Breckenridge Bike Guide: Boreas Pass fall ride (video)
July 18, 2016
SUMMIT COUNTY — When the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad company built built the Boreas Pass narrow-gauge route in the late 1800s, they hardly chose the route for it's breathtaking beauty in September. But it couldn't have worked out better for modern-day mountain bikers.
The route, now known as Boreas Pass Road, is found southeast of Breckenridge and follows an abandoned narrow-gauge railroad bed, giving cyclists of all abilities access to scenic views and historic mining remains on the Continental Divide. It's a hot spot in autumn, and for good reason: the road is lined with thick, colorful aspens for a tunnel-like foliage climb on a mellow uphill grade. You'll often run into hikers and motorists, but the road is flat and wide enough to accommodate just about anyone, even when it burrows through rocky cliffs.
Veteran riders, don't be thrown off by the relatively easy route. In autumn this one is all about the visuals, and it connects with at a handful of singletrack routes (Baker's Tank, Aspen Alley and more) for adrenaline-pumping descents.
Know before you go
Well-maintained and gradual, this road is excellent for novices. When the gate near the trailhead is closed, the road is still snowy and wet. Cyclists should avoid this ride until the gate is opened. Expect vehicle traffic, which can be heavy on weekends. Boreas Pass is above timberline — be prepared for changing weather.
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Begin climbing toward Boreas Pass. The ride follows an abandoned railroad grade, which once was the route of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad. This fairly smooth dirt road climbs gradually through beautiful aspen groves, making it a superb fall ride. Pass Baker's Tank, which stored water for railway use, at 3 miles. Continue climbing on the main road along the flank of Mount Baldy. At the pass, you'll have incredible views from the Continental Divide. Perched near the road is the restored Boreas Pass Section House. From the pass, return as you came. The road actually continues another 11 miles down to the vast expanse of South Park and the small town of Como.
From I-70, drive south through Breckenridge on Highway 9. Turn left onto Boreas Pass Road (also known as Broken Lance Drive if taken to the right) at the stoplight on the south end of town. Drive 3.5 miles up this winding road to pavement's end. Park in a pull-off on the left where the road becomes dirt.
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