Summit Daily Bike Guide: Aspen Alley in fall (video)
Distance: 1.3 miles one way
Rating: Moderate to advanced
Time: 15-20 minutes (descent)
Elevation: 10,376-9,866 feet (500 vertical feet)
Type: Out and back, singletrack
Season: Early June to late October
SUMMIT COUNTY — The name says it all: Aspen Alley is where you go for a surreal, almost claustrophobic roller-coaster ride through aspen tunnels.
Found just outside of Breckenridge at Boreas Pass, the trail is a wild ride in autumn (or any other time of year), when the trail’s namesake aspen stands change colors and begin to drop leaves. Few experiences compare to barreling over a carpet of multi-colored singletrack, but if you’re lucky enough, it’s a must.
The trail also provides stunning views of Breckenridge Ski Resort from start to finish. In 2015, the Breckenridge trail crew finished a series of trail improvements, including mellow berms on the numerous switchbacks and natural-rock pavers on flood-prone sections. And, the upgrades were a godsend: The trail sees a ton of traffic from late May until the start of winter. Be wary of loose dirt in the lower switchbacks late in the season, and, of course bring your camera.
Know before you go
Aspen Alley and Boreas Pass are popular routes for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and day-trippers from May to October. Expect traffic on the ride to and from the trailhead, along with the occasional uphill hiker on the singletrack. When the access gate is closed, the road and all connecting trails are too muddy or snowy for travel. Show the brand-new berms some love, and avoid this ride until the gate is opened.
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Pedal through the Boreas Pass access gate and take an immediate right onto Aspen Alley. The 1.3-mile one-way trail is downhill from start to finish, with only a handful of brief flat sections to catch your breath and rest your brake finger. The singletrack is more flowy than technical — don’t expect massive roots or jagged rocks — and thanks to the addition of switchback berms, it’s now faster than ever before. On average, a single run only takes about 15 minutes, making it a prime candidate for looping three or four times via the Summit Stage bus. Due to high volume, portions of the trail tend to get rutted or dusty depending on the conditions.
From I-70, drive south toward 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. From here, you have two options. Park at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena lot and hop on the free Boreas Pass loop bus. Ride the route for about 15 minutes until the bus reaches the Bluffs Condos stop. Pedal up Boreas Pass Road for about 1 mile to the trailhead.
You can also drive 3.5 miles up Boreas Pass Road to pavement’s end. Park in a pull-off on the left where the road becomes dirt. The Aspen Alley trailhead is on the right immediately after passing through the brown access gate. The trail ends at a small dirt lot about 1/4-mile east of the ice arena. You can either pedal back to the Boreas Pass lot or save your legs by taking the bus from the ice arena.
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