Guests can now use Bitcoin to pay for their reservations at our Lodges
Guests can now use Bitcoin to pay for their reservations at our Lodges
KODI Rafting, based in Frisco Colorado, has been offering full and half day river adventures on 6 Colorado Rivers and Creeks for over 25 years. With all those options, we can find the perfect trip for you and your group. From mild floats to exhilarating whitewater, KODI truly does have something for everyone. Visit us at www.whitewatercolorado.com or feel free to give us a call at 970-668-1548 to book your day on the river. Group discounts are available for all guests of Summit Peaks Lodge. Come see why KODI was voted Summit County’s Favorite Rafting Company 7 times
|More Local News|
Vail Resorts has strong holiday performance But bad early season weather accounts for losses that are hard to make up
After slow start, Summit County snowsports sales are picking up speed Local retailers say they’re coming out of a downward trend
Breckenridge exhibit showcases 100 years of Summit County skiing For whatever the reason, skiers, snowboarders and other downhillers seem to love dressing up and hitting the hill in retro gear on April Fool’s Day and other holidays
Being hundreds of miles away from the ocean didn’t stop Dillon Marina from gaining recognition as being one of the best in the country
Open house slated for Feb. 6
Snow sculptors converge on Breckenridge Event sees wide international field for 2013 competition
Raising roofs in Summit County’s rocky terrain Habitat for Humanity planning new home in spring
Lowest vacancy rate in four years
Copper Mountain launches uphill access pass Skinners looking for early morning powder turns will be able to find them at Copper Mountain
Positive projections for end of January, February
This a real great alternative activity, dog sledding with Snow Cap. Get all the details here: http://www.snowcapssleddogs.com/
or just call 970-453-PULL
We took the kids and had a blast!
Get to know Colorado by visiting the 10th mountain Division Huts!
Trailhead Directions and Details
Take special care with trailhead location. Allow extra time the morning of your trip in case the trailhead is not plowed or otherwise difficult to find or use. Check “New & News” on this website for critical trailhead changes. As parking at trailheads is often limited, please carpool or use a shuttle service whenever possible. Click here for GPS information.
ATTENTION HUT USERS: Due to break-in’s at a few of our trailheads we stongly urge all hut users not to leave anything of value in your car. If you must leave something in your car make sure it is either locked in your trunk or well out of sight.
To reach the Hunter Creek Trailhead, start in the town of Aspen. Follow Main Street in Aspen to Mill Street (the stoplight near the center of town, next to the Hotel Jerome). Turn N on Mill and drive a short distance down a hill, then across a bridge over the Roaring Fork River (.25 miles). Bear left after the bridge and follow the Red Mountain Road 1 mile to its second switchback. Just before the switchback, turn right and downhill on the Hunter Creek Road. Drive approximately .3 miles on Hunter Creek Road, then take a hard left on an unpaved driveway that leads up past a water tank 300 feet to a parking area. The actual trailhead is farther up the mountain, but this is the only parking.
You have several choices for foot travel to the actual trailhead. The simplest method is to walk back down the driveway to the Hunter Creek Road, turn left through two stone gate posts marked “Private,” and follow the paved Hunter Creek Road 1/3 mile around a hairpin switchback to the well-signed Hunter Creek Trailhead on the right side of the road. Your other choice for foot travel is to follow a foot trail that traverses up the mountain from the parking area to the trailhead.
