Horseshoe Park -- Alluvial Fan
Alluvial Fan from Rainbow Curves on Trail Ridge Road


Alluvial Fan and Fan Lake from Rainbow Curves on Trail Ridge Road .



Some of the boulders on the right are larger than most cars!

On July 15, 1982 at 5:30 a.m. Lawn Lake broke through the terminal moraine that had held since the end of the last ice age, thousands of years ago. The release of 29 million gallons of water swept trees and car-sized boulders four miles down to the valley floor. In addition to tons of lighter rocks, gavel and sand creating a 42-acre alluvial fan. A trash collector heard the waters crashing down the Roaring River and called park rangers, who evacuated campers at Aspenglen campgrounds. Two were lost to the flood at the campground and one along the Roaring River. Much of the flood's force was weakened while submerging the meadows of Horseshoe Park, but still had enough force to flood the town of Estes Park to a depth of six feet. Lake Estes to the east of town contained the floodwaters preventing further damage.

Sediments from the flood dammed the Fall River, forming a shallow 17-acre lake. Unofficially called  "Fan Lake" , it has provided new habitats for wildlife displaced by the Lawn Lake flood's debris.

By 1996, Fall River has already begun eroding the lakes temporary dam. Eventually, the lake will drain to create wetlands, meadows and forest.

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