We might have jumped the gun just a tad early on this ride up Rollinsville Pass! The mileage from Rollinsville all the way to the Continental Divide is 21.5 miles / 43 round trip, but we were stopped about 5 miles from the top by several feet of snow on the road on June 3rd, 2020. (The GPX file is of the full route to the top.) We imagine with the warm weather it will be passable by the end of the month this year. This ride connects with our Corona Pass ride that we did in September, 2018. You could easily make this a great 2-day bike packing trip by biking from Rollinsville to Winterpark, camping and then biking back the next day!
This route is quiet and amazingly beautiful. You’re either biking alongside the South Boulder Creek, watching a train go by, or looking at the majestic snow-capped mountains. A few cars went by on their way to the hiking trails by the Moffat Tunnel but once we were on the pass, we hardly saw a soul and only one car! (We did do this on a week-day and things might look a little different on a weekend… )
The grade of this climb is a mild 2% average so although you are ascending to the Continental Divide, it doesn’t feel like a grueling work.
There was some construction happening on the Peak to Peak Highway, which is not on the route, but they have a staging area for construction trucks about 1 mile up the East Portal road. Truck drivers were slow and courteous, and they had another truck watering the road to keep the dust down, but that traffic was the one annoying thing about an otherwise peaceful route.
We usually look forward to a speedy descent, but coming down the pass was slow going because of the rocky and technical terrain.
Do this ride if you want to climb to the Continental Divide from Rollinsville between July and October.
Use the bathroom and stock up on food and water before leaving Rollinsville. There are no bathrooms along this route that we found.
The first seven miles are on a smooth packed dirt road but once you turn off onto the Pass, it is lumpy and bumpy and rocky! Lower your tire pressure to at least 30-40psi for a little more comfort. (A wider tire would also help but we did this on 700×35 tires with no problem.)
It’s both technical and remote on the pass, so make sure you have bike maintenance supplies in case you have any issues.
Even though it was a 70º day in Rollinsville and it feels like Summer is in full force, snow still remains at elevations around 10,500 till July most years. Be patient my friends…
We started this ride from the intersection of the East Portal Road and the Peak to Peak Highway (119). We found a small public parking lot just opposite the Rollinsville Mini-storage. (We did not find much public parking on Main Street.)
Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.