Summit County Bike Guide: X10U8 in autumn (video)
SUMMIT COUNTY — French Gulch might as well be a mountain-bike playground.
Running smack through the middle of this MTB wonderland is X10U8, a wonderfully fast and endlessly fun section of singletrack nestled between French Gulch Road and the Minnie Mine trail. At less than a mile, this trail is almost over before it begins, but, for two or three minutes, it’s one hell of a ride, featuring berms, small table tops and narrow pine corridors. This is an intro to technical riding — no burly downhill bike required.
X10U8 sits low on the hillside, nearly at the same elevation as French Gulch Road, and is often one of the first trails in the area to dry out. The entire stretch is usually ready to rock by mid to late May.
As for the name, just sound it out a few times as you’re powering through the berms. The namesake is fitting (even if it’s not quite the proper context): This trail seems intimidating on first glance, but, by the time you fly through the final corner and skid out onto French Gulch Road, you’ll be ready for lap two. It’s not nearly as bad as it seems, and like all north-side French Gulch trails, it’s surrounded by gorgeous aspens in fall. Head for a ride now before they’re gone or, more likely, covered in snow from a freak early October storm.
Know Before You Go
The French Gulch area is home to several trailheads and parking lots, but none are open to overnight parking or camping. It’s also a popular spot for hikers, including dogs, and trails are occasionally closed for mountain-bike or trail-running races. Be sure to bring water.
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The 0.75-mile trail weaves from the Minnie Mine trailhead to French Gulch Road. From the Reiling Dredge lot, pedal several hundred yards up Minnie Mine to the X10U8 marker on the left side of the trail. Drop into the trail, and be ready for small table tops on the left-hand side. They’re easily avoidable by staying to the right of the trail.
Pedal through 1/4 mile of small jumps and tight turns before coming to the first berm section. The berms vary in size from hairpin to long, slingshot-style corners. Very few are tall (don’t expect a legitimate downhill course), but be wary of loose dirt a month or two into the season.
The berms last for another 1/4 mile before leading to a final series of pine and aspen corridors, punctuated by the occasional table top. The trail ends at a meadow near the base of a mine tail on the shoulder of French Gulch Road. From here, take a leisurely cruise up the dirt road for another lap or split off to one of more than a half-dozen nearby trails.
X10U8 and the remaining French Gulch trails (Minnie Mine, B&B Trail, Side Door, etc.) are all accesible by French Gulch Road. From Breckenridge, head east on County Road 450, and bear right at the junction with Forest Hills Drive. Continue another 1/2 mile to the stop sign. Take French Gulch Road, and continue through the neighborhood until the road turns to dirt. From there, drive 3 miles to the Reiling Dredge Trailhead. Parking is in a small lot on the left.
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