The wife wanted to get some sunrise photos at Grand Lake before heading out to the trail we wanted to do. So we woke the kids up, stuffed them in the Merc, and rolled out getting to the lake just in time:
While we were wandering back to the truck I asked my wife if she had been paying attention to the tracks in the mud.
“No, why?” was her response.
“Umm… maybe you should” :
(That print was bigger than my fist for reference)
We headed to the next rail trail that we wanted to explore with the kids. The aspens were really starting to pop by this point as we started up Rollins Pass West. This trail follows an old railroad route that once ran up and over Corona Pass. It was later turned into an auto tour route but now requires high clearance and 4WD for the upper part of the trail.
The tracks used to loop around and enter a tunnel below the bridge in the photo above. It was amazing to see so many of the old trestles still standing.
When the railroad was still active there was actually a hotel and restaurant at the top of the pass. Huge wooden snow sheds were built over the tracks and to connect the tracks to the hotel. At this high of an elevation, snow and avalanches were a constant threat.
There is a tunnel just beyond the pass that has collapsed. Therefore, the trail can no longer be driven all the way through. When we got to the closed portion of the trail, we hopped out and backtracked a bit to walk across the old trestles and take a peek at the Needles Eye Tunnel.