Alan riding up Airline Trail

Mountain biking in Breckenridge


Monica Prelle shares her shoulder-season route picks, along with logistical info to get you started.

THERE ARE 100+ MILES of trails in Breckenridge, including both a tightly packed in-town network and sections of some of the region’s most epic trails. Riders of all abilities will be able to put together a sweet route. Here are 4 of my favorites.

1. Peaks Trail Loop

20.8 miles, difficult

Ask a local and they’ll probably point you to Peaks Trail as the quintessential singletrack in Breck. It’s a technical climb with rock gardens, bridges, almost 1, 000 feet of elevation gain, and a ripping-fast descent.

Along the way you’re likely to see red-tailed hawks and stellar jays. The trail winds through tunnels of aspen trees, opening onto some sick mountain views.

  • Start in town and pedal up Ski Hill Road to the Peaks trailhead.
  • You’ll head uphill on Peaks Trail for about 3 miles before the grade mellows and you begin to traverse the mountainside.
  • The trail passes the Gold Hill / Colorado Trail junction and continues downhill to Frisco.
  • At the trail’s end, turn right on Miners Creek Road, then right again onto the paved Blue River recreation path and follow the signs back to Breck.

Alternate route: Peaks Trail / Gold Hill

13.8 miles, difficult

  • For a shorter loop, head up Ski Hill Road and take Peaks Trail to the Gold Hill / Colorado Trail junction at 4.8 miles.
  • Turn right on Gold Hill Trail and follow it to the paved Blue River recreation path to return to town.
2. Sallie Barber / Barney Ford Loop

9.2 miles, intermediate

My first afternoon in Breck, I decided to sneak in a quick ride before dark. The Sallie Barber / Barney Ford Loop was recommended, but rather than follow the directions, I pedaled straight up Carter Park Trail and later realized I was riding the loop backwards. I eventually got myself turned around and on the loop going the right way.

You’ll be traveling on surface streets and dirt roads for a few miles to start with, which makes the uphill pedaling relatively easy. Once you reach the top of Sallie Barber Road, you’ll have a lot of fun singletrack options back to Carter Park.

  • From the Carter Park parking lot, head north on High St. for five blocks.
  • When High St. dead ends, turn right onto Wellington Road.
  • Take Wellington for about a mile and then bear right at the Wellington / Reiling / French Gulch Road intersection.
  • Continue up French Gulch for 2.9 miles to the Lincoln trailhead.
  • Just past the trailhead kiosk, turn right onto Sallie Barber Road and head uphill for 1.2 miles to the Sallie Barber Mine.
  • Continue past the mine and turn right onto Barney Ford Trail. (This is where the fun downhill begins.)
  • Follow Barney Ford to Moonstone Trail, then to Carter Park Trail back to the park.
3. Carter Park / Moonstone / Barney Ford (out and back)

5 miles, intermediate

The trails out of Carter Park were so much fun I returned three times in four days. I found the dirt fast and flowy, and there are nice views of town. The network of trails in the area offers a few different loop options and out-and-back rides.

The Carter Park network is also popular among trail runners and dog walkers; these different user groups seem to happily coexist.

For a short but solid ride, head straight up from the Carter Park trailhead to the top of Barney Ford Trail. This is also a good alternative to the Sallie Barber Loop for those who prefer riding only on singletrack. The descent will be the same, but the uphill climb is much steeper and shorter.

  • Take Carter Park Trail from the trailhead at the parking lot and pedal up the steep switchbacks for .5 miles.
  • Take Moonstone Trail up for another .5 miles.
  • Next, take Barney Ford Trail for 1.5 more miles of up.
  • Return to Carter Park the same way you climbed.
Burro Trail (out and back)

6 miles, intermediate

After four days exploring Breck, I hadn’t got my fill of riding, so I set the alarm and hit the trails before sunrise on departure day. The bike valet guy at my hotel recommended Burro Trail; the trailhead was close by, so it was a good option for squeezing in one last ride.

This out-and-back is a mix of double and singletrack and is a good one if you’re short on time or want to grab a few extra miles after a day of riding. The trail follows a creek most of the way up and has a few rock gardens for more challenging terrain. Most people take it for about 3 miles before turning around, but there are options to continue on a more technical trail.

  • Start at the base of Peak 9 and head up the dirt road for about 100 yards. The trailhead is marked with a forest service sign and is easy to spot.
  • The trail winds uphill and eventually crosses a 4WD road at about 3 miles.
  • Turn around and descend the same way, or continue up for a longer and more technical ride.
Downhill option

Peak 8 Fun Park has more than 20 miles of downhill singletrack accessible by chairlift. The park was already closed for the season when I visited in late September, but the crew was working hard on trail building and maintenance and is excited to showcase some new trails next summer.

Bike park lift tickets cost $15 for one lift or $30 for unlimited rides.

Rentals

Bike rentals at Alpine Sports — one of several shops in town — start at $25 for a half day on a Specialized hardtail, $35 for a full day; $45 gets you a half day on a Specialized full suspension, $55 for a full day.

The shop has four locations in Breckenridge and also rents road bikes, cruisers, tandems, kids’ bikes, and child trailers.

Trail etiquette

There are “mud-o-meter” signs posted at most trailheads; use good judgment and stay off muddy or closed trails.



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