A parade of gold-seekers once scrambled across high passes and created mountain
trails for modern-day hikers. The gold camps, ghost towns and mining relics these
prospectors left behind remain to intrigue hikers today. Alpine Lakes and waterfalls,
wildflower meadows, jagged peaks piercing blue sky all await high country hikers
in a beautiful Colorado setting.
The altitude in this area soars from its 7,000 feet low point to 14,270 feet --
a difference of more than 7,000 feet. This elevation spread provides a variety of
flower ecosystems hikers can enjoy on a single ascent.
Expect temperature swings while hiking. Be prepared for weather with wind/water
resistant jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, high-energy snacks and
adequate footwear. Carry a topo map and compass.
The United States Forest Service office in Silverthorne has information on
hiking trails. Topo maps are available at many of the book and outdoor stores
in the area. For more information it's recommended you pick up one of the books
on hiking in the area.
Hikes around Breckenridge
The cry of "Gold!" first echoed against the craggy Continental Divide on
August 10, 1859. Colorado's first Western Slope town, Breckenridge, sprang up.
Soon a hotbed of gold mining activity left gold camps, ghost towns and mine ruins
scattered across the mountainsides. For spectacular scenery and gold history,
try Blue Lakes-Monte Cristo (1.2 miles, 12,500-foot high point) or the skyscraping
Wheeler National Recreation Trail (10 miles, 12,490-foot high point).
Hikes around Frisco
Two narrow gauge railways
steamed into 1879-born Frisco to serve the historic silver mines there. Follow
the Denver-South Park narrow gauge route along today's bike path to the Mt. Royal
trail, where an easy hike to ghost town remains at Masontown (0.9 miles, 9600-foot
high point) awaits. Or tackle the challenging Meadow Creek for sweeping Gore Range
views and fields of alpine wildflowers (4.5 miless, 11,890-foot high point).
Hikes around Copper Mountain
Unparalleled vistas of the wild. Ten Mile Range reward Copper Mountain area hikers.
Judge John S. Wheeler founded the county's wildest 1880's town at Copper Mountain's
base. Climb to Wheeler Lakes (2.8 miles, 11,080-foot high point) for staggering
views into glacier carved Clinton Ampitheater. Nibble wild stawberries in late
June. Energetic hikers can continue along the main trail to Uneva Pass and
Fristco (10.75 miles, 11,900-foot high point). Stunning views into the deep
Ten Mile Canyon below and a panorama of Vail-area peaks will please camera
Hikes around Keystone-Dillon
Mountain-rimmed Lake Dillon dominates this scenic area. Take the kids and trek up
easy Tenderfoot Mountain for a nature trail amid changing ecosystems and spectacular
lake views (1.25 miles, 9,800-foot high point.) Advanced hikers will delight in
the Lenawee Trail to an abanded mine at the lofty summit. Then walkers descend
through Arapahoe Basin ski area (6 miles, 12,4600-foot high point).
Hikes around Gore Range Wilderness
An untrammeled wilderness area pocketed by glacier carved lakes, offers memorable
hiking experiences. The silver-rich 1800's Boss mine is the destination on the
Rock Creek Trail (1.5 miles, 10,200-foot high point). Hikers travel through a
chirpy bird sanctuary. The challenging Upper Cataract Lake trail provides a true
wilderness experience for hardy hikers (5.5 miles 10,750-foot high point).