If you are an avid hiker, there are few better places to spend time during the summer than Breckenridge, Colorado. There are tons of hikes in Breckenridge for all experience levels, and one of the most accessible viewpoint hikes is the Boreas Pass Trail. We hiked this trail during a sunny summer day and created this guide to help you plan your own adventure there!
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The Boreas Pass Trail: The Basics
The Boreas Pass Trail runs close to and coincides with the Boreas Pass Road, a mountain biking and vehicle thoroughfare with a gravel roadway. At just a 10-minute drive from downtown Breckenridge, this hike is a popular spot for walkers and mountain bikers, and is a great option for a mid-day hike since it’s mostly shaded.
Snapshot of the Boreas Pass Trail
The Boreas Pass trail is ideal for solo hikers, beginners, or hikers looking for an easy, leisurely stroll not far from civilization. We would not recommend this trail for young children or those looking for a challenging trail – this is an easy hike and has slight elevation gain, but is not accessible to strollers/wheelchairs and has several areas bordering non-guardrailed dropoffs.
- Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 396 feet
- Difficulty: Easy
Things to Know Before Hiking the Boreas Pass Trail
Hiking the Boreas Pass trail is fairly straightforward, but here are a couple of things to know before you head out:
- The trail is mostly shaded. This is great because this trail is suitable for mid-day hikes (whereas less shady trails would be more difficult to do in the heat of the afternoon sun).
- There are no amenities on the trail, so be sure to bring everything you need. There are no bathrooms or water sources on the trail, so bring everything you need with you. Here’s our packing list if you want to know what we recommend bringing for day hikes.
- Come prepared for possible run-ins with wildlife. There have been a handful of recent wildlife sightings on the trail, so be sure to keep your distance if you see anything!
- You’ll be walking alongside cars, bikes, and possibly horses for over half of the trail. While this may be a deterrent for some people, we didn’t think it was that bad. The dirt road that coincides with the trail isn’t too heavily trafficked, so you’ll likely see cars every 5-10 minutes.
Our Boreas Pass Trail Review
We decided to do this hike about halfway through the morning, as we were looking for a short, easy hike to complete before lunchtime. For the hike, we brought all our usual day hiking gear plus Stella, a 15-pound chihuahua-dachshund mix. It was mid-70s and sunny when we took off on the trail.
The trail head is a pretty clearly marked dirt trail that originates on Boreas Pass Road. We chose to hike counter-clockwise, as the latter half of the hike along the road has the best views. To ensure we knew where we were going, we used the AllTrails map to guide us.
The first part of the hike consists of ~1 mile of a gradual uphill ascent through a pine forest, which was great since we were hiking on a cloudless day. No views in the forested part of the trail, but the trees and wooded gravel areas were quite scenic in themselves. After about 20 minutes of hiking, we arrived at a fork in the trail. A small sign pointed to the left side of the trail; when you get here, be sure to take the right hand path to make your way around the Boreas Pass loop.
About halfway through the hike, we arrived at a roadway with several cars and RVs parked along it. We were confused, but after a little research, we realized that the trail actually is the road for the remainder of the hike back to the car. While normally this would have been a little disappointing, the views of the town, the mountains, and the lake below from the road are very picturesque.
On the way back down, there’s a small rocky outcropping that’s divided by the dirt road. We chose to take a detour and scramble to the top of one of the rocky areas, which was quite possibly the most fun part of the hike. There was a small office chair at the top of the rock pile, which was odd and hilarious.
All in all, this admittedly wasn’t our favorite hike in Breckenridge. Personally, I don’t love hikes with viewpoints I can drive to, nor do I particularly enjoy hiking alongside cars, bikes, and motorcycles. However, it was a fun and easy adventure to see some lovely views of the town and the surrounding mountainsides with the ski slopes carved into it. If you’re looking for a short and easy hike to a nice photo spot, you can’t go wrong with Boreas Pass.
Additional Resources for Hiking in Colorado
What to Pack
- Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
- Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
- Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
- Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
- Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
- A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
- Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
- Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.