Recreation in the Big Thompson Canyon During Construction

From the City of Loveland Parks and Recreation Department:

Download: Big Thompson Canyon Approved Recreation During Construction (.pdf)



Reconstruction of the US 34 Big Thompson Canyon will require major rock blasting operations this fall and winter. We realize this area is very popular for multiple recreational activities, as well as providing a travel corridor to Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding US Forest Service lands, but please remember that although this first phase of work does not include river work, for the next few years this area will be an active construction zone. Because of this, we are asking outdoor enthusiests to take extra safety precautions. Please be advised that starting in mid October 2016, the lower canyon stretch of US 34 will be closed to through public travel (mile points 76 – 80). Below we have outlined some safety reminders to help you naviatgate through construction while still enjoying your normal recreational acitivies in the canyon.

Prior to rock blasts, a loud horn will sound and it is strongly advised to stay out of this section of the canyon (mile points 76 – 80).

Deer and Elk Hunters
Due to heavy blasting in the lower canyon, please refrain from hunting in portions of the Big Thompson US Highway 34 between Larimer County Road 29 (Carter Lake Road) and Larimer County Road 43 (the North Fork Road) in Game Management Unit 20.

If you are hunting in this area, please make sure to sign up for project updates so that you know when the rock blasts will occur and listen for the loud horn. Hunters are strongly advised to avoid the area.

Travel restrictions and blasting near the stream sections of the Big Thompson Canyon at and below Drake Colorado will make fishing in the lower canyon difficult and, and potentially unproductive due to all of the surrounding construction activity, therefore fishing between Larimer County Road 29 and the Waltonia bridge is being discouraged. Work within the river is not included in the first phase of work and fish will not be disturbed, however heavy traffic and blasting within the canyon does not create the serene mountain fishing experience that other areas may offer.

The upper Big Thompson River from Waltonia upstream to the Olympus Dam is largely intact and the fishing is equal to pre-flood conditions. We strongly suggest that anglers wanting to fish the Big Thompson do so in the upper section. Because of road closures in the lower canyon, access to the upper river is best from Estes Park downstream.

Because of road closures, heavy construction and blasting,the lower Big Thompson Canyon
from Waltonia downstream should be avoided. Crews will sweep the river for recreationalists prior to blasting, however, it is the responsibility of the user to stay out of the work areas.

The Round Mountain – Foothills Nature Trail, located near Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park west of Loveland, is closed until June 2017. The current closure applies to the Foothills Nature Trail portion only. The Summit Adventure Trail will remain open until October 17.

The Foothills Nature Trail portion is closed for the reconstruction of US Highway 34 and the associated blasting occurring nearby. The Summit Adventure Trail (trail to the summit) will be closed by the City of Loveland for maintenance and repairs to the trail head beginning October 17. Both trails will remain closed through June 2017.

Because of the different construction areas and canyon closures, access to offroading areas is not advised via the lower Big Thompson Canyon during construction. Multiple blasts a day are possible, and vehicles within the work area are at risk for rock damage. Access to the Storm Mountain area is available by Larimer County Road 43 from Estes Park.

Please be advised construction activities will be ongoing in the canyon over the next several years, with intense blasting operations happening October through May. It is strongly advised that recreational users avoid this area (mile points 76 – 80) and listen for the loud horn that will sound prior to blasts.

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION: For updates to this project, the public may call (970) 667-1005, email or visit

Bookmark the permalink.
  • © 2017 All Rights Reserved.
  • ACCESSIBILITY ACCOMMODATION NOTICE   The Big Thompson Watershed Coalition (BTWC) complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guidelines. Ensuring the public’s access to and participating in public meetings is a priority of the BTWC. In the event you are in need of a reasonable accommodation in order to attend or participate in a public meeting conducted by the BTWC, please contact Assistant Watershed Coordinator Tracy Wendt at 970-962-2768 or email to within 3 to 5 days before the scheduled meeting date in order to allow the Coalition to better accommodate your request. For TDD service, contact Relay Colorado by dialing 711.   BTWC does not provide assistance or contract with a person or entity that discriminates based on disability.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity: The Big Thompson Watershed Coalition is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

    The Big Thompson Watershed Coalition expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition’s employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge.

  • Categories