Trail Ridge - Farview Curve

Kawuneeche Valley from Farview Curve.

Never Summer Range from Farview Curve .

The Big Ditch

In the west, water is often controlled to permit irrigation. It is a strategy that affects even the beginning of the Colorado River. The evidence of this is visible as a long, nearly horizontal scar on the slopes of the Never Summer Mountains -- the mark of the Grand Ditch.

Begun in 1890, the ditch was one of the earlier engineering projects to divert water to the drier eastern slope. The ditch intercepts streams tumbling down the mountain, and transfers about 30,000 acre-feet of water each year (an acre foot equals one acre covered one foot deep with water). The water drains from south to north down gradual slopes to La Poudre Pass, into Long Draw Reservoir, and then into the eastward flowing Cache La Poudre River.

There are economic benefits, but the Colorado is no longer wild and unpredictable.

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