Rollins Pass West, Winter Park, CO - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2017, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Rollins Pass West, Winter Park, CO

The Rollins Pass road is just south of Winter Park on Highway 40. It is fire-road 149. Head east off of U.S. 40. It is also known as the west side of Moffat road.

The road is open for the late summer months, usually plowed by snowcats in mid June. It is an easy trail, shared with bikes, atvs, hikers, and small suv's. We drove a 2015 Ford escape up the 14 mile road to the top. I would have liked to have had a bit more clearance, as the road is littered with rocks, boulders, and many holes up to 3 ft deep. You can avoid most of these obstacles with careful driving. I averaged a speed of 10-15 mph. In the winter, only snowmobiles and foot traffic will have access.

This is the beginning of the road.




Easy trail


View from the Escape.


Trail marker (no vehicles) for the town of Arrow.


Some fresh growth evergreens


View to the North


Winter Park Ski Area to the West.


Smooth part of the road


Riflesight Notch tressle. A tunnel once came out just in front of the car.


This is an old pic of the same spot


Cool switchback.


The same railroad tressle.


Above the tree line.


View to the West.


Getting closer to the top. The road gets a bit rougher from here.


Mt. Epworth with Deadman's lake coming into view.


Heading up the road to the top.



Deadman's lake with Mt. Epworth in the background.


Pumphouse lake with Corona lake in the far background.


Cloudy, with a 100% chance of rain.


View to the Northwest


More of a westerly view


Made it to the top!


West again


View to the South.


Panorama looking West.


Panorama of the Continental Divide trail, looking to the North.


Freshly dug critter hole on the continental divide trail.


At the top of the pass resided the town of Corona, CO. It consisted of a hotel, train station, etc. The biggest feature however was the long-gone snowshed that was nearly two miles long. It kept the 30 feet of snow off the trains as they sat. Winds during the winter often were in excess of 100 mph, so the roof of the hotel had to be cabled to the mountain to keep from blowing away. All that remains of the town structure is the hotel foundation.

This is the foundation of the hotel, looking North.


Foundation, looking NE


Foundation looking SE


360 panorama from the foundation.


Looking North, anyone spot my buddy in the center, way to the back?


Foundation, looking SW.
R. Kelly anyone lol?


Corner of the foundation. Hotel was in business from 1905 to 1929.


Eastern view, with some snowpack.


Frozen waterfalls in the background.


Some mini glaciers.


East


West


On the way back down, we finally saw some wildlife. Three bull moose grazing in a nice meadow. Two had smaller antlers, but one had to be about 6 feet across. I couldn't get very good pics because my phone wanted to focus on the foreground. Two deer were also grazing nearby.





Overall, it's a 28 mile drive (14 up and 14 back as the pass is closed due to a tunnel cave-in) and took us a bit over 3 hours including stops for pics and such. The road in August is accessible by any vehicle with moderate ground clearance, such as our escape. A stock bronco will handle this road at any time it's open to driving vehicles on. The trail is fun and enjoyable, allowing for many pictures and views, even for the driver. There are many spots to pull to the side to allow passing and picture taking. That being said, the real beauty is at the very top when the lakes come into view. I recommend getting out and exploring the saddle at the top, where the small town once stood. As noted in the pics, the Continental Divide trail runs right through this area, and down to the lakes. There are many small foot trails at the top, and you can follow the old pass road on foot to the collapsed tunnel.

This place is pristine, so please take all trash with you, and stay on trails with motorized vehicles.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2017, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Those wanting bigger views, can visit my supermotors album. Click the view original size button for the best experience.

1985 Ford Bronco Rollins Pass / Moffat Road pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2017, 09:22 PM
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Great looking trip, BB...I love the history. No pictures of you crossing the trestle? Geez .. @remco would have.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 01:40 AM
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Thanks for posting! Looks really fun. I'll have to make a day of it this month.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicoBronco View Post
Great looking trip, BB...I love the history. No pictures of you crossing the trestle? Geez .. @remco would have.
Thats cause remco is one bad M.F.

