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Alpine Tunnel Trail - Snowy Hike on Railroad Grade

Photos and Video of our Snowy Adventure in the Mountains (Near St. Elmo & Hancock, CO) - June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009 - The Alpine Tunnel Trail begins at the Hancock Ghost Town (five miles south of St. Elmo) and consists of the old railroad bed that once served trains traveling through the mountains of central Colorado. At the Continental Divide, a three-mile walk on this trail, a tunnel was built through a mountain for easy traveling of trains - known as the Alpine Tunnel.

On today's hike, way too much snow remained on the trail. Derrick and I were approximately 1.5 miles into the hike when sleet and snow flurries came down on us, and that is when we decided to turn back. When I return and reach the Alpine Tunnel from the east side of the divide, I will surely update this page. In the meantime, enjoy the snowy photos below. My visit of the Alpine Tunnel from the west side of the divide in Gunnison County can be seen here: Alpine Tunnel.

How To Get There: From Nathrop, travel west on Chaffee County Road 162 as if you were traveling to the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, Agnes Vaille Falls and St. Elmo. Just before reaching St. Elmo, a dirt road is on the left (C.R. 295 - not sure if it's marked) with signage to Romley and Hancock. We took that road approximately five miles to Hancock where the trail begins. Although many portions of the road are generally okay for any car, a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle is required to make it to Hancock. A portion of road in Romley is very bumpy with a few large rocks sticking up from the road.

All the best,
Steve

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Alpine Tunnel Trailhead At the trailhead.
Alpine Tunnel Trail The beginning of the trail.
Williams Pass, CO Williams Pass is a nearby 4-wheel drive road that is open during the month of August for 4-wheeling. Looks very interesting! This road is a short distance along the Alpine Tunnel Trail.
Sawmill Curve Sawmill Curve The railroad grade has a right turn that's known as Sawmill Curve. Information is posted about the danger of trains derailing in this spot in the old days.
Colorado Mountains Looking back at the trail with mountains in the background. Don't bank on this with 100% certainty, but I'm fairly sure Pomeroy Mountain (alt. 13,139 feet) is the tallest peak on the right.
Alpine Tunnel Trail Alpine Tunnel Trail As we continued, the trail became very snowy. It reminded me of the Waterdog Lake Trail last week!

My other railroad pages:

  • Midland Railroad Bed (Manitou Springs)
  • Colorado Railroad Museum
  • Along the trail is another spot with information about how hard of a job it was to keep the railroad tracks clear of snow during winter. In this photo, a train with some kind of specialized snow removal apparatus was photographed.
    Alpine Tunnel Trail Snow More snow! Oh and yes folks, the date of today's hike was June 2, 2009.

    Some of my other snow pages of late:

  • Snow Photos (4/17/09)
  • YOUTUBE VIDEO: Snow in Buena Vista, CO (2/11/09)
  • Snow and Mt. Princeton (12/19/08)
  • Snow Photos (10/22/08)
  • Snow Photos (9/12/08)
  • Snow Photos (5/13/08)
  • Alpine Tunnel Trail, CO

    Colorado Rocky Mountains

    We realized we should have brought along snowshoes and gaiters. Then, once it began sleeting fairly hard, our decision was finalized. We turned around. No worries ... we'll be back.

    Adjacent photos:
    LEFT: The mountains and the Continental Divide we were walking toward. You can see the railroad grade on the left.
    RIGHT: Pretty mountain view facing north. In the far ridge above timberline, the summit of the Poplar Gulch Trail can be seen.

    My other pages from this region:

  • Mary Murphy Mine
  • Hancock Ghost Town
  • Bike: St. Elmo to Hancock
  • Tincup Pass
  • Alpine Tunnel (West of Continental Divide)
  • St. Elmo Ghost Town
  • Emma Burr Mountain
  • Grizzly Gulch
  • Snow I was so happy to be in the snow! :)
    Snowman Before we drove away, Derrick and I made a snowman. :)

    On The Way Back

    As we drove back toward St. Elmo, we noticed it was a mere 43 degrees at 11:30 a.m. How about that? Gotta love Colorado weather! :)

    43 Degrees
    A nice view of C.R. 295 closer to St. Elmo. Mountain Road
    Back in Buena Vista, thick gray clouds and rainfall dominated the day. This was the view of Mt. Princeton ... I suppose I'll put this picture up as today's photo of the day on www.MtPrinceton.org. ;) Mt. Princeton

    Video Clip - Alpine Tunnel Trail, CO

    You can view all of my videos on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/kisscactus.