Hagerman Pass

For all their ruggedness, the Sawatch Mountains were far from impervious to man's endeavors during the nineteenth century. A good example of this is the old railroad grade that crosses the Continental Divide by way of the 2,161-foot-long Hagerman Tunnel. Representing the labor of hundreds of immigrant laborers, this tunnel was the highest railroad tunnel in the world at the time of its completion in 1887.  Begun in the early 1880s, the Colorado Midland Railroad was the first standard gauge railroad to traverse the Colorado Rockies. Old ties are strewn about, some still in place and others discarded to the side. A little over a mile from the start the grade reaches the first of two ravines that were once crossed by lengthy trestles. The Hagerman Trestle is no longer standing, but it is possible to visualize the 1,100-foot-long, 84-foot-high structures if it were still in place.