Sleep In The Dirt

Section 9:

Tennessee Pass to Copper Mountain Ski Area

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. Welcome to the heart of the Sawatch and Tenmile Range, one of Colorado's most scenic high-alpine zones. Northbound travelers start with a mellow downhill section followed by a hefty climb up to Kokymo and Searle Passes.

  • distance
    25 miles
  • elevation gain
    7,223 feet
  • elevation loss
    6,118 feet
  • highest point
    12,277
  • wilderness area
    no
  • percent on trail
    100%

"Start early... This is an amazing and beautiful section, but it is challenging. There is long steep climb to the top of Kokymo Pass, which is very exposed so be prepared for afternoon storms. If starting in Copper Resort, the climb seems mellower but still long and challenging. We were going downhill on bikes so it was hard to tell the difficulty. Plenty of water availability along the trail, and at one point you pass by barracks which were used for the 10th Mountain Division training. The views at the top are mind blowing, and there are lots of cool camping spots along the way. When you get in to Copper Mountain Resort you can treat yourself to a burger and beer, and also re-stock on needed supplies in the town of Frisco." On Trail: July 20th, 2018

Jonathan Finnegan, Warranty and Returns Specialist, Big Agnes
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Tennessee Pass (CO Hwy 24) Ley Maps CO 20

Northern Access Point:

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

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced:

May need to hike-a-bike through some scree fields if bikepacking, but it follows the Colorado Trail so it is well-marked. If traveling in early summer, check local reports to find information on snow levels.

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

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

Our Route

Ascent:
7,223 feet

Descent:
6,118 feet

Grade per Mile:
393 feet

Pro tips:

There’s a good amount of on-trail water sources, but check an app like Guthook to check availability in the warmer summer months.

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.

 

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.