Back to Top ↑

Breck to Como via Boreas Pass - Mountain Biking

Difficulty
3 stars
A few techy sections here and there, and some steep sections, but overall, flowy and smooth. The high altitude and unpredictable mountain weather demands caution, and route finding can be tricky.
Time To Complete
4.0 hours
Distance
17.0 miles
17.4 miles with shuttle option. Many locals do the ride as 34.8-mile out-n-back, making for a challenging day. It’s also possible to loop it via the 21-mile Boreas Pass road.
Seasonality
Summer,
Fall
Land Website
Boreas Pass - MTB Project
Dog Friendly
Yes
Destination Highlights
Classic destination,
Most of a day,
Good for experts,
Panoramic views

Intro

The Boreas Pass to Como route is a great introduction to high-mountain riding in Colorado, set in one of the most scenic areas of the state. Humbling views of snow-capped mountains, wide-open meadows filled with wildflowers, interesting geology, and old-west history make for an absolutely unforgettable, postcard-worthy ride.

What Makes It Great

The iconic town of Como embodies what people think of when they fantasize about classic Colorado mountain towns. Most of the day is spent above 10,000 feet and tops out above 11,000 at Boreas Pass, taking riders through pine forests and aspen groves, across wetlands and through bucolic meadows, up and over the Continental Divide.

Lovers of days long gone by may be interested to know that the path up to the pass was cut by miners in the 1860s as a route to get up to their gold claims. Enough traffic was seen that in 1866 it was widened to accommodate stagecoaches. The railroad came in and linked Como and Breck in 1882, becoming the nation’s highest narrow-gauge railroad. It was just converted into a road in 1952, and the insanely fun descent into Como literally rides on an old flume, once used to bring water to the mine sites.

After climbing the last steep bit to the summit on the Continental Divide, take a breather to check out the Boreas Pass Section House. Built in 1882, it housed railroad families who tended the railway that ran from Denver to Leadville. It's now used as a winter ski hut. Hint, hint: return trip!

The ride entails 2,200 feet of climbing, broken into two sections—enough to score bragging rights at this altitude. Although about a third of the ride is on dirt and paved roads, the singletrack sections more than make up for it. It's a low-consequence intro to more serious backcountry riding. And then the 2,100 feet of descending makes any pain melt away and reminds riders why they do this in the first place.

Who is Going to Love It

There's really something for everyone on this trail—two-thirds of the trail is fast and flowy singletrack, interspersed with fun, rooty sections, and a challenging rock garden. The sections of road riding at the beginning and end are a nice way to spin the legs.

The solitude, beauty, and high-quality riding relaxes the soul and recharges the batteries for those who want to get away from busier trails. The route finding and choose-your-own-adventure quality of the route stokes the imagination. If you are looking for wilderness riding, you will find it here.

Boreas Pass is an outdoor lover's playground, and the possibilities out here are endless. Photographers have wildflowers in the spring, dramatic skies in the summer, and truly kaleidoscopic fall foliage. Come back in winter with skis, and a whole new world opens up away from the lift lines and $12 hot dogs.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

This route links several named and unnamed trails with dirt and paved roads, so a good map is a must. Multiple routes take riders to the Boreas Pass summit, and the descent follows the Gold Dust Trail to Pine Street in Como.

If shuttling, a good place to leave the pickup car is at the Como Depot, a historic round house with a good lot. From there, the drive to Breckenridge is about an hour, park at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in town.

From the ice arena, head to the Little Mountain Trails (Southside Trail, Illinois Creek High) and look for the Blue River Trail. After a stint on the dirt Indiana Creek Rd., riders hit Boreas Pass Road. There are many trails that parallel Indiana Creek Rd, again, bring a map.

This route falls within the White River National Forest, so there are numerous camp grounds, cabins and primitive campsites available. There is also really good dispersed camping along Indiana Creek road, near the start of the ride.