Hiking the Moffat Tunnel in Denver, Colorado

The Moffat Passage is a 6-mile underground passage that stretches underneath parts of the Continental Divide. Located simply 50 miles west of Denver’s Union Station, the East Portal of the Moffat Passage is a typical destination for hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Although it’s difficult to hike inside the tunnel, numerous trails and paths lead to scenic vistas over and alongside the Moffat Passage.


The East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel is the entryway closest to the city of Denver, Colo. According to Colorado. gov, the East Portal sits simply below 9,200 feet in height, and serves as the beginning point for a range of hiking tracks into the mountains. To reach the East Portal trailhead from Denver, follow CO 119 west to the small town of Rollinsville, found 4 miles southern of Nederland. Away, head west on the well-marked Rollins Pass roadway for 8 miles up until you reach the trailhead.

The Crater Lakes Trail

The ‘Denver Post’ advises this path for its access to several high lakes snuggled under the Continental Divide. Considered a popular location for day hikers and campers, the Crater Lakes trail follows the East Portal trailhead for 2.8 miles, obtaining an altitude of 1,500 feet. After you have reached the lower Crater Lakes, you can choose to continue the remaining half-mile to the upper lakes. This staying stretch of the trail is less preserved, and makes an altitude gain of 500 vertical feet.

Rogers Pass Lake Hike

To gain access to this trail, you’ll wish to follow indications directing you north from the East Portal trailhead parking area. Follow the South Stone Creek trail until you discover a wide course increasing delicately above and west of the Moffat Tunnel. Stay left and pass the Forest Lakes path junction up until you see path pens for the South Stone Creek path, at which point you’ll start hiking progressively uphill with forest. According to the Pro Trails web site, this trail will lead you up and over parts of the Continental Divide, leaving you at the foot of Haystack mountain near the edge of Rogers Pass Lake.

Heart Lake Trail

After leaning on the banks of the lake, you can continue up the ridge on the Heart Lake trail by following a path that winds northeast of Rogers Pass Lake. This is perhaps the steepest climb of all, bringing you to an altitude of 11,347 as you advance your means up the ridge. From here, the path will pay for a great view of both Rogers Pass and Heart lakes, along with sensational vistas of Haystack Mountain, Rogers Pass and James Peak. Follow a little faded course northeast down the ridge to reach the coastline of Heart Lake.