We started our scenic day in the Winter Park area with Rollins Pass West. We had all been on Rollins Pass East more than a few times, and we were looking forward to seeing the other half of the trail. This half turned out to be so much better.
Rollins Pass East is a dirt road with only a few views. The lakes at the top are nice, but it always seems like it takes such a long time to get there. Rollins Pass West is completely different, with different views.
It starts off at the highway and travels through the trees. It was green and nice. We saw a couple of deer right away, and they weren't at all afraid of us. They let us get very close for pictures before they ran away. It was really cool to watch.
There were quite a few spurs off of the trail that looked like they would be fun to explore, but we had a long day ahead of us. We stayed on the main trail. It was an easy trail, and it wasn't long before we came around a corner and saw the Riflesight Notch trestle in front of us.
It really is a beautiful structure. You can't even walk on it anymore, but it still stands. We took way too many pictures, and then we started up the steep hike to get to it. That's when we noticed that the road looped around to the top of it, so we turned around and went back to the Jeeps.
We drove just a bit more of the trail to get to the top of the trestle so we could take even more pictures. The scenery from up there was also gorgeous, and the trail continued up and above timberline at that point. There was a lot to see.
The switchbacks ended and we climbed to Rollins Pass. The lakes at the bottom of the valley were very beautiful, and there seemed to be a fairly easy hiking trail that went around them. Again, there just wasn't enough time this trip.
There were a few cars parked in the parking areas at the top. There was a lot of room. We parked and got out to check out the roof from the old hotel. The weather was perfect, and we decided to take Boulder Wagon Road to the end first.
Boulder Wagon Road was more difficult than the trail had been so far, but it wasn't difficult for us at all. It went up and over to the far parking area, and though the trail was rocky and narrow it was a quick one. We were soon at the end.
Rather than park at the parking area we went a bit further to stop at the gate on the way to the Needle Eye Tunnel. Everything looked very familiar here as we looked down on Yankee Doodle Lake and the start of the Jenny Creek trail. It was so close, but to drive to it would take a very long time.
We set our chairs up in a line, with everyone facing the edge of the shelf road. Lunch couldn't have been better. We sat in the sun and chatted, really enjoying ourselves. We even passed around some binoculars to check out the scenery.
After lunch, we walked around the corner to the Needle Eye Tunnel. Don climbed into it and out the other side while Michael went over the top. They both explored the rock house and then came back down.
We backed out and parked at the nearby parking area so we could walk to the trestles. Mike decided to stay with the Jeeps and take a nap in the sun.
The walk to the trestles was easy and short from this end. The first one we saw was the curved trestle, and it was very impressive. The ground was very far below us, and the trestle was still extremely stable. It would probably still support the weight of vehicles, if the trail was still available to them.
We walked just a bit further to the straight trestle and found another sturdy one. The views were just as impressive.
Monica wanted to walk all the way back and she was just a passenger on this trip, so the others headed back to the Jeeps while she kept walking. The others went back on Boulder Wagon Road. Surprisingly, Monica beat the others back to the parking area by almost 20 minutes.
After we regrouped we headed back down the trail. It was a pretty quick trip to the highway and over to Byers Peak. This was a fantastic trail, and we need to spend more time in the area to explore all of the spurs.
Reports from Other Days: 3
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Rollins Pass West. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.