August 3, 2013
The mountains are calling, and I must go. – John Muir
We took the Jeep out today for a 4WD trek up the east side of Rollins Pass. In the early 1900’s, railroad advertising called this route the “Top O’ the World” as it crossed over the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, connecting the town of Rollinsville in the eastern foothills to the town of Winter Park in Grand County. However, in 1990 the Needle’s Eye Tunnel at the top of the route caved and was never repaired. Today, you can drive to within a 1/2 mile of the tunnel and then walk the rest of the way to peek longingly through the blockades of the tunnel to the other side – so close, and yet so far…
Despite the ability to complete the full route, the east side of Rollin’s Pass is beautiful. Along the 12-mile Jeep trail you pass through thick evergreen forests, two alpine lakes, and beautiful fields of wildflowers. Once at the tunnel, you can climb to the top (elev. 11,666) for a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding area. We arrived at the the top of the pass (elevation 11, 666 ft) just as the afternoon thunderclouds were rolling in.