Rollins Pass is a historic road in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

Rollins Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.565m (11,696ft) above sea level in the U.S. state of Colorado.

Rollins Pass

Where is Rollins Pass?

The pass is located on the boundary between Gilpin, Boulder, and Grand counties in Colorado. It sits to the east of Winter Park on the Continental Divide at the crest of the Front Range southwest of Boulder.

Can you drive Rollins Pass?

The road to the summit, also known as Corona Pass, is totally unpaved with lots of holes and small to bigger rocks. It follows the path of an old railroad and is called County Road 80 (or Corona Pass Road). This road is not well maintained. A high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is required in the summer in good weather. The road starts a few miles outside the town of Rollinsville and comes to a dead end on the east side of Rollins Pass at the closed Needle Eye Tunnel, a short high altitude railroad tunnel.

Is Rollins Pass open?

Set high in the Southern Rocky Mountains of north-central Colorado, the road to the summit, which was originally known as Boulder Pass, is usually impassable from November 15 through June 15 (depending on snow).

How long is Rollins Pass?

Starting at US-40, the road to the summit is 16.57km (10.3 miles) long. The drive is pretty steep, hitting a 9% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 782 meters. The average gradient is 4.71%.

When was the road to Rollins Pass in Colorado built?

This historic road over the Continental Divide was the original Hill Route of the Denver, Northwestern, and Pacific Railway built by David H. Moffat in 1903. The first road through the pass was built in 1949. From 1955-1979, Rollins Pass served as a complete road over the mountain pass for automobiles until a rockfall in Needle's Eye tunnel in 1979 closed the path over the pass. In 1988, after several studies and structural strengthening of Needle's Eye was accomplished, the complete road was re-opened only to close permanently in 1990, after a rock fell from the ceiling injuring a Denver firefighter.

Is Rollins Pass in Colorado worth it?

The drive is worth it. It provides many scenic views of the lakes and the mountains in the area as well as access to the historical Needle Eye tunnel. The area is a popular recreational location for its spectacular views and wildflowers.
Pic: John Carter