Vacations provide the perfect opportunity to escape and unwind. For some people, a holiday has to have beach time with plenty of delightful sunshine. If you’re a history buff, the ideal holiday should offer a chance to connect to the past. The lovely city of Winter Park in Colorado features several iconic historical landmarks in Winter Park that transport you back in time. Here are a few places worth visiting.
Historical Landmarks in Winter Park – The Moffat Tunnel
The legendary Moffat Tunnel dates back to 1928 and, at the time, was the Western Hemisphere’s most enormous railroad tunnel. The tunnel spurned 6.2 miles and got its name in memory of David Moffat, a railroad pioneer who tried raising enough money to construct the tunnel. The tunnel took three and a half years to complete, costing $18 million to finish, nearly $320 million in today’s money. The tunnel bridges the eastern and western slopes of the Rockies, rising to 9,200 feet and dipping to 2,800 feet beneath the surface. The tunnel cuts 173 miles off the distance between Denver and Salt Lake City, making it a time-saving commute. The tunnel continues as a railway route for freight and coal and a water tunnel moving water from the Pacific catchment area. Additionally, the railway also serves passengers, making the commute on Amtrak’s California Zephyr train.
If you love Winter Park, Colorado history, and the intrigue of ghost towns, Corona Pass is right up your alley. This famous town lies on the summit of Rollins Pass, offering excellent views of Colorado from 11,600 feet above sea level. The municipality of Corona developed in the early 1900s, largely thanks to Colorado’s booming mining and railroad activities. Corona town formed on the crest of the pass where the rail stop was constructed and thrived following the addition of a restaurant, hotel, post office, and power plant. Today, if you want to reach Corona Pass, your best bet would be a high-clearance 4×4 truck or SUV. Alternatively, you can park in designated spots along the ascent and continue by mountain bike or on foot. On your visit to Corona, you’ll see weather-beaten scrap materials of what were once foundations of the town’s buildings. Apart from picturesque views of Colorado’s Front Range, the area offers a remarkable collection of seasonal wildflowers.
The Georgetown Loop Railroad
This narrow gauge railroad was completed in 1884 and only measured three feet wide, an engineering masterstroke in the late 19th century. The loop connected the mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume and measured 3.1 miles, rising to 640 feet above sea level. The loop’s construction occurred between the 1870s and 1880w, and after completion, allowed access to passengers and freight. Following the Leadville silver rush, Jay Gould financed the track’s expansion that would see it pass through hairpin turns, requiring loops, a narrow valley, and horseshoe curves. You can take the train ride from Georgetown to Silver Plume, which lasts roughly an hour and fifteen minutes and covers 6.2 miles. The coach cars feature two variations – an open-air gondola and a boxcar with a covered roof. It would be wise to carry along a jacket for the chilly weather and a few snacks for sustenance.
Rollins Pass lies on the border between Boulder, Gilpin, and Grand County and has braved numerous avalanches. The mountain pass was first known as Boulder Pass but received a name change in honor of John Quincy Adams Rollins, a charismatic man who approved the construction of a wagon road on the pass in 1866. Rollins Pass witnessed its first successful railway in the early 1900s as the demand to connect Denver and Salt Lake City increased. After several brake failures and derailments, the Moffat Tunnel massively improved the rail’s safety. In 1949, Rollins Pass integrated an unpaved road for recreational use, with the pass later serving as a site of a natural gas pipeline and navigational waypoint for aircraft. To access Rollins Pass from Winter Park, drive 13.3 miles along County Road 80 or take Forest Road 149. You’ll navigate through a network of difficult forest roads, but the reward is breathtaking views of the Colorado landscape. Ideally, make the journey using a high-clearance 4×4, Jeep, or SUV.
Book Your Winter Park Rental Today
Intense office hours and deadlines can leave you mentally and physically worn out, making holidays increasingly more of a necessity in today’s world. The lovely town of Winter Park, nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, offers a premier vacation experience thanks to Winter Park, Colorado history, many attractions, including several historical landmarks. As you plan your Winter Park holiday, Winter Park Escapes is the ultimate go-to for quality vacation rentals. Our rentals feature comfortable furnishings, spacious interiors, and top-notch amenities to ensure an enjoyable stay. Contact us today to book the best vacation rentals Winter Park can offer.