Rollins Pass West

Winter Park, Colorado (Gilpin County)

Last Updated: 11/10/2020
4.3 / 5 ( 7 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status:
Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 06/15 - 11/15
Length: 16.1 miles
Highest Elevation: 11778 feet
Duration: About 2 hours, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Winter Park
Nearest Town w/ Services: Winter Park
Official Road Name: 149
Management Agency: Arapahoe National Forest
District: Sulfur Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Rollins Pass West
The drive up Rollins Pass gets increasingly rewarding the higher up you drive. You begin in aspen forests and there are many other trails that you pass on your way up. There are a few scenic overlook areas that give you great panoramas even before you get to the first trestle which you can view from below and stop right next to. You also have a beautiful panoramic view to the north when you encounter the first trestle, and you are nearing tree-line. As you continue to climb, you will see mountain ranges to the south, west and north. There are alpine lakes that are a short hike off of the path, as well as the Continental Divide Trail. Continue past the parking lot on the Boulder Wagon Road to reach the end of the motor vehicle route. You can hike to the historic Needle's Eye Tunnel (which is blocked and closed, do not enter the tunnel). There are a few more historic train trestles along the north face of the mountain and you can hike around to see them. Do not get close or walk on the trestles, they are not safe.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY - MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Turn north onto Corona Pass Rd/County Rd 80/FS149 from US 40. This is the trailhead. There is a sign as you turn onto the road that has information about The Moffat Road "Hill Route".

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Empire

From the south, travel north on US 40 over Berthoud Pass. From the top of Berthoud Pass, go 11.6 miles, after you pass through the Winter Park ski area, you are getting close. You will follow the brown road sign that reads "National Forest Access Corona Pass", you will turn right/north onto Corona Pass Rd/County Rd 80/NFSR 149. From the north, starting near the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber of Commerce, travel south on US 40 for 1.8 miles. You will follow the brown road sign that reads "National Forest Access Corona Pass", you will turn left/north onto Corona Pass Rd/County Rd 80/FS149. There is not much room at the trailhead to assemble a group. The entrance is directly off US 40 and immediately becomes a tight double width road.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

Rollins Pass is a historic landmark that is now a divided trail to the east and west with no way to legally connect the two trails. Any attempts to restore the connection between Rollins Pass East and West by Grand and Gilpin Counties are met with resistance from Boulder County and the Boulder County Ranger District. "The Boulder Wagon Road was a four-wheel-drive road that was open prior to 2008 and in good condition. Unfortunately, this road remains to this day a subject of much controversy. In 2002 the James Peak Wilderness and Protection Area Bill (a.k.a. Public Law 107-216) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Bill specifically created a narrow road corridor between the Indian Peaks and James Peaks Wilderness areas and states that if any of the affected counties (Grand, Gilpin or Boulder) request, the Secretary of the USDA will cooperate and assist with the repair of the Rollins Pass Road and until that time the attendant road (the BWR) will remain open to motorized use. Boulder County officials and the USFS-Boulder Ranger District have resisted the wording of the law and have closed the BWR. Both Grand and Gilpin Counties have made numerous written requests to the Secretary for the repair of Rollins Pass Road but to date there has been no repair of the road or the barricaded Needle's Eye Tunnel. The reopening of the BWR, and/or repair of the Rollins Pass Road, and even the facts surrounding the 1990 accident in the tunnel, have become contentious and ongoing issues." Source, [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollins_Pass) [Rollins Pass Restoration Association](http://www.moffatroad.org/RPRA/RPRA_Home.htm)

Trail Reviews (14)

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: Should I forget about trying the Boulder Wagon Road from Rollins West trying to get to Rollins East? I read what is here and it's not clear if you can travel it. Can a stock jeep handle it? Thanks
–steve michael stefany (08/04/2020)
–Ryan Boudreau (08/04/2020)
Q: Is there a good location to stage a sxs?
–Ed friend (08/22/2018)
–Brandon Marlow (09/30/2018)
Q: Wondering if there are good dispersed spots where we'd be able to pull a car in on level ground?
–Grace Elizabeth (06/17/2018)
–Brandon Marlow (06/18/2018)
Q: Anyone know if it's clear of snow to the top and would be doable by a stock F150 at this time?
–Prosper Wang (06/06/2018)
–Brandon Marlow (06/18/2018)
Q: This guy says it's under seasonal closure. Has it already been boarded up for the season? Thanks!
–JD Marshall (09/22/2017)
–Patrick Wilson (09/30/2017)

Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.