Intensive flash flooding, associated with heavy rain across the Waldo Canyon burn scar, invaded the Ute Pass Monday, shutting down a key section of U.S. Hwy. 24 and creating huge mud slides near Ute Pass Elementary School and along the west-bound lanes of the main highway.
As of press time Monday evening, authorities from the Colorado Department of Transportation were cleaning up both U.S. Hwy. 24 and Ute Pass Avenue/Chipita Park Road (the main thoroughfare going through Green Mountain Falls and Chipita Park). In addition, certain roads in GMF took quite a beating and were submerged in water and huge rocks. Plus, some residents in Manitou Springs were being escorted to higher grounds. For an extended period Monday, both sides of U.S. Hwy. 24 were shut down, with motorists directed towards alternative routes. Chipita Park Road, between the east entrance of GMF to the Ute Pass Elementary School, was closed, except for local traffic. Many Ute Pass residents used Fountain Road to avoid the area entirely.
The flash floods, which struck around 5:30 p.m., nearly killed Landon Parker and his son, who were in a pickup truck and got caught in a mud slide near Cascade. However, they succeeded in escaping slide without any injuries, but the man’s vehicle was seriously impaired. Their situation was captured in a photo by Lani Ho’ala, the co-owner of the Eagle’s Nest Wellness Center, located directly across from the mud slide. According to the Eagle’s Nest owners, Monday’s rampage was the second serious flash flooding incident in the Ute Pass/Cascade area in the last week. Officials fear these floods could become a trend. As a result, authorities are worried about protecting the U.S. Hwy. 24 corridor to insure this thoroughfare stays open.