Split Rock - Alpine Tunnel Historic District - Pitkin, CO
N 38° 37.495 W 106° 23.675
13S E 378603 N 4276077
Quick Description: Excursion train at "Split Rock" in 1889. This prominent landmark is located near the palisades on the old Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad grade to the historic Alpine Tunnel.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 7/27/2012 9:56:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMEZAG
Excursion Train at Split Rock - 1889
In 1881, the Alpine Tunnel became the first and highest railroad tunnel constructed through the North American Continental Divide. It saw nearly two decades of use before succumbing to the harsh alpine conditions at an elevation of 11,612 feet.
As spectacular an accomplishment as the tunnel itself was the miles of narrow gauge rail that climbed the steep mountain grades of Colorado. Cuts and fills allowed the trains to carve their way up the valley. Perhaps the most spectacular of these are the "Palisades": narrow stone walls built to support the tracks, the largest of which is 33 feet high and an impressive 425 feet long. The entire wall of hand-cut stones was laid without mortar and remains in nearly the same condition today as it did a century ago.
The railroad was abandoned in 1910 and the tunnel has since collapsed. However, the ruins can still be seen and several buildings have been restored. A 10 mile drive on the old railroad bed will take you from the town of Pitkin to the tunnel complex. And don't forget to snap a photo with your mode of transportation next to the split rock!
View of the palisades from across the valley.
Split Rock is visible on the left side.
Source: Alpine Tunnel Historic District