For the New Upper Hunter Creek Parking Area follow Hunter Creek Road up Red Mountain (See Hunter Creek TH directions) and go NE through the stone pillars continuing up Red Mountain Road for approximately 6/10th of a mile to a 3-way intersection. Take a very hard tight turn, and continue E 1/4th of a mile through two sharp swithbacks. You are now on private property. Please respect the homeowners and use the linked map to find the parking area. Do not enter private, marked driveways and do not cross the bridge. Upper Hunter Creek Trailhead Map
PLEASE NOTE THESE IMPORTANT RULES FOR THE NEW PARKING AREA:
This is intended primarily as a skier drop-off area. Be prepared to drop your gear here and return your car to the Hunter Creek Parking area. There are a total of four (4) parking spaces in the skier drop-off area. Two are designated parking spots for 10th Mountain Division Hut users. One is for senior citizens and the last is for handicap parking. The parking spots are on a first-come first-served basis. If you are using it for overnight parking you must leave a copy of your confirmation sheet on the dashboard of your car showing the designated night(s) you will be at the hut. Your car may be ticketed or towed if you a) do not leave proof of hut use or b) are illegitimately parked in the senior or handicapped parking spot. Four-wheel drive is recommended.
From Glenwood Springs/I-70, travel east on Hwy 82 approximately 32 miles to Smith Way. (From Aspen, this intersection is approximately 8 miles west of Aspen). Note that this intersection is located .8 mile west of the turn-off to Snowmass Village/Snowmass Ski Area. Travel downhill on Smith Way for .5 mile, cross the Roaring Fork River, and continue to a 3-way intersection. Turn left (north) at Upper River Road, (CR 17) and travel North for 1.5 miles to the sharp right turn (east) onto the Woody Creek Road CR 18. Proceed approximately 8.4 miles through Lenado to the marked 10th Mountain winter hut parking area on your right. A sign, and a chain with a lock, marks the parking area. The combination for the lock on the chain is the same as the hut combination.
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 25 miles to the Eagle-Thomasville Road #400. Parking is available just east of the turn off to Road #400. Do not attempt to drive this road when it is wet, even with 4-wheel drive. This road is impassible when wet!
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 26 miles to a marked driveway on the North side of the road (the street number is 26501). Please park in the plowed designated area for hut users and do not block the driveway. From the parking area, follow the driveway northeast for 0.1 miles, then pick up the marked trail on the right. Please follow this marked trail and respect private property.
Parking for the Harry Gates Hut was changed in 2002. The new parking is 0.3 miles west (down valley) from the Diamond J Ranch. Please see Montgomery Flats Trailhead for more information.
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 26.5 miles to a Y fork in the road known as the Biglow (on USFS map). A sign indicates Elk Wallow Campground. Take the left fork (North Fork Road #501) and drive 2.6 miles to where the well-signed Burnt Mountain Road (#506) turns off to the left (north).
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 27.5 miles to the sign that says Norrie Colony. Turn right (west), travel across the bridge, and then up a short hill. At the top of the short hill there should be a plowed area. Park in the plowed area – DO NOT block the private driveway. The road to Twin Meadows leaves this area southwest of the short hill.
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 31.5 miles to signs for Fryingpan River Ranch and for Nast Lake/Granite Lakes Trailhead. After the turnoff, a winding dirt road leads 1.1 miles to the obvious buildings of the ranch. This road has several steep switchbacks, so 4-wheel drive is recommended during snow season.
The Granite Lakes Trailhead is just after the bridge. For the trail to Twin Meadows and Margy’s Hut, follow the marked trail around Nast Lake and begin climbing S.W.
Road 505 is a dirt spur off the paved Fryingpan Road. It was built for maintenance on the Fryingpan/Arkansas water diversion project. In winter it remains snow-covered and is shared by skiers and snowmobilers.
From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 32 miles to an obvious parking area on the right. A sign at the parking area says Fryingpan Lakes.
The Hagerman Pass Road Trailhead is at the start of the Hagerman Pass Road, which connects Leadville and the Fryingpan valley. From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road 32.1 miles to the end of the pavement, then follow Hagerman Pass Road around the sweeping bend to the left.
From the I-70 Edwards exit (#163), travel south 1/2 mile to Highway 6. Drive W on Highway 6 .7 miles to Lake Creek Road. Turn S (left) and drive 1.7 miles to West Lake Creek Road junction. Turn right and continue 1.5 miles to the end of the pavement and another 1.1 miles to the parking area at switchback. (8220′). Please Note: This trail passes through wilderness areas where we are unable to mark the trail with blue diamonds. This, along with the fact that this route is seldom traveled, can make for very difficult route finding and is not a trail we recommend for inexperienced or first time hut-users.