I wanted to, but the multiple signs prohibiting it convinced me not to. It's definitely sturdy enough to walk on though.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-13-2017, 09:19 PM
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Lmfao. I was litterally about to say @remco woulda driven across the tressel all the while getting drone footage lol.

dr jekyll: 86 built 302,30 over, carbed, 4" lift on 35s...mr hyde: 88 302 LS SAS, both ends locked, hydro assist, 5.13s, on 38 toyos
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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A year has nearly passed, and we just got back from Rollins Pass again. We hit 50 miles of stop and creep traffic through denver and all the way to the Eisenhower tunnel. The first night we stayed near the base of the pass in a camp called Idlewild. The next day we headed up the pass. This time we took my 99 e250. It's a stock 2wd 138"wb cargo van with a v6. Our plan was to hike in from the top and camp for a few days. The hike at 11,000 feet got the better of me and I lasted only one night before hiking a mile with half my original load of about 100lbs back to the van, 300 feet higher. Lesson learned... you don't need nearly what you think.

One buddy followed me with most of the food since they were gonna pack back out the next day. That hike and the trip back to camp did him in, and 4 hours later, I was on my way back up the mountain pass to pick him up in the dark. Neither had but the most minute of battery left; in fact one buddy was using a crank radio to charge his phone. Luckily we had service but It was spotty. That being said I had no actual info on the severity of my buddy's health, so I planned for the worst.

It may not be the roughest offroad road, nor will I claim it to be. BUT, in a 2wd van with 3" of compression in the front suspension, I made it up that 14 mile road at a pace of 17mph and that was FLYING. I was so jacked on adrenaline at the top that I had trouble going normal speed down. All the crap in the back was nearly hitting the roof, and two cans of dr pepper exploded.

We left my other buddy down at camp, alone, armed with 15rds of 10mm buffalo bore hollowpoints. Adam and I went to Ty's wife's parents cabin about 20 minutes from the pass road. We picked Ty up about one the next day.

On to some pics.



Pass road at lower elevations


Looking at Riflesight Notch, and the trestle, from far away.


Same basic view, but with my ugly mug


Mt. Epworth, where they've held ski races in June, for 50 plus years.




Heading down the trail to Corona Lake.


Glacier that feeds Pumphouse Lake, and is the headwaters of Ranch Creek.


Pumphouse Lake and Mt. Epworth




The trail to Corona Lake


1.05 miles from the trailhead. If you look close on this huge pic you can see the van in the distance.


Our camp site


This is why we came here, Corona Lake. 11,300 feet above sea level, and directly on the Continental Divide. That is the ridge forming the bowl that is Corona. We got our water from here. This may be the most beautiful place in the world. I'm disappointed that I felt like sh1t up there and had to descend.


On the way back up to get Ty the next day.


Getting higher up. That's not fog...


Sitting at the trailhead, at 11,600 feet, in a brewing storm cloud. Adam went to meet Ty half way and carry gear. I still had barely just enough energy to travel 15 yards into the mist to dig a hole and take a number two.


Can't see a thing.


They made it! Ty is a **cking pack mule.


Later that day we went to Central City/Blackhawk and stayed in a casino and won some nice cold hard cash.

The next day we went up through Rollinsville and Nederland to find a lower campsite. We came across Beaver lake, which was private, so on we went.


We found another lake, but same thing; private. On our way, we spotted this contraption. Appears to be the bones of an old snowcat with a plow and backwoods engineering.


Saw a couple cow moose


So on to Rainbow Lakes we went. That is where we ended up for the night. It was a real nice place. Here's camp and my teepee tent.




I didn't see any lakes, but this stream is where we got our water for the night. Boiled for safety.




