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Both radiocarbon and lichenometric dating suggest occupation by Native Americans spanning the last 3,200 years, with diagnostic tools suggesting even older use of the site, dating back to more than 10,000 years ago."The Indians, both Ute and Arapahoe, used Rollins Pass. The line included a 23-mile stretch over the top of the Continental Divide, at Rollins Pass, with a two to four percent grade and switchbacks along many sections; the result was one of the highest adhesion (non-cog) standard-gauge railroads ever constructed in North America.While it is possible to ride a horse across the Range at almost any point except some of the higher and rougher peaks, the Indians were as much interested as the white man in seeking a good grade. Weir." who constructed a toll wagon road over the pass in the 1873, providing a route between the Colorado Front Range and Middle Park. This corridor over Rollins Pass was always intended to be temporary until what would later become the Moffat Tunnel was constructed and opened; therefore this overmountain route was constructed as cheaply as possible: using wooden trestles instead of iron bridges or high fills and wyes instead of turntables.Rollins Pass was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980The sign at the summit of Rollins Pass.The elevation of '11,660 feet' on the sign "reflects what might have been an original survey value obtained during either the late wagon road era or early railroad construction….The Olson site (5BL147) is a multi-component rock walled game drive and is but one part of a much larger game drive complex located on Rollins Pass. in 1866; Kansas Pacific in 1869; Colorado Railroad (B. subsidiary) in 1884—two tunnels located; Denver, Utah & Pacific in 1881 (construction started and tunnel located).Byron Olson and James Benedict conducted work at the site in the late-1960s. The remains of the latter tunneling attempt can still be seen on the northern slope of the rock wall at Yankee Doodle Lake and the detritus from the attempted excavation of the tunnel was placed at the northernmost part of the lake where pulverized granite tailings can be seen rising out of the water.Rollins Pass has been in continuous use for millennia: first as an internationally significant game drive complex that was hand-constructed and used by Paleo-Indians more than 10,000 years ago through the mid-19th century; followed by nearly two decades as a wagon road from 1862–1880; as a rail route (under survey, construction, and later operational) from 1880 to 1928; as a primitive automobile road from 1936 to 1956; and for the past The Front Range was created by the Laramide Orogeny, the last of three major mountain-building events, which occurred between 70 and 40 million years ago.Tectonic activity during the Cenozoic Era changed the Ancestral Rocky Mountains via block uplift, eventually forming the Rocky Mountains as they exist today.
The wagon road had one tollgate and the following rate structure: “For each vehicle drawn by two animals, two dollars and fifty cents; for each additional two animals, twenty-five cents; each vehicle drawn by one animal, one dollar and fifty cents; horse and rider and pack animals, twenty-five cents; loose stock, five cents per head . All three tunnels today are either completely caved in or have had partial cave-ins.
The geologic make-up of Rollins Pass and the surrounding areas were also affected by deformation and erosion during the Cenozoic Era.
Many sedimentary rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras exist in the basins surrounding the pass.
Currently the game drives are being studied by Colorado State University archaeology graduate and Ph D students led by Dr. La Belle, the associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Center for Mountain and Plains Archaeology in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The game drives built on—and over—Rollins Pass have international significance.
Other notable landmarks on the route included the Riflesight Notch Loop, located at Spruce Mountain: A rail station, Corona, was established at the summit of the pass, with a red brick dining hall, weather station, power station, and lodging.