From the Eagle exit (#147) on I-70 drive south .2 miles to the roundabout. Drive 1.0 mile west on Hwy 6 until the roundabout and exit on Sylvan Lake Road. Travel 1.6 miles and take a right on Brush Creek Road (aka Eagle County Road #307). Travel 8.7 miles to a “Y” intersection. Take the right fork (West Brush Creek Road) and drive 4.6 miles to Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is a small state park where you’ll find good car camping, small cabins for rent, and bathrooms.
From the Eagle exit (#147) on I-70 drive south .2 miles to the roundabout. Drive 1.0 mile west on Hwy 6 until the roundabout and exit on Sylvan Lake Road. Travel 1.6 miles and take a right on Brush Creek Road (aka Eagle County Road #307). Travel 8.7 miles to a “Y” intersection. Take the left fork (East Brush Creek Road) and drive approximately 6 miles to Yeoman Park. Turn right off of the main road and travel a few hundred feet along a short spur road (over a bridge) to the obvious parking area.
The Vail Trailhead for the Commando Run is not signed, but it’s fairly easy to find. Follow I-70 to the main Vail Exit (Exit 176) at Vail Resort. Take the exit, then travel south to a traffic circle. Turn east out of the traffic circle onto the frontage road and drive .4 miles E to an intersection marked with an oversized stop sign. Turn right (S) here and follow Vail Valley Drive .4 miles to parking at the Golden Peak Children’s Skiing Center at the base of lifts 6 and 12. In the winter parking is highly regulated, so check the parking rules when you get there.
At any rate, you can skin up the ski area from here to start the Commando Run in Mill Creek. This is a grueling start for such a nice tour, so consider accessing the Commando Run from the Vail ski lifts. There has been talk for years of a one-ride ticket for just that purpose, so check for this option. To reach the Commando Run from the lifts you can get into Mill Creek from the top of lift 6; or take a more roundabout route, finally using the Orient Express Lift to reach the west ridge of Siberia Peak. In the summer you can ride the Vail Gondola most of the way up the mountain, then hike the ridge to Siberia Peak. Cyclists can take their bike up the Gondola and ride across the ski area to the Mill Creek Road.
To reach the Vail Pass Trailhead, drive I-70 14.3 miles east from Vail or 5.4 miles west from Copper Mountain Resort. Take Exit 190 and park at the indicated overnight parking area. The Shrine Pass Road leaves from the parking area. It has good signage and is well used. Please note: For winter trips, hut-users must use the non-motorized winter-use trail to access the huts. Use of the motorized winter-use trail (Shrine Pass Road) may result in a $100 fine.
From the intersection of Highway 9 (Main St) and Boreas Pass Road (County Rd. 10) in Breckenridge travel east for 3.7 miles to the winter trailhead parking area.
Parking: Summit Huts Association appreciates the generosity of Copper Mountain Resort in allowing hut guests to park at Copper Mountain. Park in the Alpine Lot (formerly known as East Lot), just off Highway 91. Directions: turn into the main Copper Mountain Resort entrance and make your first left into the north end of the Alpine Lot. Park in the area near the Transportation Center, which is designated for Janet’s Cabin. Post your parking permit on the dash and make extra copies if your group requires more than one vehicle. Take the free shuttle from the Transportation Center to Union Creek.
Drive Interstate Highway 70 to the Vail Resort. Take the main Vail exit (#176). After exiting, turn north and drive a short distance to the frontage road (rather than heading into Vail). Drive the frontage road 1 mile west, then take a right on the Red Sandstone Creek Road. For the most reliable parking, head up Red Sandstone Creek Road .3 miles to a parking area on the left at a major switchback. If you park here, you’ll need to walk .4 miles on plowed pavement up and around another switchback to the start of the true Red Sandstone Creek Road, then an additional .6 miles on a plowed dirt road to the closure gate. To avoid walking the road, it’s worth exploring parking options farther up the road, especially in spring or during years with less snowfall. To do so, it’s prudent to use a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.
