Frequently Asked Questions
Your most frequently asked questions about Rollins Pass, answered here! Please email [email protected] with any additional questions.
Rollins Pass has been known by several names. Boulder Pass was the original name, which later became Rollins Pass, named after John Quincy Adams Rollins. The railroad station at the summit was named Corona, consequently Corona Pass is a variant name used by the railroad for tourism purposes. Today, Grand County refers to the pass by this appellation almost exclusively. However, Rollins Pass is the official name used by the US Geological Survey and is also the name officially recognized by the US Board on Geographic Names. In fact, the name “Corona Pass” does not exist in the official federal government geographic nomenclature—only Rollins Pass.
Rollins Pass is a mountain pass located in the Southern Rocky Mountains of north-central Colorado, located on the Continental Divide roughly east of Winter Park and west of Rollinsville.
The elevation of 11,660 feet often shown in historical photographs reflects what might have been an original survey value obtained during either the late wagon road era or early railroad construction. A 1912 map shows 11,680 feet, but that is not based on a surveyed benchmarked location and was an estimated value based on nearby contours. The actual benchmarked survey elevation value of the summit of Rollins Pass is 11,671 feet (NGVD29), obtained during a 1952 second-order level line run from State Bridge to Denver by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey (predecessor to the National Geodetic Survey). When adjusted to NAVD88, the elevation is, without doubt, 11,676.79 feet.
Since 1990, a complete motorized thoroughfare over the Continental Divide no longer exists; you must go back down the same side you came up. Always consult the published Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) linked to on this page. Permanent Closures: Year-round closures to travel by wheel-to-ground vehicles per 36 CFR 261.54a (Forest Closure Order 10-00-03) include:
• NFSR 149: Permanent closure 1 mile south of Needle’s Eye Tunnel to the Continental Divide
• NFSR 501: Boulder Wagon from its intersection with the Rollins Pass Road at Yankee Doodle Lake west to a point 1/2 mile west of the Needle’s Eye Tunnel)
No motorized route connects across the Continental Divide.
Up to date information about the Rollins Pass Road Status is published here.
Yankee Doodle Lake forms the backdrop for many apocryphal stories about wrecks found under the surface: including the remains of a wagon from the late 19th century, wreckage from an early 20th century locomotive, and even a crashed airplane. All variations of the anecdotes follow an identical trajectory, “if the light is just right….” However, all that can be seen in the lake is the reflection of a visitor yearning for a deeper connection to the area’s vast history.
There were early attempts at running narrow-gauge rails over the pass, but those efforts met in failure. The Moffat Road rail route over Rollins Pass was the highest adhesion (non-cog) standard gauge railroad grade in North America.
No, this area is private property and is not open to the public.
The Moffat Tunnel opened for rail traffic in 1928 and has seen continuous use since that date.