Gold Hill Trailhead to Copper Mountain, White River National Forest
Enjoy a hike through ski country before the winter sports begin! This 13.1 mile hike along the Continental Divide Trail/Colorado Trail is located near the runs of Breckenridge and travels through the Tenmile Range leading to a spectacular view of Copper Mountain Resort. Along this segment you will cross Boreas Pass, Hoosier Pass, and Fremont Pass. Please note that the first half of this route is very popular for mountain bikers.
The trail begins with a climb through lodgepole pines accented with patches of sage. If you look to the southwest you will soon see the ski runs of Breckenridge. Continue on the trail and follow the Colorado Trail signs. Soon you will pass through two clearcut logging areas from which you will be able to view the twin peaks of Grays and Torreys to the east-northeast. From this spot glance a little south along the Divide to see Mount Baldy and Guyot. The Colorado Trail then meets up with the Peaks Trail at mile 3.3 where you will turn left and follow the trail for .3 miles. At mile 3.6 you will turn right onto Miners Creek Trail. Note: Water and camping is not a problem between miles 3.3 and 6.4. Continue on the trail across Miners Creek for .6 miles where you will be able to view two very different avalanche paths, one of wildflowers and one of crushed logs.
Proceed hiking the Miners Creek Trail as you climb steeply until the trail curves south leading to a low saddle at mile 6.6. Before you reach the saddle, take in the view of Dillon Reservoir to the northeast. As you hike the saddle at 11,840 ft. the town of Breckenridge can be seen straight ahead in a valley. Continue climbing the ridge to 12,440 ft. where you will take in the spectacular view of Copper Mountain Resort. Concluding the trail, follow cairns to mile 10.1. Here you will make a 180 degree turn to the right (northwest) so that you are on the Wheeler Trail. At mile 12.2 make a right onto a 4WD road toward Wheeler Flats, following the east side of Tenmile Creek. Soon there will be a cement bridge to cross and a paved bike path to follow at mile 13.1. You will then need to turn left and cross a wooden bridge over Tenmile Creek to the Wheeler Flats parking lot. Contact: CDTC at 1-720-340-CDTC (2382) or the White River National Forest’s Dillon Ranger District 970-468-5400.
Length: 13.1 miles, one-way.
Directions: Gold Hill Trailhead: Take I-70 to Exit 203, follow Hwy 9 south for 6 miles to a parking area on the west side of the road. A sign marks the trailhead. Wheeler Flats Parking Lot: Take I-70 to Exit 195. Take CO Hwy 91 south and turn left just after an overpass. Go past a Conoco gas station for .4 miles to the Wheeler Flats Parking Lot.
Maps: USGS 7.5 Quadrangles: Frisco, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, and Vail Pass. Trails Illustrated #’s 108, 109.
Other Information: White River National Forest – http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/