Drive Interstate Highway 70 to the Vail Resort. Take the main Vail exit (#176). After exiting travel north to the roundabout and turn east onto Spraddle Creek Road. You’ll immediately see a Forest Service overflow parking area on your left (note this and use later if needed). Continue up the steep paved road .7 miles to the Spraddle Creek Estates entrance gate. Leave the pavement here by taking a hard right on the well signed Spraddle Creek dirt road, and continue .1 mile to the Spraddle Creek Ranch parking area. Be advised there is no parking at the Spraddle Creek Estates entrance gate. Parking at the Lower Spraddle Creek parking area can be difficult because of the popularity of this parking area. Please carpool and use the Upper Spraddle parking area if possible. Free overnight parking can be found at Red Sandstone Park, located 1 mile west of the main Vail exit (#176) at the intersection of Red Sandstone Creek Road and the frontage road. Free bus service (970-479-2178) is available along the frontage road.
Drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resorts or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs to the Minturn exit (Exit 171). Travel south on Hwy 24 approximately 10 miles to a left turnoff that leads a short distance down into a canyon and into Red Cliff. The Shrine Pass Road leaves from the northeast corner of Red Cliff. It is poorly signed but fairly obvious. If in doubt, ask any local where it is, and the USGS map shows it clearly as the only road up Turkey Creek. Once you find the Shrine Pass Road, the best place to park is in Red Cliff on any side street or in the lot by the Marshal’s office. You can also drive just over a mile up the Shrine Pass Road to the water tank
Camp Hale Trailhead
Elevation 9,250 feet
South Camp Hale Trailhead
Elevation: 9,280 feet
10TH MTN MAP: Chicago Ridge
USGS MAP: Pando
These trailheads are located at the site of former Camp Hale, a huge, 3-mile long flat area on the Eagle River a few miles north of Tennessee Pass. Fifty years ago Camp Hale was home for two years to the men of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, for which the 10th Mountain Division Hut and trail system is named. Only road-cuts and a few foundations remain.
Drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resort or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs and turn off at the Minturn Exit (Exit 171) onto Highway 24. Travel south on Hwy 24 approximately 15 miles and look for a distinct parking area to your left with a sign reading “Resolution Road.” This is the Pando Trailhead. You won’t find a bridge over the river, but it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Your other option to ski 1/2 mile south to a vehicle bridge and then ski back up to McCallister Gulch. Please note: vandalism to vehicles was reported at this trailhead in February 2010.
To reach the Camp Hale Trailhead, continue from the Pando Trailhead 1.5 miles S on Highway 24 to mile marker 160. Look to your left for two stone gate posts and a plaque. Again, parking is straightforward and there is a great year-round permanent bridge at this trailhead.
For the South Camp Hale Trailhead, continue S on Highway 24 for .7 miles past the Camp Hale Trailhead. Look to your left for another distinct parking area. Again, you won’t find a bridge over the river, but due to the distance this trailhead can save you, it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Boggy ground exists in this area as well, and needs a thick mid-winter snowpack for coverage.
To reach these trailheads from the south (Leadville) drive highway 24 over Tennessee Pass to Camp Hale. The South Camp Hale Trailhead is 5.1 miles north of Tennessee Pass on Highway 24. Use the connection mileages above to find the other two trailheads.
Drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resorts or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs to the Minturn exit (Exit 171). Follow Hwy 24 for approximately 22.5 miles to the well-signed Tennessee Pass. Parking is obvious on the west side of the road opposite the turnoff to Ski Cooper. If you’re coming from the south (Leadville), travel 8.9 miles north from the junction of of Hwy 24 and 91 to Tennessee Pass.
