Sleep In The Dirt

Section 10:

Copper Mountain Ski Area to Breckenridge

What We Found

The content below contains general information about Big Agnes staff experience while traveling along the CDT through Colorado in the summer of 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel this route, do so at your own risk. From Copper to Breckenridge is your classic up-and-down route. Over six miles you will climb about 3,000 feet and then down the other side roughly 3,600 feet over eight miles. Enjoy big mountain and high-elevation views!

  • distance
    13.3 miles
  • elevation gain
    3,091 feet
  • elevation loss
    3,700 feet
  • highest point
    12,491 feet
  • wilderness area
    no
  • percent on trail
    100%

"From the Breckenridge side, it was hot, dry, and exposed. A little ways down the trail you get into some trees with lots of rocks and baby heads. This made for some interesting riding, but all of it was rideable. Not too long after, the uphill portion starts into the area a forest fire went through a few seasons ago. From the Copper side the trail was smooth and completely rideable, with some hike-a-bike sections once you get to the top and start heading down. The other side had some loose baby-head sections but they weren't that bad. Definitely don’t do this portion if there are ANY threats of rain or storms because you are really exposed at the top. Once you get closer to Breck, you can split off if you want to make the ride longer, but that might require riding on the bike path to get back to your car/shuttle. You could also ride back to Copper all the way on the bike path if you wanted!" On Trail: July 21st, 2018

Casey Sumnicht, Product Developer, Big Agnes
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Base of Copper Mountain Ski Area (Where trail Crosses Hwy. 91) Ley Maps CO 18

Northern Access Point:

Breckenridge (Where Trail Crosses Hwy. 9) Ley Maps CO 15D (Greys – Torreys Route)

Wilderness Area:
No

What We Experienced:

There is a good amount of on-trail water, and early summer travel could be stifled by deep snow-pack, so check local conditions before heading out. Once you start climbing, the trail is high and exposed so plan on reaching the summit early to avoid afternoon storms.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – White River National Forest

U.S. Forest Service – Pike and San Isabel National Forest

Our Route

Ascent:
3,091 feet

Descent:
3,700 feet

Grade per Mile:
520 feet

Pro tips:

Be prepared for rocky climbs through loose scree (and hike-a-bike if bikepacking).

Good rain gear and warm clothes are a must, and bring extra fuel if cooking more than twice a day due to the higher elevation.

Check local snow levels if traveling in late spring/early summer.

Start early – you’ll want to start your descent into Breckenridge early to avoid afternoon storms.

This section follows the Colorado Trail and is well-marked and easy to follow.

 

Skills We Needed

• Rock Scrambling
• Lightning Safety
• Hike-a-bike (if bikepacking)
• LNT Ethics

* This site and routes described within contain general information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel these routes, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check local weather, trail conditions, closures, legal access points, Forest Service, BLM, or National Park rules and regulations, and other risks involved. We hope to inspire responsible backcountry and public land use, but by using our website you agree to use this information at your own risk.