Sleep In The Dirt

Section 11:

Breckenridge to I-70 (Herman Gulch TH) via Grays & Torreys Peaks

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. If you are looking to push your physical limits, this section is for you. Climb up to the high points of the Continental Divide trail and bag two 14'ers while you're at it. Be prepared for high-elevation hiking that includes tough climbs and unexpected weather.

  • distance
    54 miles
  • elevation gain
    14,333 feet
  • elevation loss
    13,251 feet
  • highest point
    14,246 feet
  • wilderness area
    yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

"The trail head starts at a road crossing right in between Breckenridge and Frisco. The first 18 miles past the road crossing are pretty mellow and have plenty of creek crossings for filling up water bottles. However, past mile 18, you are above tree line for more or less the remainder of the trail. Camping at mile 18, you are about five miles south of Whale Peak, which is a beautiful sunrise hike topping out at around 13,000 feet. From there, the next place to camp below tree line is Webster pass at about mile 28. Webster pass is a stunning valley with a creek running through the bottom.  You will know you are close when you see "Red Cone". This copper colored hill stands out among the surrounding exposed Rockies. Only a couple miles past Warden Gulch begins the start of Argentine pass, and in my opinion, the hardest and most exposed part of this section. From here all the way up to Grays Peak is a rocky, knife-edge, scramble that gains about 3,000 feet in 4 miles. After you summit Gray's Peak you have the option to hike over to Torreys Peak and knock out two 14'ers back to back." On Trail: July 21st - 27th, 2018

Hunter Smith, Repair Technician, Big Agnes
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

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

Northern Access Point:

I-70 (Herman Gulch TH Parking Area)

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced:

Tough climbs and multiple 14’ers make this section one of the more difficult parts of the Continental Divide Trail. Plan an early start to avoid afternoon storms, and be sure to follow CDT trail markings, as the trail splits from the Colorado Trail during this section.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – White River National Forest

U.S. Forest Service – Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest

Our Route

Ascent:
14,333 feet

Descent:
13,251 feet

Grade per Mile:
509 feet

Pro tips:

Stock up in Frisco or Breckenridge before hitting the trail, as you will be pretty isolated almost the entirety.

Don’t miss a chance to visit the “Red Cone” and experience this natural feature for yourself.

This section is very exposed, so pack dependable rain/wind gear to protect you from the elements.

The Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail split, be sure to follow the correct trail markings.

 

Skills We Needed

• Rock Scrambling
• Lightning Safety
• Map Navigation
• 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.