Alluvial Fan Hike
The Alluvial Fan Hike is an interesting adventure along the Roaring River. The Alluvial Fan was created in 1982 when the Lawn Lake dam gave away and flooded the area with over 200 million gallons of water. The Alluvial Fan’s boulder and sediment field remain as proof of the dramatic event. Now, the Alluvial Fan Hike is a scenic, accessible adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
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Route Description for Alluvial Fan Hike
The Alluvial Fan Trail is a hike that curious adventurers will enjoy. Track the paved path up to the boulder field and over the newly reconstructed bridge. This excursion is a crowd favorite, so expect to share the path with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. This adventure is a perfect pit stop along the way to another hike, or you could pack provisions and spend the whole day exploring the intriguing natural environment. Note visitors are required to purchase an RMNP pass to explore these trails.
The Alluvial Fan Trail is a wonderful way to get the family out into the fresh air. Stroller and wheelchair-friendly, this accessible path is a popular outing. It is worth noting that there are steep sections, but the level, well-maintained path makes it easily manageable. Stay on the marked path, or if you are feeling adventurous, scramble up the boulder field up to the Horseshoe Falls. Either way, visitors will be rewarded with unobstructed views of the Mummy Range, the Horseshoe falls, and Endovalley along this trail. Make sure your camera is charged because there is no doubt you will want to snap a few photos along this scenic expedition.
Embark on your Alluvial Fan adventure from the East Alluvial Fan Trailhead. Note there is a West Alluvial Fan Trailhead further down the road with more parking. From the East Alluvial Fan Trailhead, track northwest on the Alluvial Fan Trail. Hike up the well-maintained, well-signposted route. As you ascend the path, you will be guided to the Alluvial Fan Bridge. This is a great spot to snap photos of the Alluvial Fan, the Roaring River, the Mummy Range and the Horseshoe waterfall looming above.
You can cross over to the west parking lot from the bridge, but we suggest climbing up the east side of the river. If you are intrepid adventurers like us who crave hiking off the beaten path, then consider scrambling up the boulder field. Notice the roundness and smoothness of the rocks due to abrasion. Climb up the Alluvial Fan for a more up close and personal view of the cascading falls. We could spend hours exploring the boulder field, but that is not everyone’s cup of tea. When you are done hiking around the Alluvial Fan, simply backtrack along the path to the parking lot.
Rocky Mountain National Park Alluvial Fan
The Rocky Mountain National Park Alluvial Fan is a dramatic boulder field off Old Fall River Road in the park. An Alluvial Fan is a fan-shaped mass of rocky sediments and boulders that were displaced due to water travelling at high velocities. The Rocky Mountain National Park Alluvial Fan was created in 1982 when the earthen dam at Lawn Lake gave away and flooded the park and the town of Estes Park with over 200 million gallons of water. The remaining rock sediments and the boulder field are proof of the devastating event. Now, the Roaring River cascades over the boulder fields, making for a scenic adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Insider Hints for Alluvial Fan Hike
- Pack a picnic and eat lunch along the shores of the river.
- Scramble up the rocky terrain to the Horseshoe Waterfalls if you are feeling adventurous.
- This is a popular experience in the RMNP, so if you wish to avoid crowds, we recommend arriving in the early morning.
- Head into the town of Estes Park for a coffee or milkshake at Kind Coffee after your excursion.
Getting to the Alluvial Fan Hike Trailhead
The Alluvial Fan Hike is accessed via Old Fall River Road.
Alluvial Fan Hike Elevation Graph
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Alluvial Fan Hike Reviews
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