Roaring But Placid


This tranquil looking stream is actually the headwaters for the ominously named Roaring River in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is where the water leaves Lawn Lake and make its way down to the Alluvial Falls, 2,500′ below. The hike to reach this serene location is a rather strenuous 6.25 miles one-way from the Horseshoe Park area of Rocky Mountain National Park.

This was the site of a horrific tragedy. A dam that was built in 1903 used to sit near this spot, but in 1982 the dam gave way. According to the National Park Service, 300 million gallons of water tore down the steep river’s channel. Along the 6.25 mile path it gouged the terrain moving massive boulders and ripping entire trees from the ground. Most of the debris was deposited as the water hit the valley floor of Horseshoe Park. This is what created the beautiful Alluvial Falls, but cost three people their lives.

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