You are here

Fall River Road

-A A +A
1922. 9.5 miles between Horseshoe Park and Fall River Pass–Trail Ridge Rd. (NR)

The first auto road across the northern Colorado Rockies was begun in 1913 with convict labor and completed nine years later. Because of its narrow track with steep switchbacks and hairpin curves, it was converted to a one-way motor nature trail in 1968. The partially paved route is lined with ruins of three convict labor camps. At the northwest corner of Willow Park is the Willow Park Patrol Cabin and Stable (1924), a two-room saddle-notched log cabin with exposed logs, rafters, and decks inside what were the kitchen and mess hall for Fall River Road construction crews. Near the 11,749-foothigh junction of Fall River and Trail Ridge roads is an enduring piece of Alpine architecture, Timberline Cabin (1925), a small, low-slung, functional pile of local rock with logs and rocks holding down the roof. Fall River Pass Ranger Station (1922) is a 16-by20-foot rubblestone cabin dug into the rocky tundra slope under closely spaced log pole rafters, with a trap door in the roof for access in deep snows.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Fall River Road", [Estes Park, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 238-238.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.