Summit County Bike Trails: French Gulch
This well-maintained dirt road travels through historic French Gulch, passing many fascinating mining remains before becoming a rugged track that climbs steeply to a remote mountain pass.
Know Before You Go: Lower French Gulch Road (up to the Sallie Barber Mine Spur) is often dry enough to ride by April. And the first 6.5 miles of this ride are easy, recommended for novices and usually free of snow by mid-June. Just the last couple of miles to the pass require advanced skills (and are only dry from July through September). Expect traffic on Lower French Gulch Road, which is surrounded mainly by private land for the first few miles. Please respect all “No Trespassing” signs. French Pass is above timberline; be prepared for rapidly changing weather. Most historic buildings are private and fragile; please view them from a distance. Beautiful stands of aspen make French Gulch a spectacular fall ride.
Parking: From I-70, follow Hwy 9 south to Breckenridge. Turn right at the stoplight on the north edge of town onto North Park. Drive by City Market and park in one of the large lots located on the left side of Park Avenue.
Description: Follow the beginning of the Sallie Barber Mine ride but continue straight where that ride forks right and drops to the stream. At roughly 4.8 miles, beyond a large tailings slope on the left that spills from the top of Humbug Hill, you ride through a gate. Continue climbing, passing a fork on the left for Little French Gulch. The road gets a little rougher as it passes a few homes nestled in the trees. It crosses over some rocks, boggy areas and a small creek but remains a gradual climb. Eventually you’ll enter a wildflower-filled meadow. At the far end of it, the road starts climbing steeply. Novices should turn around here. Advanced riders can tackle the strenuous ascent to French Pass. After a gate and stream crossing, this rarely-used road becomes rock-filled and technically demanding as it traverses lush meadows below rugged peaks. Sometimes changing to singletrack, the route becomes quite steep and may require some walking. Rewarding views from French Pass make the climb worthwhile. The route continues, but heads far south from Summit County toward Hwy 285. From the pass, return as you came.
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