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Rollins Pass and its vast, fragile prehistory and history are under threat from pressures by proposed land exchanges, residential and commercial development, neglect, and routes.

Take action today as a Friend of Rollins Pass to help Preserve Rollins Pass and turn a new page!

Read more about the State Honor Award for Rollins Pass

When engaging with others, apply strong, persistent, polite pressure—and always be gracious and respectful. A hallmark negotiation principle at Preserve Rollins Pass is that there are no wicked people, only wicked problems.

“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.” —Indira Gandhi



This project has been completed and was managed by Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado, “Registration for this project opened June 1, 2023. This is a 2-day project (August 12th and August 13th) and you have the option of signing up for one or both days. This project offers a variety of volunteer opportunities from trail maintenance to closing unsanctioned social trails, building a fence to protect sensitive habitat, and constructing kiosks to educate visitors. While the work is not particularly technical or difficult, the high elevation will make this more challenging. Free camping will be provided along with breakfast and dinner from our volunteer Crew Chefs!

“Rollins Pass is located between Winter Park and Rollinsville, and its stunning views attract many visitors. Unfortunately, many users are creating new trails across the fragile ecosystem of the tundra, harming sensitive plants and the wildlife that depend on them. By designating where people can park and access the trail, you will help prevent further damage to this beautiful environment. You will have the option to help with a variety of tasks that will help maintain and protect the Rollins Pass Trail. Work will include maintaining a popular section of the trail; closing user-created “social trails”; and building a buck-and-rail fence to protect sensitive plants from being trampled. Whichever tasks you participate in, you will help protect native grasses, lichen, and wildflowers.”


Zoologists, entomologists, botanists, and bryologists from Colorado State University studied flora and fauna on Rollins Pass (east) July 18 through July 21, 2022. On Thursday, July 21, 2022, the Natural Heritage Program held a one-day biodiversity extravaganza at the Howlin’ Wind Brewing & Blending in Rollinsville, Colorado. Scientists and experts spoke on the unique biodiversity and cultural history of the pass as well as what can be done to conserve it for years to come. To learn more and remain involved, please contact [email protected] and be sure to mention “Rollins Pass Bioblitz 2022” in the subject line.


Zoologists, entomologists, botanists, and bryologists from Colorado State University studied flora and fauna on the lower portions of Rollins Pass (west) July 12 through July 16, 2021. On Thursday, July 15, they welcomed the public and other interested parties to see what was found as well as engage the public in conducting additional independent field surveys over the rest of the summer. The meeting location was 7.2 miles up the west (Winter Park) side of Rollins Pass on the right at the historic Ranch Creek Wye. To learn more and remain involved, please contact [email protected] and be sure to mention “Rollins Pass Bioblitz 2021” in the subject line. Looking to order an 84-page book about this endeavor? Click here.



The Moffat Road and townsite of Arrow on lower Rollins Pass face new challenges in the 21st century. In recent years, the historic integrity of Rollins Pass has come under new threat from unsympathetic developers longing to build atop soils rich with history that hold panoramic views. Of late, one attempt at a land exchange with the US Forest Service would have transformed the entrance of the western portion of Rollins Pass into an opening, quite literally, for a private development.

Land Exchanges or land swaps with the US Forest Service continue to threaten lower Rollins Pass in Grand County. If this were to happen (as has been proposed previously in 2020/2021), this would lead to direct, indirect, and cumulative effects not only for the lower portions of the pass where a land exchange could occur, but also higher on the pass where internationally significant archaeological resources exist.

Lower Rollins Pass would be obliterated by the placement of miles of additional roads—not in keeping with the current state of Rollins Pass nor the setting of the National Register of Historic Places listing. This would forever harm the integrity of a national historic district that includes trestles, tunnels, foundations, and more. Distressingly, this national historic district is threatened by development pressures; the Town of Winter Park has identified this land as within the “three-mile planning area,” and it is anticipated “this area will be annexed into the [town] as part of [a] property exchange.” Embarrassingly, continued pro-development aspirations and the failure to see beyond real estate values only reinforces the area’s inclusion as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places. Advocacy efforts as well as permanent protections are needed.

Land exchanges enrich private interests at the expense of public lands. Preserve our history and respectfully urge the US Forest Service and county leadership to keep public lands in public hands. Rollins Pass belongs to all of us and should not be signed over to a private developer.

Please contact by mail or email:


Development on private property running through lower Rollins Pass in Grand County also threatens the integrity of Rollins Pass, as described above. The Town of Winter Park has already zoned this private property directly on Rollins Pass for residential/commercial use. Write to the developer (Koelbel/Rendezvous) directly and respectfully ask if they would be opposed to turning their private property into a conservation easement as has been done on the east side of Rollins Pass to help protect the history and viewsheds or consider a land swap to ensure this historic land is managed by the US Forest Service.

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As a Great Gate, crossing Rollins Pass has been a constant, frustrating struggle. This quote from a newspaper article sums up some of the exasperation experienced, “In a few years the Rollins [P]ass road will have to be abandoned, without something is [sic] done to it. Boulder, Jefferson and Gilpin county representatives should try and get an appropriation from the state to repair it, during the next meeting of the legislature.” This excerpt, however, predates the existence of the railroad by several years: it is from Wednesday, September 12, 1900 in the Colorado Transcript.

The two routes are 149: the original railroad route through Needle’s Eye Tunnel and 501: the Boulder Wagon Road around Yankee Doodle Lake. Each route presents risks to historic resources and both will require NEPA, NHPA, and Section 106 reviews. Please respectfully write to the US Forest Service and to county leadership to urge them to protect non-renewable and historical values at risk—regardless if one or both routes eventually open as a thoroughfare across the Continental Divide.

Please contact by mail or email:

As always, we are available to present on various topics related to Rollins Pass and the Moffat Tunnel. We can field any questions you have to best help you take action. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and social media channels to keep abreast of current news about Rollins Pass and the Moffat Tunnel in Colorado.

The primary purpose of our work is to inform the public.

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