Breckenridge Bike Guide: Eric Mamula’s Breck lunch loop
By the numbers
Distance: 9-10 miles
Rating: Moderate to advanced
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Elevation: 9,650-10,985 feet (1,335 feet vertical gain)
Trail: Singletrack, dirt road and paved road
Season: June to late September
Connectors: B&B Trail, V3, Moonstone
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s official: the mayor of Breckenridge has a lunch loop.
In June 2016 — on the first full day of Breck Bike Week festivities, in fact — mayor Eric Mamula (he of Downstairs at Eric’s on Main Street) led a group of eight local and visiting mountain bikers into the woods high, high above his downtown bar for a tour of his favorite singletrack: Turk’s Trail, Nightmare on Baldy, Weber Gulch, Barney Ford and, of course, the Carter Park switchbacks.
“I could take about 50 different rides back there,” Mamula said before the group left Blue River Plaza for a mellow warm-up cruise east on Wellington and French Gulch roads to B&B trailhead, the starting point for more than a dozen French Gulch rides. “It all depends on who shows up.”
Our crew was the perfect size for a lunch loop, and, as if this were some kind of swearing-in ceremony for the then-newly elected mayor, filled with friends and local celebs: former XTERRA pro Jaime Brede, former Boulder-based downhill pro Paul Wells (Mamula’s friend of 25-plus years), Breck 100 bad*** Matt Powers (Mamula’s brother-in-law), longtime locals Craig Cooper and Lubos Pochman (goalie on Mamula’s hockey team), and more. We even ran into Jeff Westcott, overseer of almost all things Breck Bike Week, at the midpoint of our ride near Sallie Barber mine after passing Wells’ and Mamula’s sons on Turk’s.
“You see all this?” Westcott said when our group pedaled up to his and was joined by at least a dozen other mountain bikers cruising the trails on a wet, cool June morning. “This is Bike Week in a nutshell.”
Now, without further ado, the Summit Daily sports desk presents Eric’s Lunch Loop, the unofficial (and, by now, official) name of the two-hour ride Mamula invented on the spot. Enjoy.
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The route begins in downtown Breckenridge and weaves east to the B&B trailhead, found about two miles from Main Street on French Gulch Road. This first section is on paved roads — be careful and respect motorists.
From the B&B trailhead parking lot, take B&B trail about 0.5 miles to the junction with Turk’s Trail.
Bear slight right and continue on Turk’s uphill for about 1.5 miles to the junction with Sallie Barber Road.
Turn right on Sallie Barber, heading uphill again. The first half of this ride is all climbing, but the singletrack is mellow and the road is even mellower.
After reaching Sallie Barber mine (about 1.5 miles from the Turk’s junction), bear left onto the newly realigned Nightmare on Baldy. This is the steepest and nastiest climb of the ride, but it’s short and sweet. Don’t hike-a-bike — give it your best.
Nightmare on Baldy turns into Sweet Dreams after about 0.5 miles, which takes you on new singletrack that’s much more mellow and inviting than the old uphill grind. Ride Sweet Dreams for about one mile to the junction with Weber Gulch.
Turn left onto Weber Gulch and continue on fun, fast, straight doubletrack for about 0.75 miles to a hard left onto the Weber Gulch singletrack.
Ride the Weber Gulch singletrack through tight pines, switchbacks and deadfall — easily the most heart-pounding section of the ride — for 0.5 miles to the junction with Trail of Tears.
Continue straight on Trail of Tears for another 0.5 miles of tight and occasionally technical descent. Trail of Tears ends at Sallie Barber mine.
From the mine, take a left onto Sallie Barber Road (past the gate) and ride downhill for about two miles on dirt road filled with jump-like bumps and rocks. Keep an eye out for hikers and other cyclists, but enjoy it. The descent is just too much fun.
Near the end of the road, watch for the Barney Ford trailhead on the left-hand side of the road. Take Barney Ford about 1.5 miles for another singletrack descent with brief uphill climbs over roots, rocks and tight gullies.
Barney Ford crosses pavement and splits into two sections: the Barney Ford singletrack (used by uphill and downhill traffic) and the Barney Flow mini-park, with berms, log bridges and small kickers. Both end after 0.5 miles at the top of Carter Park.
Take the Carter Park switchbacks to the parking lot on High Street and return to Main.
This ride is designed to begin on Main Street by taking Wellington Road to French Gulch Road and the B&B trailhead. Begin at either Carter Park on 300 High Street or the B&B trailhead. If you start there, know that you’ll have to ride about two miles from the bottom of Carter Park switchbacks to your car.
For B&B, take Highway 9 south to Breckenridge. Turn left onto County Road 450 (found just north of downtown Breckenridge) and bear right at the junction with Forest Hills Drive. Continue another 0.5 miles over several speed bumps to the stop sign. Take French Gulch Road, and continue through the neighborhood until the road turns to dirt. From there, drive about one mile to the B&B Trailhead lot. Parking is on the right in the dredge-rock field.
Editor’s note: Updated June 22, 2017.
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