Grand Ditch leak causes trail flooding in RMNP
June 22, 2017
Hikers in Rocky Mountain National Park will need to tread carefully if they are heading up the Colorado River Trail.
Park officials announced earlier this week that a culvert leak along the Grand Ditch has caused some ditch erosion and resulted in the flooding of portions of the Colorado River Trail. The leak stems from an old culvert at the intersection of Lady creek and the Grand Ditch.
The resulting leak eroded the ditch bank around the culvert and allowed additional water to flow down from the ditch, flooding portions of the Colorado River Trail. Is flooded .6 miles from the trailhead and just a short distance beyond the Red Mountain Trail junction, which leads directly up to Grand Ditch.
Park officials have posted cautionary signs at the trailhead informing visitors of the flooding.
The Grand Ditch is located high above the Kawuneeche Valley and transports water to the eastern side of the Continental Divide. The ditch is operated by the Water Supply and Storage Company, which notified park staff of the leak over the weekend. Employees with the Water Supply and Storage Company have made temporary repairs to reduce the leak and opened head gates to reduce water flows.
The opened head gates will naturally result in additional water flows being released into the Kawuneeche Valley.
According to RMNP Spokeswoman Kyle Patterson, park staff were informed June 18 that the increased flows would result in increased turbidity — the cloudiness of water caused by visible particulates — near Shadow Mountain Reservoir.
"At this time, park staff do not have estimates of where or how much volume of sediment moved due to this event," stated a release from the park.
Patterson noted additional assessments are ongoing.
The Grand Ditch road is also closed to pedestrian foot traffic from the junction of Little Yellowstone to the Ditch Camp. There are no other trail closures in place, according to park officials.
Parkgoers may also note that Long Draw Road is currently closed, scheduled to open for the season early next month.