Biking over Rollins Pass was Epic, but far from historical. For thousands of years people have been traversing Rollins Pass. Native American hunting parties even built rock walls in the scree near the top to funnel game long before the first horse drawn wagons paid a toll to cross the Continental Divide in the 1870’s. In 1904 trains began to make the arduous trip passing through tunnels, twisting like a corkscrew and making their way to the top at 11,600 feet. The road grade had to be kept less than 4% to make it possible, but the biggest challenges came in the Winter when massive snow drifts would make it impassable.
On our bike ride we learned all about those drifts, but back in the day, particularly on the West side of the pass, huge snowsheds, miles long, were built in attempt to keep the tracks clear. In fact, near the top, above tree line, a small village named Corona (ironically) sprouted from the harsh landscape and housed stranded train crews and service personnel to provide brief respite from the bitter conditions. Read more