Rollins Pass

Scenic Drive in Winter Park

A popular though rugged 14-mile 4WD road leads almost to the top of this 11,660ft pass (now closed), which is famous for its railroad history. In the mid-1860s, JA Rollins established a toll wagon-road over the pass from Nederland and Rollinsville; early in the 20th century David H Moffat’s Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railway crossed the Continental Divide here.

First known as Boulder Pass, then Rollins Pass, it also earned the appellation ‘Corona’ because railroad workers considered it the crown at the ‘top of the world.’ Remnants of the original line (a tunnel and trestle) make it of particular interest to railroad buffs; it's also a popular ride for experienced mountain bikers.

There's plenty of hiking to do, too. The traverse to Rodgers Pass (5 miles round-trip) from the trestle is both mellow and beautiful. From here, you can easily summit the back of James Peak (13,294ft).

The turnoff for Rollins Pass is located between the Winter Park resort and town; the road is extremely rocky and you definitely need 4WD-high clearance. When you reach an intersection on the way up, keep going straight. Bear in mind that the last couple of miles probably won't open until July at the earliest because of snowpack.