Breckenridge Bike Guide: Baker’s Tank loop (video)
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 1-2 hours
Elevation: 10,360-10,850 ft.
Type: Loop, dirt road, trail
Season: Late June to
Parking: 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 brown access gate.
When the gate on Boreas Pass Road (near the lower Baker’s Tank trailhead) is closed, Boreas Pass Road is still snowy and wet. Avoid this ride until the gate opens. Expect vehicle traffic on the road, especially on weekends and throughout July and August. Bordered by aspen trees, the ascent up Boreas Pass rewards autumn riders with colorful views of Quandary Peak and the Tenmile Range to the west. Snow tends to linger on the Baker’s Tank trail early in summer, and the trail tends to flood in sections after heavy rains. The route connects with several trails leading to public land. Know the trails and junctions before heading out.
The trail can be taken in either direction. Most riders prefer to pedal up Boreas Pass Road to the upper Baker’s Tank trailhead, leaving a solid 3 miles of singletrack for the descent.
For this route, follow Boreas Pass Road 3 miles to Baker’s Tank. Turn onto a rocky jeep road forking left just before the tank. From the upper trailhead, climb briefly and veer left onto a trail starting near a fence. It parallels the dirt road below and then switchbacks hard left. Pedal along this nearly level trail as it winds around a hill, clinging to a steep slope. Reach a junction at 3.9 miles, turn left at the brown arrow sign and begin a long descent (going straight leads to the Exploded Mine trail and Pinball Alley private property and a connector with Baldy Mountain Road).
For the rest of this ride, expect uphill traffic and use caution around blind corners. Enjoy twists and turns through dense forest. The singletrack is covered with roots and rocks, but the grade is rarely steeper than 6% to 7%, making it a perfect introduction to light technical riding. Veteran mountain bikers will enjoy barreling through the turns as fast as their suspension allows.
The singletrack connects with an old road at 4.5 miles. Turn left at the junction (going right again leads to private land), then descend briefly and bear right almost immediately to head back onto the singletrack. The overgrown path to the left leads to a camping area/turnaround and connects with Boreas Pass Road.
After returning to rooty, rocky singletrack, continue on the trail as it cruises along a fairly level section through the trees for about 1 mile. It then descends along a steep hillside, switchbacking downward before ending at the small trailhead parking lot.
A mellow pedal up Boreas Pass Road brings you to Baker’s Tank – a giant water tank once used by trains crossing over Boreas Pass. It’s a cool bit of history and the start of the fun section of the trail. After a fast level pedal back along the hillside, veer left at the fork in the singletrack for a bomber singletrack back down to the Boreas trailhead. Some fast curves and tight corners mean you have to stay on your toes. While not overly technical, the occasional loose rock can catch a speedy rider unawares.
— Taylor Shelden
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