Hagerman Tunnel Trail, also known as Midland Trail near Leadville, CO, is famous for its stunning scenery throughout your hike. It is one of our favorite trails with history, an alpine lake, and gorgeous views.
There are several ways to make this trail, one is a loop passing Opal Lake, and one is out and back. We did the out and back, adding another hike up to Windsor Lake Trail after.
Starting at Colorado Midland Trailhead, we walked along an old railroad bed for a long way with sweeping views. But, when we made a sharp corner turn and began a slight uphill, it felt like the hike had begun.
REMNANTS OF GHOST TOWN DOUGLAS CITY
I was first stunned by the number of wildflowers greeting us while entering Old Douglas City. You can sense that others lived here once while noting all the remnants of what was once a town.
A lively town, no less! After reading the signpost, which I added below. Of course, my other half thought it would be cool to be there. I said nothing.
The Douglas City Signpost reads: Douglass City was built to house the Italian construction workers who labored on the Colorado Midland in this area and who helped construct the Hagerman Tunnel, trestles, etc. —- This one street “City: had eight saloons, mostly in tents plus a Dance Hall. Here the Professor played the piano while the Ladies of the evening, too jaded for Leadville, entertained and took the laborer’s money. The wild city was the scene of drinking, shooting, fighting, knifing, and other innocent pleasures.
Old buildings left behind, metal cans, metal strips, red bricks? and even an old telegraph pole? Wow, fun. I tried to find a photo from that time but failed to do so.
Myself, I am enthralled by the scenery surrounding the town. My other half is playing old miner/cowboy somewhere.
Hagerman Lake follows us as we find our path to Hagerman Tunnel.
I want to mention that if you come in July or August and we’ve had a wet spring, the flowers are superb and the mosquitos are not. But, unfortunately, they seem to be everywhere in the high country this year, and here is no exception.
Be forewarned, this is short-lived, but it does get a bit steeper as we head to Hagerman Tunnel. However, the views will keep command you to keep going. They are spectacular.
I can hear the sounds of marmots scurrying about as my head swivels in all directions trying to spot one. I love marmots.
It feels like you are walking on air with panaormic views as we walk the short distance to the Hagerman Tunnel entrance.
I’ve spotted two marmots, big ones in the rocks along the way, and I am thrilled.
Hagerman Tunnel. built for the Colorado Midland Railroad by hundreds of immigrants. This tunnel was the highest railroad tunnel in the world at the time of its completion in 1887. The 2,161-foot-long Hagerman Tunnel was in service for a few years. In 1891 it was replaced by the much longer Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel, which can be seen at Windsor Trailhead.
Hiking to the entrance, I have no desire to enter, which is highly recommended not to. But you can get close and see the magnitude of what it once was. The rugged mass rock face surrounding the entrance is impressive.
There is no trail signage to help navigate, so I used my Alltrails app to stay on the trail.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hagerman Tunnel Trail starts at Colorado/ Midland Trailhead past the trailhead for Windsor Lake. Most park at Windsor Lake Trailhead due to road conditions and hike the road to Colorado Midland Trailhead. (read on our hike to Windsor Lake and find another route to Hagerman Lake Trail).
Hagerman Tunnel Trail is the Colorado/ Midland Trail is a 5.5-mile loop.
Horses and dogs ok
Nearest town: Leadville, CO
San Isabel National Forest
Part of the trail in Mt. Massive Wilderness
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