State Highway 119 north from the Blackhawk area to Nederland. Then follow State Highway 72 to Highway 7. Follow Highway 7 north to Estes Park. Use of a paper map is recommended.

All trails on the west side of the park are open; trails open on the east side of the park are as follows: Alpine Ridge Trail, Hidden Valley Accessible Trail. All other trails on the east side of the park remain closed as park officials work to clear debris and assess safety concerns on trails.

For more park updates, call 970-586-1206.

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The rain in Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding areas just keeps coming. And with flood warnings in effect all along the Front Range, Rocky Mountain National Park has been closed to all recreational use, including the backcountry, all trails, secondary roads, picnic areas, and park campgrounds.

All visitors have been escorted out, as well as many staff members.

“Our first priority is the well-being of all park visitors and staff,” Park Superintendent Vaughn Baker told The Coloradoan. “The heavy rainfall and flooding of streams and creeks have saturated the soil and made movement in and around the park a significant safety concern. We hope to reopen as soon as the danger and disruption have passed.”

At this time, the heaviest downpour brought 12 inches of water over the course of a 24-hour period, causing significant road closures due to flash flood conditions. Major throughways into Estes Park, Rocky’s gateway town on its eastern side, have all been closed because sections of the road no longer exist, making travel impossible.

Trail Ridge Road remains open, but only for essential travel. This east-west running roadway crosses the Continental Divide, reaching a height of 12,183 feet. The National Park Service posted that only “inbound food service deliveries, emergency resources and Estes Park area residents returning home from the west, and outbound travel west by people who need to leave Estes Park, including local residents and park visitors who were evacuated” may use the road.”

The NPS is monitoring two small dams located within Rocky in order to protect people downstream. Per instruction by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Lily Lake dam, called “the main dam of interest,” received structural repairs last fall. East District Ranger Mark Pita reported on September 13 that “the dam spillway was functioning normally and sending water downstream at full capacity.”