To reach the Ski Cooper Trailhead from the north (I-70), drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resorts or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs to the Minturn exit (Exit 171). Follow Hwy 24 for approximately 22.5 miles to the well-signed Tennessee Pass and the obvious road to Ski Cooper. To reach this trailhead from the south (Leadville), follow Hwy 24 north 8.9 miles from the junction of Hwy 24 and 91 (at the north end of Leadville) to Tennessee Pass. Travel 1/3 mile from the highway to the Ski Cooper parking area. Trailhead parking for Vance’s and Sangree’s is on the right side after you go through an entrance gate. Notes: 1. If you’re headed for Vance’s Cabin, there is NO parking at Forest Service Road #731. 2. You may encounter Ski Cooper snowmobiles and/or snowcats on the first ¾ mile of the suggested routes to Vance’s and Sangree’s. Please expect and respect all users.
Crane Park Trailhead : From the top of Tennessee Pass go south on Hwy 24 1.6 miles and turn right (west) off the highway onto a dirt road. There is a sign mounted on an antique road-grader for Webster’s Sand and Gravel. The most reliable and secure parking is in an obvious area within sight of the main road. To reach the Crane Park Trailhead from Leadville, follow the directions for Tennessee Pass Trailhead from Leadville via Hwy 24. About 7.3 miles from the junction of Hwy 24 and 91 at the north end of Leadville take a left onto the aforementioned road with the sign for Webster’s Sand and Gravel.
From Hwy 24 and Mountain View Drive on the north end of Leadville, drive 2.8 miles west on Mtn. View Drive to a “T” intersection. Turn north (right) and cross the East Fork of the Arkansas River. Continue N 0.5 miles to the large parking area on the right.
The parking lot for the Sangree M. Froelicher Hut is on the north side of Highway 91 between mile markers 4 and 5. It is 4.6 miles from the junction of Highways 24 and 91 in Leadville, and 19.5 miles from Highway 91 and I-70 (Copper Mountain). It is marked with a 10th Mountain Parking sign visible from the highway and “Public Parking” signs are found at the parking area. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FIRST 1/3 MILE OF THE SUGGESTED ROUTE FROM THE PARKING LOT TO THE HUT IS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY: RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY AND DO NOT TRESPASS. NOTE THAT PARKING IS NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ALONG BUCKEYE GULCH ROAD AND VIOLATORS MAY BE TOWED AT THEIR EXPENSE.
Click on the name of the business for more information.
Arby’s Restaurant: 165 Stephens Way – 970-468-0242
Bamboo Garden Chinese: 190 Meraly Way – 970-468-6888
BBQ on the Blue: 998 Blue River Parkway – 970-468-0890
Blue Moon Baking Company: 249 Summit Place – 970-468-1472
Burger King: 185 Stephens Way – 970-468-6115
China Gourmet: 102 Annie Road – 970-262-6688
Chipotle: 247 Rainbow Drive - 970-468-0671
Deli on the Blue: 354 Blue River Parkway - 970-262-1200
Dairy Queen: 240 Summit Place – 970-468-0272
Domino’s Pizza: 191 Blue River Parkway - 970-468-7744
Fiesta Jalisco: 269 Summit Place – 970-468-9552
Good Times #132: 120 Blue River Parkway – 970-262-6767
JJ’s Chinese Restaurant: 290 Summit Place – 970-468-2509
McDonald’s: 220 Summit Place – 970-468-5646
Mountain Lyon Café: 381 Blue River Parkway – 970-262-6229
Murphy’s Food and Spirits: 501 Blue River Parkway – 970-468-2457
Nepal Restaurant: 122 W. 10th Street – 970-468-0575
Nick and Willy’s: 249 Summit Place – 970-262-1111
Old Chicago: 560 Silverthorne Lane – 970-468-2882
Pizza Hut: 175 Stephens Way – 970-468-8383
Quizno’s: 191 Blue River Parkway – 970-468-6067
Smiling Moose Deli: 273 Summit Place – 970-513-1414
Subway: 280 Summit Place – 970-468-2304
Sunshine Café: 250 Summit Place – 970-468-6663
The Mint Steakhouse: 347 Blue River Parkway – 970-468-5247
Wendy’s: 190 Tanglewood Lane - 970-468-0129
The 1st 2 are within an hour of our Lodges!!
