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Where Did Lake Estes Go?

Gerald Mayo

The first time I drove over the hill in 1974 I thought if God doesn't live here He should, and I need to...

The first time I drove over the hill in 1974 I thought if God doesn't live here He should, and I need to...

Dec 18 3 minutes read

You can tell by looking at these pictures that the lake is obviously gone, no water only sand to show where it used to be.

Estes Park gets the majority of its water and electricity from the Alva B. Adams tunnel bringing water from the Western Slope, under the continential Divide through the tunnel to Mary's Lake and Lake Estes.


One of the great engineering feats construction of the tunnel began on both the Eastern Slope here in Estes Park and the Western Slope.  Drilling from both sides of the divide they actually met in the middle only 1/8 th of on inch from a perfect meet.  Water is diverted from Shadow Mountain Lake through the tunnel to Estes Park.

  Every year they shut the water off clearing the tunnel of water.  They then drive a jeep through the tunnel to verify that it is still structurally sound and checking for any needed repairs.  Once they verify that it OK, then they fill the tunnel and the lake with water again.  

Estes Park  was cut off during the flood of 2013.  All of the roads were washed out with the exception of the Trail Ridge road going through Rocky Mountain National Park.  The Government was "shut down" as a result of Washington's political agenda's.  The President of the United States had to reopen the road so that we had some way to get groceries, gasoline and other supplies into Estes Park.  Our fiber lines were washed out and severed so our communications were also cut off.  In an attempt to have some redundancy so that we are not dependent on just one fiber cable that there would be a fiber cable installed through the tunnel.  Sounds easy however there are three government agencies to deal with.  The National Fores, the Bureau of Land Management and Rocky Mountain National Park.  That makes a simple project pretty complicated.

Water will soon again be filling the tunnel for our electrical usage, irrigation and water for the lake.  

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