Breckenridge to Baker's Tank and Back

 5 votes
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Featured Ride
Trail

13.3 Miles 21.4 Kilometers


80%

Singletrack

1,754' 535 m

Ascent

-1,750' -533 m

Descent

11,110' 3,386 m

High

9,675' 2,949 m

Low

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Bad / Closed

12 days agoUpdate

A loop ride from town to the historic Baker's Tank.

Don Leinweber

Overview

This is a great link from town up the lower slopes of Baldy Mountain to Baker's Tank, an historic railroad water tank along Boreas Pass Road. The trail features a respectable amount of singletrack. The road sections are closed to motorized use with the exception of Baldy Road.

Wayfinding from the top of Nightmare on Baldy to Mountain Pride Trail can be confusing. In general, dramatic (steep) climbs or descents are an indication that a wrong turn has been made.

The description includes an out and back at the upper end of the ride to Baker's Tank. The ride length can be shortened by cutting this section out. However, the 1.8 mile out and back is extremely enjoyable and includes a fun, flowy section of trail with abundant aspen and some of the best dirt in the area.

Trails ridden for this loop in order are: Sunbeam Trail, Carter Park, Moonstone Trail (via Hermit Placer), Juniata Trail (or Barney Ford), Sallie Barber parallel singletrack, Sallie Barber Road, Nightmare on Baldy, True Romance, Crossing Route (528.1B), Pinball Alley, Mountain Pride Trail, Baker's Tank Trail (out and back to tank then downhill), Aspen Alley, Blue River Trail, Illinois Creek (High). From Illinois Creek, Southside Trail and Illinois Creek Low are also fun back to the ice rink.

For a little more challenge Jack's Cruel Joke begins across from Sunbeam Trail on Sunbeam Drive and can be climbed to Hermit Placer then to Moonstone Trail.

Feeling tired after Aspen Alley, turn right to Boreas Pass Road then descend back down the pavement to the ice rink.

If the loop becomes too strenuous, or is being ridden in the fall; Valdero Trail can be used at the midpoint of the Baker's Tank Trail descent to connect to Boreas Pass Road. Boreas Pass Road west of this intersection passes through a large aspen grove, and offers stunning views of the Goose Pasture Tarn (Town of Breckenridge reservoir). Aspen Alley can then still be descended.

Need To Know

The description and GPS track begins and ends at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena on Boreas Pass, south of Town.

This loop can be done counterclockwise as well. The lower half of Baker's Tank Trail is no picnic, but Nightmare on Baldy and Barney Ford trails are both great downhill. Barney Flow or B-Line trails offer great alternatives to Moonstone Trail if ridden CCW.

As with many rides in Breckenridge, there are numerous opportunities to lengthen this ride by incorporating adjacent trails.

This ride can be combined with the Classic Breckenridge Route from Barney Ford Trail for a longer tour of Breckenridge.

The kid-friendly trail network around the ice arena offers an opportunity for ride swapping with the family.

Description

Park at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. Cross Boreas Pass Road to Sunbeam Drive. Sunbeam Trail begins on the left side of the road and leads to Carter Park.

At Carter Park climb the Carter Park switchbacks to a flume. Go left then take an immediate right onto Moonstone Trail. Climb to Moonstone Rd.

Cross Moonstone Rd to a singletrack. Turn right at the first junction onto Juniata Trail (or continue left on Barney Ford Trail to Sallie Barber Road). Climb Juniata a short distance and cross Baldy Road and continue uphill on singletrack. The trail crosses a ped/bike bridge then climbs a wide, rocky section of trail before becoming more buff dirt. Continue for another 2/3 mile to Baldy Road again. Cross Baldy Road to Sallie Barber Road.

Take the Sallie Barber parallel singletrack to the west of the pavement, climb back to Sallie Barber Road and ride through a gate. Sallie Barber Road contours for a mile before climbing steeply for 1/3 mile to Sallie Barber Mine.

Take an uphill right turn, climbing south up Nightmare on Baldy. The trail begins steeply and is rutted and rocky, remnants of the original namesake nightmare this trail used to be. After a few hundred feet, a singletrack trail begins on the right.

At the top of Nightmare on Baldy turn right at a post on the True Romance mining road, pass through a wooden chicane and continue contouring south past a steep left and cross a boggy section of doubletrack. The trail then descends to Baldy Road (now a primitive gravel road).

Turn right on Baldy Road then immediately left onto the Crossing Route doubletrack with a brown, USFS carsonite marker indicating road 528.1B. Crossing Route climbs briefly then begins to contour passing through a four-way intersection and timber barrier (there is a marker identifying the uphill leg as USFS road 538 & timber barriers on the side trails as well). Continue straight, on the contour through this junction. After ~1,000 feet, the trail begins to climb a steep, rocky, rutted section. After a short distance, look for an unmarked singletrack on the right.

Turn right onto Pinball Alley singletrack, and climb to a high point and fork in the trail. Take a right and descend through an s-curve. Turn left and south out of the s-curve at the Mountain Pride mine tailings area onto Mountain Pride Trail (USFS Trail #9031).

The trail crosses a few dirt turnpikes, then begins to contour. In just under a mile, the trail merges with the Baker's Tank Trail (USFS Trail #40) at a Y-intersection which includes a sharp right turn downhill. There is a trail marker at this intersection. The ride can be shortened by taking a right onto Baker's Tank Trail.

Continue straight at this junction for an out and back section along a fun, flowy, aspen descent to Boreas Pass Road at Baker's Tank. Turn around and begin back up Baker's Tank Trail. Take an opportunity to stop after ~1,000 feet at an overlook with a small bench on the south side of the trail.

Continue back to the intersection with Mountain Pride Trail, turn left and descend. At the midpoint of the descent, Baker's Tank Trail crosses Valdero Trail - USFS #9032. Continue due west on Baker's Tank Trail. The trail is well marked.

Baker's Tank Trail climbs briefly before topping out and descending to the Boreas Pass winter trailhead. Turn left on Boreas Pass Road at the trailhead passing through an open gate. Take Aspen Alley on the right side of the road just after the gate.

Aspen Alley (USFS trail #9133) descends 1 mile through a number of tacky, flowy switchbacks to a gravel driveway adjacent to Boreas Pass Road (paved).

Cross the drive, turn left onto the Blue River Trail. After 1/4 mile turn right at a post onto the Illinois Creek High Trail. Follow Illinois Creek passing the Southside Trail on the left. Descend right through a switchback with a straight option and ride east passing two more left turns before a final curve. Ride straight out across a short bridge back to the parki

History & Background

Here is a great link to the Summit Historical Society and information on Baker's Tank: summithistorical.org/BakerT...
and another for Sallie Barber: summithistorical.org/Sallie...

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 5 votes

#5

in Breckenridge

#984

Overall
  4.4 from 5 votes
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in Breckenridge

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in Colorado

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Bad / Closed 12 days ago

Looks like a great loop, which I will try next summer. However, your description mentions Nightmare on Baldy a second time and the second occurrence should be Bakers Tank Trail. Nov 28, 2014


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