Location: Steamboat Springs area
Hike: This sunny trail outside Steamboat Springs starts and ends right next to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs — an encouraging reminder of the reward that awaits after your workout. The aspen-laden path runs through meadows that are home to nearly 100 wildflower varieties and past Mad Creek Canyon landscapes and a postcard-worthy old U.S. Forest Service cabin. 4.5 miles round trip. More info
Hot Springs: Set amid a swath of trees four steep miles from town, the rustic Strawberry Park Hot Springs’ pools are encased by artfully crafted stone walls. Man-made waterfalls trickle sonorously into the water, and a small private pool is dedicated for watsu, a type of gentle, warm-water massage that will make the strain of your hike a pleasant memory.
Location: Glenwood Springs area
Hike: Cut into the north side of Glenwood Canyon, this challenging trail climbs 2,500 vertical feet alongside Grizzly Creek, a series waterfalls, lush forests and the canyon’s famously colorful walls. 7 miles round trip.More info
Hot Springs: Start your journey to relaxation in the Glenwood Hot Springs’ therapy pool, where Yampa Spring water is kept at 104 degrees and its 15 different minerals are purported to heal aching joints. Then hop in the massive, two-blocks-long big pool, kept at a chilly (by comparison) 90 to 93 degrees. Work out the rest of the kinks at the facility’s Spa of the Rockies, where the Kneipp Leg Release anti-inflammatory massage will focus on the muscles worked hardest during your hike.
Location: Ouray area
Hike: A proverbial alpine paradise, this trail leads to several crystalline glacial lakes, gentle waterfalls tumbling over sandstone rock formations and views of several 13,000-foot San Juan peaks. Fields of paintbrush, buttercups, columbines and other wildflowers fill the basin that surrounds the lake at the end of the hike. 7.6 miles round trip. More info
Hot Springs: Choose from three hot-springs options in nearby Ouray. Orvis Hot Springs’ seven pools range from 98 degrees to a very steamy 112 degrees. The main, gravel-bottom “pond” is known for Mt. Sneffels vistas. The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodging offers a couple of soaking pool options, including one inside a natural vaporcave. The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is tailored a bit more toward families, with slides and shallow areas, but there are also good spots for restful soaks and a picnic-perfect green space.
Location: Durango area
Hike: Elk sightings are common along this steep trail outside Durango, which climbs above the striated Hermosa Cliffs on several switchbacks before dipping in and out of a series of vibrant meadows ringed by aspen groves (and home to a meandering cow or two). 6 miles round trip. More info
Hot Springs: Trimble Spa & Natural Hot Springs is located five miles from Durango. Two geothermal pools range from 101 to 105 degrees, and a refreshing Olympic-size pool offers a welcome cool off — it’s kept around 85 degrees. There are also two saunas, a poolside lawn that attracts sunbathers and a spa with delicious treatments like the honey facial. The Music on the Lawn Series makes summer an especially festive time to visit.
Location: Aspen area
Hike and Hot Springs: This undeveloped (read: free!) but popular hot springs pool can only be reached via a rigorous eight-and-a-half-mile trail that begins near Aspen. The raw beauty of the mountainous setting, the 102-degree water and the quiet seclusion of the area make it one of Colorado’s most unique adventures. In 2008,Time Magazine called a dip in this natural pool one of 50 Authentic American Experiences. 17 miles round trip.More info
Distance: 6 Miles roundtrip to Lower Mohawk Lake, 6.8 miles roundtrip to Upper Mohawk Lake
Elevation: 1,700-foot gain
Directions: From Breckenridge, drive south on U.S. Highway 9. From the last stoplight in Breckenridge to Spruce Creek Road is about 2.4 miles, turn right on Spruce Creek Road. Drive about 1 mile to a well marked parking area and trailhead.
