Summit County Colorado – June 2022
Whenever I visit family and friends in Colorado, I generally seek out a couple destinations to get in some biking. This trip was no different. On the first day, I did some mountain biking on the Peaks Trail between Frisco and Breckenridge (with a little ride up the paved Tenmile Rec path towards Copper Mountain). I hit the Galena Gulch to Colorado Trail loop the following day.
I love to bike, especially mountain biking. However, I also love to explore, take in nature and take a million pictures. I typically search for the most scenic trail in the area then research the trail characteristics. I am willing to take on any climb if it will result in an exhilarating downhill and/or offer spectacular views. I enjoy flow trails but I prefer that there are some rocks and roots and maybe some cliff edges to make it interesting. I like drops and small jumps but will avoid the big stuff as they are beyond my skill set and bravery level.
The Peaks Trail
I drove from Michigan and arrived in Frisco in mid-morning and went directly to the Rainbow Lake Trailhead. I initially intended to ride a portion of the Frisco 20 loop. I thought the 7ish miles of paved trail at the outset would allow some altitude acclimation before a steep climb to 12,000 ft and the epic scenery. However, as it is a 20 mile loop and would undoubtedly be a grueling ride for me and the forecast called for thunderstorms, I decided to change plans when I arrived at the trailhead.
The Peaks trail is about 8 miles from Frisco to Breckenridge. I rode about 3 or 4 miles up to what appeared to be the top of the trail then headed back down. The first mile was more of a hiking trail than a mountain bike trail. There was a mix of boardwalk wood framed dirt and some tricky rock gardens.
After about 2/3 mile in, I arrived at Rainbow Lake. A small, pretty lake that would be an ideal spot to relax on the way back down.
Another quarter mile or so you cross Miners Creek Rd. The trail continues about 7 miles from this point but I only went about half of that due to the concern of the impending thunderstorm. The trail was smooth in certain sections then became rooty and rocky in others. The climb was not too strenuous and the grade varied from about 3% to almost 14%. The steep sections were quite short and easily managed. There are plenty of opportunities to pull over and enjoy the scenery and eat some lunch.
Here are some screenshots from my GoPro to give you an idea of the terrain:
The ride down was an absolute riot. As you can see from the photos above, the terrain was varied and it kept me on my toes. Since the grade was not too steep, my maximum speed was about 23 mph, and I was probably between 12-16 mph for most of the way down. Click on the link below to check out the downhill run. I apologize for the shakiness in certain sections, I did not have the camera fastened tightly enough.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable adventure and checked off all the important boxes for me: not too difficult, scenic, varied terrain and great spots to pull off and soak in the great outdoors.
Next time I will give an overview of the Galena Gulch to Colorado Trail ride I did the following day. That one was spectacular but was an extremely grueling climb for this old and not in good-shape biker. I will say this though, the downhill was definitely worth the climb!
I would like to offer some random advice that comes from several years of roaming around the country; Always stop at the scenic overlooks. No matter how rushed you are or how lame you might think it will be, pull over and check it out. Once in a while you will get a dud, but 9 times out of 10 you will be rewarded.
Case in point. The day after the Peaks ride, I left my hotel in Silverthorne, had a great breakfast (I’ll talk about that next time) and headed off to the trailhead near Keystone. The route took me around Dillon Reservoir which has always been one of my favorite spots. On the way I see the Sapphire Point Overlook and pull in. Turns out it is a scenic 1-mile or so tree-lined trail with beautiful views of the reservoir and surrounding mountain peaks. It’s so scenic that weddings are held there. As a matter of fact one was just finishing up when I arrived. I ended up spending about a half hour there.
By Rob Dale, AKA “The Biking Boss,” for no particular reason
Check out some of Rob’s past blogs on his site: https://thebikingboss.wordpress.com/