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Chaos Canyon closed after 'large rockfall event'

National Park officials said sliding rock from Hallett Peak fell into Upper Chaos Canyon on Tuesday afternoon.

ESTES PARK, Colo. — Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) closed Chaos Canyon after a significant rockslide event happened Tuesday afternoon.

The large rockfall event happened on the south side of Hallett Peak at around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday that resulted in sliding rock falling into Upper Chaos Canyon. Park officials said the reason for the closure is that the area around the slide is highly unstable and there are forecasted rainstorms for the area until July 3, which could trigger more rockfall activity.

The closure area covers Chaos Canyon starting on the west side of Lake Haiyaha. The trail to Lake Haiyaha and the lake itself remain open for visitors. Hiking trails on the north side of Hallett Peak are also open. The bouldering area in Lower Chaos Canyon on the north and east shore of Lake Haiyaha will also remain open.

The cause of the rockfall remains unknown, RMNP officials said Thursday. The canyon will remain closed until the forecasted storms pass and National Park Service geologists can evaluate the area.

A spokesperson for the park said visitors were reminded to always practice due diligence, especially in rocky terrain, as those areas can be unstable. 

According to alltrails.com, Hallett Peak is a popular area for birding, hiking and horseback riding. The 10.3-mile out-and-back trail near Estes Park is considered a challenging route.

Map of the closure area:

Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

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Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

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