This is one of his favorite hikes in Colorado. I figured it was a good choice as one of my final hikes of the summer.
This is also a good place for a scavenger hunt of sorts. As you do this hike look for cabins, cabin ruins and even the ruins of a mining operation. Later I’ll tell you how many of these things I counted. You can see if your number is higher or lower.
The trail starts just outside Breckenridge, but it turns out there are two parking areas. We parked at the first parking area, 1 mile or so up the road at a sign saying “Spruce Creek Trail, Wheeler Trail Junction 1.8, Continental Falls 3.0, Mohawk Lakes 3.4.” We figured 7 miles was a good distance today so we thought we were in the right place. It turns out, you can drive another two miles up the road and cut the hike drastically. You may need a 4-wheel drive on that section of the road. Since we didn’t drive it, I can’t tell you.
Starting the hike here was a good choice for us. The trail is beautiful. It winds through thick forest with moderate elevation gains, it was actually a good warmup for what was to come. The best part about hiking through this area was listening to the trees creaking. It’s not often you hear that sound. We also watched a shower of pine needles come down when the wind would blow through. We found it a bit dark, but very quiet and peaceful. We even had two birds stop by and bounce around on the tree branches as we took a break for water and snacks.
At 1.8 miles in, you come to a trail junction with the Wheeler trail. Continue on just a few feet and you come to an open meadow. This gives you a beautiful view of what’s to come. You can see the nearby peaks and even the stringy Continental Falls, the waterfall where we had lunch. We took several pictures here and enjoyed our first view of the leaves changing.
We walked on about 0.3 miles and the trail ended at a parking lot. We figured this was the second parking lot. Don’t look for the trail right here, walk through the parking lot and you’ll find a trail sign; it says it’s .5 to Mayflower Lake, 1 to Lower Mohawk Lake and 1.5 to Upper Mohawk Lake.
This is where the trail starts to climb. Fortunately you know it’s not far now. Just before Mayflower Lake there’s another sign saying go right for Mayflower Lake, go left for Mohawk lakes and Continental Falls.
We decided to keep climbing and take some side trips on the way down. And climb we did. The elevation gain gets tough here at times. At least there’s lots to see. This is also where you need to start looking for items from the scavenger hunt. At this split you’ll see a few ruins of cabins.
Continue on to the next split. A sign tells you to turn right for a view of the lower falls or continue on to the Falls and Mohawk lakes. At this split you’ll find one cabin ruin and a cabin that has been restored. It had a sign inside calling it Continental Cabin. It said it was restored for the enjoyment of guests. I’m not sure if you can stay inside, but it had the remains of a large fire ring and even a ladder to a loft. It was a nice surprise. And a good spot to get out of the wind and rain.
We decided to add the lower falls view for the hike down and continued up. The next sign we saw was a bit off trail. It marked a mine, and we added that for the list down. Then we came across a huge contraption of some sort. Some kind a lift and pulley system, likely for the mining operation. You can still see the huge cables here for lifting and lowering ore carts.
It wasn’t much further from here to Lower Mohawk Lake. But when we arrived, so did the wind. Windy enough that we took a couple pictures and decided to turn around. It’s not far from here to Upper Mohawk Lake. A ranger we passed said you can actually hike to Lake 3 and Lake 4 above Mohawk Lakes. We decided this was good enough. We typically eat lunch at our lake destination, but in this case we decided the waterfall would be a better spot.
We turned around and since the hike down was much easier, we decided it was time to take a few side trips. We stopped at that mine sign. Turns out if you take the little trail over to the sign, there’s not one mine entrance, there are two. One mine had water, the other didn’t. The warning signs explain it all the dangers; mines can collapse, they can have dangerous gases, etc. We took a picture and continued on.
The waterfall was definitely the place to have lunch. Typically waterfalls are not much to see in September, they’re much better in spring and early summer. Not Continental Falls. It was putting on a good show in September, which means it’s probably just amazing earlier in the year. We found a rock and had lunch. We also spotted our first ore cart down in the water.
