Summit County Bike Trails: Colorado Trail, Copper to Searle/Kokomo Pass |

Summit County Bike Trails: Colorado Trail, Copper to Searle/Kokomo Pass

Vail Valley resident Sandy Fuller hikes the trail above Janet's Cabin to Searle Pass.
Kim Fuller / Special to the Daily |

From a trailhead near Copper Mountain, this section of the Colorado Trail offers challenging singletrack climbs on two scenic alpine passes.

Know Before You Go: Avoid this trail during early summer. Sensitive soil can be easily damaged by bike tires. It should also be avoided after significant rainfalls. Anticipate bikers, hikers and heavy guided equestrian traffic on this popular trail. Expect to yield and use caution around blind corners, especially when descending. Much of this ride is above timberline; be prepared for rapidly changing weather.

Parking: Drive west on Interstate 70 and use exit 195 for Copper Mountain. Turn left at Copper Road past the Conoco and the Sewer Wastewater Treatment plant and drive to the parking area at the end of the road. Parking also is available at Copper. The recpath and Colorado Trail are also accessible from Copper’s satellite lot on the left side of Highway 91.

Description: Access the paved recpath from the parking lot. Immediately after crossing the wooden bridge take a right across the concrete bridge onto the old railroad grade. This is now a paved section of the recpath. Follow this for 1/2 mile until it intersects the Colorado Trail coming down from Wheeler Pass. Take a right across the footbridge. Follow the Colorado Trail markers on your left to Highway 91. This section of trail is now paralleled by the recent recpath extension. Cross Highway 91 and continue to follow the trail markers to Copper Mountain Village. Continue to follow the Colorado Trail across the face of Copper Mountain until you cross Guller Creek, then bear left. Soon the drainage widens and provides sweeping views of Elk Ridge. Climb through a series of switchbacks to timberline. The trail curves left above Janet’s Cabin (open only during winter on a reservation basis). Switchback upward through the tundra. Remain on the designated trail to avoid damaging the fragile vegetation. You will reach Searle Pass at 6.5 miles after a final rocky pitch (expect to walk). To continue to Kokomo Pass, veer right and traverse upward along Elk Ridge. Several switchbacks bring you to the high point. The ride ends here since Kokomo Pass is actually below this point. (The trail does continue several miles down to Camp Hale.) Return as you came. Please control your speed on this fast descent to avoid skidding and damaging the trail, and anticipate other trail users on blind corners.

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