Breckenridge Bike Guide: Boreas Pass Road (video)
Distance: 12.5 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Elevation: 10,360-11,481 ft.
Type: Gravel-bike friendly out-and-back on dirt road
Season: Mid-June to
Parking: Pull-off lot on Boreas Pass Road where pavement becomes dirt.
When the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad company built the Boreas Pass narrow-gauge route in the late 1800s, they didn’t choose the route for its breathtaking beauty in July, August and September. But it couldn’t have worked out better for modern-day cyclists. The road follows the railroad bed, giving bikers of all abilities access to scenic views and historic mining remains along the Continental Divide, found just south of Breckenridge. It’s a hot spot in autumn, and for good reason: The road is lined with thick, colorful aspen for a tunnel-like foliage climb on a mellow uphill grade. Boreas Pass is above timberline, so be prepared for changing weather.
Begin climbing toward Boreas Pass. This fairly smooth dirt road climbs gradually through beautiful aspen groves, making it a superb fall ride. Pass Baker’s Tank, which once stored water for railway use, at 3 miles. Continue climbing on the main road along the flank of Bald Mountain. 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 continues another 11 miles down to the vast expanse of South Park and the small town of Como, if you want a deeper, even more scenic ideal gravel-biking experience.
This is more of a gravel-cycling route, but if you’re looking for a fun gravel or mountain-bike ride, you can climb up to Boreas Pass Road where you see mountain ranges from Quandary through the Tenmile Range. In warmer weather, there are Aspen blooms all around, and you can get up to the Continental Divide at tree line at Boreas Pass where you can connect to other trails. Down lower on the road, you can find connectors to Aspen Alley and Baker’s Tank. Coming back down on your bike, if you are willing to push it, you can really move fast, but you have to be more careful because Boreas Pass Road is busy with cars, tourists, pedestrians, dogs and hikers. It can get dangerous and dusty, but it’s really beautiful. — Lasse Konecny
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