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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Cebolla Ranger District

Quick Facts

Alpine Tunnel Documentary Site

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Alpine Tunnel Site incorporates a interpretive signs with a ten mile, four-wheel drive tour in the rugged terrain of the Sawatch Mountain Range. The tunnel itself is the focal point of the site and the culmination of the tour. It is inoperable now, but once stood as an engineering marvel of the late nineteenth century. Visitors can see the remains and reconstructions of the railroad watering tanks, station complex and tunnel.

The Alpine Tunnel was carved through the Continental Divide in 1880-1881 by the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad. It was built in hopes that it would beat the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad into the rich mineral country around Gunnison. The race was won by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, which came over Marshall Pass. The Alpine Tunnel was used until 1910.

Directions from Gunnison: Drive east on Highway 50 to Parlin. Turn left and travel toward Pitkin on BLM Road 3101. Drive passed Pitkin about three miles, then turn right on Forest Service Road 839. This road leads to the Alpine Tunnel Site. The road is not suitable for automobile use.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This was a senic drive the first week in August. I took a friend who has a heart condition and the Rangers on site permitted us to drive all the way to the tunnel - which was the ONLY way my friend could have seen the area!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON History Alpine Tunnel Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Alpine Tunnel Site - last leg of the trip to the tunnel must be walked.
ICON Viewing Interpretive Signs Alpine Tunnel Documentary Site
ICON Scenic Driving Alpine Tunnel Site

Related Activities
Pitkin Campground - Pitkin Campground lies in an abandoned mining region of Colorado. The surrounding terrain supports a plethora of four-wheel drive roads built over 100 years ago by miners in the region.

Quartz Campground - Quartz Campground can be found on Cumberland Pass Road in the middle of an abandoned mining region. The site is popular with four-wheel drive enthusiasts who use the abandoned mining roads.

Tomichi Pass Road - Tomichi Road is difficult and not recommended for the beginner. It leads through mining territory and over Tomichi Pass, 11,980 feet.

Tunnel Lake Trail - The Tunnel Lake Trail leads users 5 miles over high alpine terrain. The trail never dips lower than 11,000'. Weather should be an important consideration when deciding to hike or ride this trail.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Lake City Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 430 , Lake City, CO, 81235, Phone: 970-944-2527


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