On the way down, we also sidetracked to that lower Continental Falls view. It was also a good spot to stop. And we took the side trail to Mayflower Lake. While the lake didn’t impress me much, the trail to it goes right through an old cabin. It was weird to think we were walking through what use to be someone’s living quarters.
So, our totals? We saw two lakes, one waterfall, three mines, three ore carts, one restored cabin with a roof and sides and six cabins. I’m sure there’s a lot more cabins and ore carts if you keep an eye out. At the bottom of this note, I’ll have a list of where I saw mine so you can see if you spot the same ones.
I welcome your questions, comments and hiking suggestions. Just E-mail me at, firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous hiking reports:(lower elevation hikes have a star)
Caribou Ranch*, Mallory Cave*, Marshall Mesa,Heil Valley Ranch* Forsythe Canyon*, South Boulder Peak*, The Boulder Flatirons*, Walker Ranch*, Bear Peak*, Rabbit Mountain*, Bald Mountain*, Betasso Preserve*, Wonderland Lake*
Forgotten Valley, Chimney Gulch*, Apex Park*
Mt. Falcon*, Elk Meadow*
Herman Gulch, Chicago Lakes, Chief Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park:
Granite Falls, Twin Sisters, Bierstadt Lake, Chasm Lake, Lulu City & Little Yellowstone, The Loch, Andrew’s Glacier, Sandbeach Lake
Indian Peaks/James Peak Wilderness:
King, Bob & Betty Lakes, Forest Lakes, Arapaho Lakes, Mitchell & Blue Lakes, James Peak Area, Heart Lake
Homestead Meadows, Devil’s Backbone*, Lake Agnes
Summit & Eagle Counties:
Booth Falls, Missouri Lakes
St Louis Lake, Waterfall At Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby Ranch
Exploring Fulford Cave, Our Favorite Hikes, Our Favorite Bike Rides
Ore carts: waterfall, below Continental Cabin, on the shoreline at Lower Mohawk Lake.
Cabins: Continental Cabin, ruins of another cabin in same meadow, cabin you walk through on way to Mayflower lake, ruins of two others nearby, ruins of a cabin at trail split to Mayflower and Mohawk lakes.
Mines: two just off trail, tailings at Lower Mohawk Lake.
This is cool!
Before people came from all over the country for Breckenridge’s views and ski slopes, they came for the gold and silver embedded in its hills.
The area is spotted with abandoned and resurrected mines that tell the story of the hard lives of some of Summit County’s earliest
Among these is the Washington Mine, located on Boreas Pass in the southwestern outskirts of Breckenridge. Meticulously preserved and carefully reconstructed by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, the mine is nearly a three-dimensional diorama of the town’s mining history.
What remains of the mine today was once just the small antechamber of a much bigger operation that extended up from the current site.
But local historians have salvaged and, in some cases, rebuilt a small, cute campus that nevertheless paints a pretty realistic picture.
The 90-minute to two-hour tours of the Washington Mine run twice daily most days of the week.
A great option for families with children — the tour is entertaining, dimensional and, at times, hands on — local historians lead their guests back through the pages of Breckenridge’s history, showing and telling the way people lived in and out of the mines more than 100 years ago.
Kids will have an opportunity to explore an underground mine, peer down a mine shaft, meet a tommyknocker, detonate simulation dynamite and pan for gold, exploring the local history with at least four of the five senses.
For grown-ups, there’s the tour itself, offering an insightful look into the happenstance and economics that built Breckenridge. Tour guides also cover some of the more popular local legends, with exacting historical accuracy, of course, including that of the discovery of “Tom’s Baby,” a 13-pound gold nugget.
Complete with an (interpretive) underground mine tunnel, rails for transporting gold, a prospectors cabin and all the mechanics once used to empty the earth of riches, the Washington Mine has been beautifully preserved and reconstructed by the heritage alliance and is well stocked with relics of the mining age.