Alpine Tunnel- A Path Through History...


train passing through alpine tunnel

 Historic train passing through The Alpine Tunnel


History of the Alpine Tunnel:
The Alpine Tunnel is a 1,772 ft. long narrow-gauge railroad tunnel at an elevation of 11,523 feet, which in 1882 made it the highest railroad tunnel in North America! It was the first tunnel built through the Continental Divide in Colorado. Construction first began in 1880 and was meant to only last 6 months, but it dragged out for 2 years finally completed in 1882. However, the operation of the railroad through the tunnel was short lived. Due to damage in the tunnel it was abandoned in 1910.


photo of tunnel station Modern Alpine Tunnel Station

Historic Alpine Tunnel Station in 1940s

Modern Alpine Tunnel Station in 1980s


Things To Do:
In addition to the outstanding scenery, the Alpine Tunnel Historic District offers a
variety of scenic hikes, motorized and non-motorized trails, and other activities to
explore. Walking paths historical buildings, information signs, restrooms, and a
picnic area- it is all waiting for you to come and enjoy! 


How and When To Get There:
The Alpine Tunnel Historic District is normally open from July 1st to September 30th. Allow four hours to visit the tunnel. From Gunnison: leave Highway 50 at Parlin, 12 miles east of Gunnison. Drive north 45 minutes, through the town of Pitkin. Three miles north of Pitkin is the entrance to the Alpine Tunnel Historic District. On FSR 839 drive east on the old railroad grade ten miles to reach the Station Complex parking area, picnic site and restrooms. Limited services are available seasonally in Pitkin and Taylor Park.