Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened today, nearly a month later than normal, according to park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.
The road usually opens by July 4 but heavy spring storms piled up so much snow that the opening was delayed until now, the latest in 26 years.
The one-way, dirt road begins at the Endovalley Picnic Area a few miles west of Estes Park and ends at Fall River Pass at the Alpine Visitor Center on Trail Ridge Road at 11,798 feet. Work to build the 9.4-mile dirt road began in 1913 and was completed in 1920. Although it remains narrow and winding, some motorists use it as an alternate route to Trail Ridge Road.
Vehicles longer than 25 feet and those pulling trailers are not allowed on Old Fall River Road. Motorists should expect dust and mud near the visitor center, according to Patterson.
The road likely will close in September for maintenance work. Normally it closes in early to mid-October.
Trail Ridge Road, a paved and more popular route to the visitor center, opened June 6, the latest in more than 20 years.