“One of the Colorado Trail's finest segments; alpine vistas and flawless downhills!
— Chuck McQuade
Segment 6 is a true Colorado Trail gem! It's hard to find 30+ miles of singletrack which leaves you wishing there was more at the rides end. The ride starts at a high elevation pass alternating a few warm-up climbs with downhill sections before taking on a long climb to Georgia Pass, which tops out just shy of 12,000'.
After a quick rest and enjoying the impressive alpine vista, the amazing yet demanding downhill begins with a long, rocky and techy section before coming to the middle fork of the Swan River. Recover for the next few miles before crossing the North Fork jeep road to tackle the rides most demanding climb. Push on as it's all downhill from here...for ten fast and flowy miles!!
Need to Know
Given the length of the ride and the amount of time spent at high elevations, a large amount of water and calories is a necessity. Don't underestimate the demanding nature of the ride; at mile 20 you'll encounter the rides most challenging climb, with 1/3 of the ride remaining you want to have some energy to enjoy the rides final 10 miles of dreamy downhill!
Logistically, arranging the car shuttle is an important and challenging part of this ride. It takes about one hour to drive from Breckenridge to Kenosha Pass. Consider camping or finding lodging in Breckenridge then staying for a few days to enjoy some of the endless riding opportunities in summit county. Broken Compass Brewery
is a great après ride watering hole two miles south of the rides end along the Blue River Bikeway
There's a large parking lot right at the top of Kenosha Pass on Highway 285. Look for the Colorado Trail sign heading west from the pass. The ride breaks you in quick with a nice root-strewn climb, it's here you realize that you are above 10,000' with 30+ miles to go. Pretty quickly, you'll come to a nice clearing among some aspens as you look west over the Como Valley. Up next is your first descent as you work your way down across the valley floor before crossing Jefferson Creek.
At this point, the slog begins. You'll encounter a steep and continuously technical climb for the next six miles en route to Georgia Pass, the rides high point topping out at almost 12,000 feet. A few miles into the climb, you'll come across "Lunch Rock", which offers a prime spot to refuel and take in the views to the northeast. A few more miles and the climb mellows as you start to break treeline. At the fork with West Jefferson Trail
, you'll continue left through the alpine tundra before coming to Georgia Pass. Take a moment to snap some pictures under Mt Guyot, which looms overhead just to the west of the pass. On a clear day to the NE you can also see 14,000' peaks, Grays and Torreys.
Now the fun begins! Continue on the Colorado Trail dropping NE from the pass, the first several miles are fast and flowy. Once the grade steepens, the next three miles are very technical and demanding taking you through endless rock gardens and tight switchbacks before ending at the middle fork of the Swan River. After crossing a bridge and a jeep road, look for the Colorado Trail to continue on much tamer terrain.
Utilize the next few miles to recover before crossing the North Fork jeep road. The next climb is likely the rides crux. In comparison to the long and steady climb up to Georgia Pass, this climb is steeper, not to mention you are now 20 miles into the ride. The initial mile is the most challenging. Push on as the reward is priceless! Soon you'll be grinning ear to ear as you fly down flawless downhill for what seems like an endless three miles.
At this point, you'll come to the junction with Red Trail
, the Colorado Trail takes a u-turn left and continues. After a brief climb, the downhill bliss continues before coming to Horseshoe Gulch. The trail crosses the creek and continues on heading west. This can be a congested spot as the "Dredge" parking lot is just to the south, a popular launching point for the areas extensive trails system. However, your fun is not over yet, after a brief climb savor your last two miles of downhill which ends with steep switchbacks hanging over Tiger Run Resort.
Finally, the trail wraps around a small pond then continues after crossing a paved road. The final crux is crossing Highway 9 before heading north for a few hundred yards to the Gold Hill trailhead and the start of CT - Segment 7: Gold Hill Trail