Big Thompson River, Colorado, U.S.

Carlee from Colorado writes:

I would like to tell you about a river I’m rather fond of… the Big Thompson River in Colorado. I have lived in Colorado all my life, but never have I had a river play so many tricks on me! I went on a field trip with my school in middle school, and we went up to Estes, then to the river.

The first thing that happened was that I managed to get completely and entirely lost. It’s pretty bare area, but I still managed to get lost, almost as if the river were purposely hiding things from me.

The next thing to happen was the perfect action shot. This field trip was a trip with my school’s photography club, and we were taking film photos, when I just happened to accidentally take a picture (I didn’t even mean to press the button!), and it perfectly captured a photo of my friend, who looked as though she were standing in the river! In actuality, she was standing on a rock, but just as the photo was taken, the water rushed up to cover the rock, and she looked as though she were floating on the water. It was incredible!

The final thing I can remember, although I’m sure there was more, was when the river decided I belonged in the water. I was standing on a smooth, dry rock, taking a photo, when suddenly, I slipped on seemingly nothing! Just, down I went! I fell in the water, and I was completely soaked! And if that weren’t enough, when I tried to stand back up, I slipped and fell again! When I finally managed to get back to my group, none of them could understand exactly what had happened. But no matter what anyone believes, I believe I experienced a little bit of, if nothing else, river trickery that day.

ig Thompson River
A Closer Look at the Big Thompson
  • 78 Miles Long (123 km)
  • Starts in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Empties into the South Platte River, which empties into the Missouri River, which empties into the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Some of its water is diverted from the western slope of the Rocky Mountains through a man-made tunnel that is 13 miles long and goes under the continental divide. This is water that would have flowed into the Colorado River and eventually the Pacific Ocean. The tunnel was built in the 1940s during World War II to bring water to the dry areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • It’s a great trout fishing stream.
  • Building the tunnel that brings water from the western slope to the Big Thompson.