“One of the best rides in the mountains within one hour of the front range!
— Brandon Eifrid
Kenosha is a favorite of many front range riders. It's a great way to get up to some primo singletrack high country riding in the early summer. The Kenosha to Breckenridge shuttle ride is one of the most epic rides you can do but its typically a logistical nightmare especially when you have quite a few 'epic ride' hungry chums with you. It's much simpler to meet up and drive up to Kenosha Pass off of 285 south, about 15 minutes south of Bailey, and do this incredible out and back on the Colorado Trail.
What makes this ride so special? Everything! First of all most of everything you'll ride is very nice singletrack and the trail is rarely in poor shape. It has beautiful overlooks down onto the Como & Fairplay area valley, multiple patches of aspens, fun flowy trails with some challenging but very doable rocky and rooty sections and tons of beautiful high country mountain and pine forest views. There are quite a few picturesque and comfortable places to chill and eat a bar or pb&j.
This ride is definitely tough so I would say it's for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers.
Be sure you have preserved some energy and some fuel as there are a couple sustained climbs back out and up to the parking lot. You can always explore the east side of the CT before or after this big ride but you can only ride a bike about 7 miles east of 285 due to the Lost Creek Wilderness boundary.
Usually snow melt allows for riding to the top (Georgia Pass) roughly 2 weeks before the beginning of July. It's possible to do the entire ride as late as mid November but this always depends on mother nature.
Need to Know
It can be tough to gauge when this ride is fully rideable in the early summer, anywhere from mid May to the weekend before July 4th. Fall can be a tough time to ride here as there are always crowds of hikers on the weekends out to see the fall aspens so be courteous of them for the first couple miles, after that the traffic dies down significantly.
There's also a campground right at the trailhead if you prefer to sleep under the stars after your ride.
There's a large parking lot right at the top of Kenosha Pass on 285. You'll ride the Colorado Trail west or on the right side if you're headed south on 285. It starts off with a tough climb that makes almost everyone gasp for air while mumbling 'Wow, I'm feeling the altitude!' because you are above 10,000'.
Stay on the Colorado Trail and you'll come to the backside of that pass. You'll see where 285 drops back down to the huge Como valley. You'll pass through sections of aspens, some more descents and rolling terrain, then you'll finally dump down to a dirt road.
Cross the road, head over a big bridge, ride up about 200 yards and you'll see a sign that says Colorado Trail up and to the left. That begins a climb up to Georgia Pass that is typically about 45 mins. - 1 hr. This section is challenging as the first 3-4 miles are rocky and somewhat technical.
About 2.5 miles up you can take a break at what we is called 'Lunch Rocks' where there is a big rock outcropping that gives you some nice views. After lunch, keep heading up and you'll soon be above treeline. Once you get up about 1/2 mile from Georgia Pass, you'll see a sign, a couple tree stump chairs, and a right turn onto W. Jefferson Trail.
Some people like to ride to the top of Georgia Pass and bomb back down on the Colorado Trail the way they came up. Another option is to take W. Jefferson trail down as it's more fun, has much less uphill traffic, and it's a chance to ride a different trail on the way down.
EIther way, you'll be all grins coming down and finally at the end of that descent. If you've followed the Jefferson trail down, you'll pop into a campground. Ride to the right and head towards the far end campsite - ride peacefully and easy through that site until you see a trail that continues as a faint doubletrack. In about 500 yards you'll see the fork for the Colorado Trail - you've just completed the lolli-pop. Continue straight and then back up towards Kenosha Pass parking lots.