Just fifteen minutes from Riverview, the well manicured Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park inside the Big Thompson Canyon is a great place for a picnic, a stroll with the pups or a splash in the river. Click here for hours of operation.
Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park first opened one year after the historic Loveland Light and Power plant opened in 1925. In 1926 the site was expanded to include 400 acres and was opened for picnics and hiking. In 1976 the Big Thompson River experienced a dramatic flood, during which the water flowed an estimated 30,500 cubic feet per second faster than normal. The dam was washed out, approximately 1,700 feet of pipeline was destroyed, and the entire hydroelectric dam was washed away. A new efficient power plant was constructed out of the pathway of future floods, and a new flood-resistant dam replaced the one before. The plant was reopened in 1978 and the park was restored at the same time. The floods in 1976 and in 2013 devastated the park and the river cut a new path each time further south within the park.
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