Monday, October 19, 2009

Colorado September 16, 2009, Alpine Tunnel

We took a fascinating drive to Alpine Tunnel where the first railroad tunnel through the continental divide was built at an elevation of about 11,600 feet. The road is not steep since it follows the old railroad bed, but parts of the road are rocky and bumpy. Any high clearance vehicle, driven with care, would be fine on this road. One report stated only 4 wheel drive vehicles, like a jeep should take this road. The tunnel entrance has collapsed, so you can’t enter the tunnel. I don’t think I would want to enter a 100 year old tunnel that hasn’t been maintained anyways.

Here are two links to very interesting information about the tunnel and the railroad bed leading to the tunnel.

Alpine Tunnel Auto Tour

Alpine Tunnel Information

A few pictures of the drive to the tunnel.

The first part of the road was nice and smooth with pretty trees

A restored water tank that was used to fill the train's steam engine

Some of the railroad track

As we followed the road, we could see a little bit of the road high above us.

Look high in the center of the picture above to just below the tree line for the rock wall supporting the road bed.

Here is a closer view

The Blazer parking on the road bed at the rock supporting wall

The rocks in this wall were laid over a 100 years ago without using any mortar, they call it dry laying the rock, and it is still standing!!
Quite a feat of road building!

A couple more views of the road

The road ends in a parking area about 200 yards from the ruins of the railroad station and maintenance area, along with the restored telegraph station.

They could store and repair up to 6 engines in this engine house

The rebuilt telegraph office and railroad track

This trail ends at the mountain where the 1700 foot tunnel was built

Details about the tunnel

And there was this cute marmot in the trail

A closer look

Alpine road was a fun, pretty and interesting drive.

That’s all for now

Al & Sharon


End Time Talk Radio said...

Wow, I found your posting on a google alert for "Alpine Tunnel". I love the area around Alpine tunnel. Did you go to St. Elmo and Handcock. I used to live in Buena Vista, Co. years ago, I now live in Cheyenne, Wy. Barry M age 38. My parents always took us there every year since 1971. Thankyou for your post. I Really liked the photos. I was just telling my wife she would love to see that area.

Al & Sharon Florida said...

We didn't go to Handcock & St. Elmo as we were on the west side of the Continental Divide and the road to Handcock was rougher than we wanted to drive. Maybe some year we will stay on the east side and visit both towns.