I have some more pics on another camera and some dash cam footage going up the pass the first time, but I haven't downloaded them yet.

Those wishing to view full size pics can see them in my supermotors acct

http://www.supermotors.net/registry/media/1137167_1

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Last edited by BigBlue 94; 07-26-2018 at 07:46 PM.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 12:46 AM
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Awesome pics and quite an adventure! That elevation sure does a number on some people, my wife and I lived in Colorado Springs for 13 years. We would go to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb every year and sometimes bring friends or family visiting and someone always felt sick up there above treeline.

We would 4wd and camp out a lot in CO. You mentioning Nederland reminded me of the time my wife and I had a large bear stalking us around our campsite outside of Nederland above Middle St. Vrain Creek, on the way up we stopped in Nederland for some mexican food to-go and ate on the way. When we got to the trail head to start wheelin I threw the leftovers in the back of my Dakota pickup truck. We wheeled for a couple hours and found a spot to camp in a rare open meadow amongst the dense forest. I swear, that bear smelled the mexican food. While setting up camp, way off in the distance across the meadow I hear a branch break, a minute later I hear it again just a little bit closer and this time my dogs hear it too,for the next 15 minutes it gets closer and closer snapping large branches as it approached. As it got to the edge of the open area where we were opposite too, I decided we better jump in the truck, and then expecting an enormous bear to pop out in front of us, it stopped at the tree's edge and I only caught a glimpse of it running up the hill along the edge of the forest somewhat away from us and it looked big. Thinking it heard us and saw the camp and truck, it must have just ran off. Nope! We went back to setting up camp and about another 10 minutes later it came up behind us maybe 50 feet away in the woods trying to come in slowly, I couldn't see it and didnt try for more than a split second as we hauled ass back to the truck. I grabbed my .45 and popped off a few shots scared like a little girl. I waited a few minutes and packed our stuff up with the quickness and one handed at that because my other hand had my gun in it.

My family and I were just in CO last week, we camped outside of Pagosa Springs above Williams Reservoir. Unbelievably beautiful country up there!! We camped five days and every morning we woke up to elk bugling. Here's some pics from our adventure.

View from camp, no camp grounds for us.



Double rainbow the first day, my daughters (3&6) loved it!


View from our fishing spot at Williams Reservoir


I'm showing our friends kids how to pan for gold. No luck but still fun for everyone.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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I had altitude sickness real bad at keystone a number of years ago. Had to visit the hopsicle with an o2 count of 81%. I also have been known to randomly pass out ever since middle school. Combined, those experiences kept me alive. Hydrate, walk very slow, and breathe deep and NEVER be ashamed to say I can't take it.

We did get to see a snowshoe hare on the night run down the pass road. That sucker was huge! Also saw a marmot, a mule deer, a woodchuck, and some odd weasel thing above Corona Lake. Too big to be a mink or Martin, but not badger sized. Was brown like an otter. Looked to weigh 10 pounds or so.

They night I left, and came back to get Adam, Ty had a wolf wonder into camp. No pics, but Ty admitted he was a bit scared and spent the rest of the night in the tent. He isn't one to admit that normally, so I believe him.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2018, 12:58 AM
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Thats a great trip getting to see all that wildlife! Good altitude advice too, staying hydrated is huge.

I believe the wolf story too, my wife and I saw one at treeline near Buena Vista above Cottonwood Creek. 10 in the morning we were hiking back to the truck from a high lake when we heard yipping and howling, hiking a little bit further we saw it maybe a 1/2 mile away on the side of the mountain perched on a large boulder. We watched and listened to it for a little while and decided to try and get closer in the truck, but didn't get far before it took off up the side of the mountain leaping up huge boulders and made it to the top ridge line in a matter of a minute, it would take me an hour to do that. At the top it turned back and looked at us then disappeared. Absolutely amazing to watch, it was much bigger than a coyote, I think only a mountain lion is the other animal that could climb like that.
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