Rollins Pass Road

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Distance2.3mi
Elevation Gain682ft
Trailhead Elevation11,675ft
Top11,684ft
Elevation Min/Max11234/11684ft
Elevation Start/End11675/11675ft

Rollins Pass Road

Rollins Pass Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Roosevelt National Forest. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 11,675 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 682 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. This trail connects with the following: Needle Eye Bypass Social Trail.

Rollins Pass Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"Road follows historic 1903 railroad route and features three outstanding trestles—two in excellent condition (hiking required). Boulder Wagon Road adds much interest to the trip and is not as difficult as it appears.

Broken Thumb Trail is only difficult when accessed from the south end. To avoid difficult portion, access trail from bridge at end of F.S. Road 128.1B. Far north end of Broken Thumb Trail has one dangerous tippy spot before narrowing to a hiking trail."

"Rollins Pass Road, also known as the Moffat Road, follows the course of an historically significant railroad route. It is one of the most popular backroads in Colorado despite the fact that the road is closed at the top; therefore, each side of the pass must be driven separately.

Understanding the history of the railroad route will immensely enhance your trip. Inexpensive brochures for a self-guided auto tour, sponsored by the Rollins Pass Restoration Association, are available at many locations in the area and from the Forest Service offices in Boulder and Fort Collins. (See contact information.) Popular ATV area. Suitable, under dry conditions, for any stock sport utility vehicle and many passenger cars."

"Road follows historic 1903 railroad route and features two lakes, stunning views and an easy hike to Needle’s Eye Tunnel.* You can climb over the top of tunnel and continue hike to Twin Trestles."

"Scenic route follows an old railroad grade used prior to the existence of the Moffat Tunnel. You can reach the Needle’s Eye Tunnel and east side of the Twin Trestles by taking the more difficult Boulder Wagon Road. The Needle’s Eye Tunnel is closed, stopping you from going down the east side.

ATVs are allowed on main road and marked side roads. No parking at start, but as you climb, there are wide places along the side of road. Main route, under dry conditions, is suitable for any stock sport utility vehicle. Optional Boulder Wagon Road is narrow, rocky and a bit intimidating for novice drivers, but stock, high-clearance SUVs can do it."

"For years Rollins Pass has been a staple in the lexicon of high mountain riding near Boulder and Denver. Beginning on the Continental Divide’s eastern slope, the ride to the top of Rollins Pass provides a long, but relatively moderate hill climb to the summit and the Continental Divide at 11,671 feet.

Along the way, riders are treated to dynamic views of the Indian Peaks and the Boulder Park Valley before arriving at the top. Following the bed of an old wagon train route, the trail passes through mixed conifer forests and around high-altitude lakes before arriving at the caved-in Needle Eye Tunnel and Rollins Pass. Since much of this route travels above timberline, riders should start early in the day to lessen the chances of being caught above timberline during a midafternoon thunderstorm, a common occurrence for this area. Terrain: Two-wheel-drive road, doubletrack, and singletrack that travel through mixed conifer forests and across hillside meadows to above timberline and the Continental Divide."

Rollins Pass Road Reviews

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8/28/2010
At this time the trail is impassible due to pipeline construction. i only got two miles up before i ran into workers and no way through.
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7/25/2008
Go here in the latter part of July. I do not know anyplace in Colorado with better wildflowers. The flowers are incredible, and what makes the trip. I try to get here almost every year. Back when I was in High School, I had the amazing experience of completeting the entire pass from Winter Park to Rollinsville. This was before Needle Eye Tunnel collapsed for the second and last time. I don't know if they will ever reopen it, but go up to the tunnel and hike around the bend to the railroad trestles for the very best views.
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8/25/2007
This is a beautiful trail! Lots of wild flowers along the road. We even spotted some Columbines both times (early & late August). Lots of dirt bikes, so watch your mirrors closely. The first time we did the trail, we had to turn back at Yankee Doodle Lake due to time. The second time we made it to the top & it was well worth it. There's a trail close to the end parking area (just before the trail goes between where they blasted the rock away to make room) that I'd love to go back to hike. The view from the top of that trail is like looking at a Colorado Mt. Rushmore. The hike to the tunnel is very easy. It's such a nice getaway from the city bustle. I'd highly recommend the drive even though it can get pretty bumpy at times!
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6/30/2007
Great views, and great hiking. There are trails north and south on the Continental Divide, and the hike to Corona Lake is beautiful. Still some snow in late June, but very nice weather. I can't believe that we traveled the entire route from Rollinsville to Winter Park in a '57 Olds back in 1969!
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6/25/2007
The trail drive is breathtaking, very easy for a stock 4x4. I did it with a Landrover LR3. The kids had a blast; they especially loved driving through (and splashing) the puddles created by the runoff this time of year. Snow still hasn't cleared just above Jenny Lake so; the trail ends currently at Jenny Lake. That reminds me, the view at Jenny Lake is picturesque. To stand above the lake, looking down as water fills the lake from a massive ridge via a runoff created waterfall is unbelievable. As you stand above Jenny Lake, looking down at the water, and up at the face of a enormous ridge that seems to run right into the bright blue sky filled with puffy white clouds you will feel a slight tingle as the hair on your arm stands from the monumental site you are witnessing. As forrest Gump said, "I couldn't tell where the earth ended and heaven began." - Jeremy
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8/26/2005
Awesome history. Anyone who likes train will love the drive. We made it to the top, city of Corona, and then we walked the trail Needle Eyes tunnel. Unfortunity, the trail is not able to be driven right now. When you walk down the trail towrad Needle Eye tunnel look at the valley to the left. It has a waterfall feed by three small lakes and the valley floor is the greenest area I have seen in Colorado. No need for a 4x4 on this trail, as long as there isn't any snow.
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Rollins Pass Road Photos

Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
Parks
Arapaho National Forest
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated #103, DeLorme’s Colorado Atlas and Gazetteer
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018