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Outdoor Rec During US34 Construction

Post Date:10/05/2016 3:35 PM

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION: Call (970) 667-1005, email or go to   



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 enthusiasts 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 navigate through construction while still enjoying your normal recreational activities 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).


U.S. 34 Construction Map Overview web


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 off-roading 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.



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