Olympus Dam, Estes Park, Colorado – Flood Control, Power Generation

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is the Olympus Dam in Estes Park, Colorado near Rocky Mountain National Park. The dam is 70 feet tall and created Estes Lake, 185 acres in size, after its completion. Construction started in the summer of 1947 and the dam is used today mainly for hydroelectric component to generate electricity. This dam uses sluice gates to regulate the height of the water behind it, and they can been seen at the top of the dam. Currently, the center gate of five is the only one open, but during the spring melt the dam can drain near full capacity to keep the water behind it at a safe level.

  • Mauricio Florez Chaves

    É bom produz energia elétrica,mas causa açoriamento na cabeçeira do rio.

  • davebf

    You might want to check out this article:http://www.eptrail.com/estes-park-news/ci_24314979/olympus-dam-doing-its-job

    “Olympus Dam holds back the water in Lake Estes. Lake Estes is not a flood control reservoir, nor was it built for storage. Lake Estes is a regulatory reservoir. It was built to help regulate hydro-power generation.”

    • Alex Mead

      Thanks for the comment and correction davebf. We’ll get that fixed right away! I read what I wrote down somewhere, but I can’t find the resource as it was a few years ago. It seems the public affairs spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Great Plains office is a good source. I wonder where the source I was reading got their information?

      • davebf

        As you will read in the article, there are questions being raised about the Dam’s roll in the recent flooding down the Big Thompson canyon. The Bureau of Reclamation officer made the comments in response to those concerns. I happened upon your photo as part of a google search and thought I would mention it. I think the comment by the officer is largely true because the dam is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water diversion project. But it’s also possible that flood control was thrown in originally.