By konrad kulikowski
Shuttle rides are the best rides. There is something very satisfying about knowing that you are actually getting somewhere, that all that effort is getting you to a new wonderful destination and not just back to the place you started. Everything is new and exciting. Bad parts of the trail are easily forgotten since you don’t have to repeat them and that leaves your mind free to focus on and appreciate the good stuff. I wish life was like a shuttle ride ….
One very special shuttle ride that is oh so close to Denver is the Kenosha to Breckenridge section of the Colorado Trail (CT). The section is 32 miles of spectacular single track. About 5K of climbing. With all that climbing and an average elevation of 10K+ it is not a “downhill” shuttle, but the downhill parts are sooo good. How good? “Monarch Crest is for tourists” good. The climbs are fantastic as well.
There is no commercial shuttle service, you have to call your buddies. Meetup at Breck with an extra car, drive one hour from Breck to Kenosha trailhead and, about 4 or 5 hours later, delicious beer awaits you. Even better, enlist a relative or a friend to pick you up at Breck, they can spend a fun summer day in town while you shred. You know at least one person that would shuttle you, for sure. There is probably that friend that is “tapering” for some big race and refuses to do long rides. Ask him, he will do it. Maybe.
This 32 miles of CT is plenty to get good riders dead tired. If you are of the gifted or crazy variety, it is easy to make it much longer if you veer off the CT near Breckenridge and join the good network of trails they have there. Don’t research this ride too much, experience it by riding. It is easy to follow, lots of CT trail markers. At any unmarked intersection, follow the more traveled trail. When you are done and thirsty, head to the Broken Compass Brewery on your way down to the town center. Take a break before driving. Goes right to the head.
If you go, you should know:
- Trail has good tree cover considering the altitude. The highest point (Georgia Pass, starting about 11 miles from the trailhead) has zero cover. If you hear thunder up there … probably too late.
- Expect to see lots of CT through hikers. Slow down and alert them when passing Bro.
- Parking and lower trails get tight during foliage season.