Alpine Tunnel West

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4.4/5 (13 reviews)
Pitkin, Colorado (Gunnison County)
Last Updated: 12/01/2023
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Trail Information

Highlights

The main trail of The Alpine Tunnel Historic District. This trail is for anyone interested in ghost towns, mining history, and of course, railroad history. The Alpine Tunnel was the first railroad bore ever drilled in the United States, the first ever to carry tracks under the Continental Divide and, in 1882, the highest point ever reached by a railroad at 11,251' above sea level. Anticipating that the mineral rich area would be the next big mining "bonanza,” as many as 10,000 different men worked to build the line and the tunnel at various times. Laborers, working for $3.50 per day, and explosives men, who worked for $5.00 per day, were often forced to go from their worksite to their cabins in groups in order to avoid being lost in the snow. The only complete structure remaining is the Telegraph Office, which was built in 1890. The railway through the tunnel operated from 1882 to 1910 and cost $300,000 to build. The Alpine Tunnel Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1996.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Check out our Alpine Tunnel East (5.36 mi away) trail guide for an All-Access Preview!

Trail Reviews

4.4/5 (13)
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Official Crew
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41100
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 12/01/2023

This trail is closed for the winter.
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Official Crew
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14600
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/08/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Used this trail to connect Cumberland Pass to Hancock Pass. Trail is dry and dusty. Quite a bit of history on the trail.
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Official Crew
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41100
Partially Open
Visited: 08/01/2023

The Trail is open to Waypoint 6, beyond that point, it's still closed for road repairs at the big Palisade Wall. An update video on the progress can be found here: https://youtu.be/5YMt-X01x7E
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Official Crew
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41100
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/18/2023

The trail is open to Waypoint 6 for the season. It is still closed above waypoint 6 due to Palisade reconstruction work.
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Official Crew
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41100
Temporary Closure
Visited: 06/18/2022

Closed due to rock scaling.
Trail Review: Alpine Tunnel West - Marcus Trusty
Trail Review: Alpine Tunnel West - Marcus Trusty

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