Rollins Pass

Adventure along Rollins Pass road in CO

Rollins Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.559m (11,676ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Gilpin, Boulder and Grand counties in the U.S. state of Colorado.

Set high in the Rocky Mountains of north-central Colorado, the pass can be traveled by regular 2WD (although 4WD high-clearance vehicles fare better) automobile in the summer in good weather, or by snowmobilein the winter. The East Rollins Pass road is a maintained Forest Service gravel road. The road provides many scenic views of the lakes and the mountains in the area as well as access to the historical Needle Eye tunnel. The pass is located on the continental divide at the crest of the Front Range southwest of Boulder, at the boundary of Grand and Boulder counties.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 road starts a few miles outside the town of Rollinsville and reaches an elevation of 11,660 feet before coming to a dead end on the east side of Rollins Pass at the closed Needle Eye Tunnel, a short high altitude railroad tunnel which was closed in 1990 after a rock fell from the ceiling injuring a Denver firefighter.

This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. Rollins pass is a popular recreational location for its spectacular views, wildflowers, hiking, photography, and high clearance vehicles during the summer months. The road up to the pass on the western side from Winter Park is in good condition starting from US Route 40 in Winter Park, and can be traveled by regular 2wd automobile in the summer in good weather, or by snowmobile in the winter. 
The road over the Rollins Pass (a.k.a. Corona Pass) features some steep sections. From 1955-1979, Rollins Pass served as a complete road over the mountain pass for automobiles until a rock fall 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.  
Pic: John Carter


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