The B&B Loop is a friendly hike, but does go above 10,000 feet in elevation, so be prepared for all types of weather. This hike is the best way to access to one of the most historic sights for gold mining—the Reiling Gold Dredge. Built in 1908, it was the eighth dredge used in the Breckenridge area to mine gold. In 1922, it sank into a small pond known as French Gulch, while being moved up and down French Creek, extracting gold. Today you can hike up to see the ruins, which in an effort to prevent further collapse, are currently held up by cable anchors put in place in 2012.
What Makes It Great
The B&B Trail was the first trail to be completed following the conversation of the B&B mining claims to Town and County open space. The trail parallels French Gulch Road and is primarily doubletrack. This hike is really all about reaching and seeing the Reiling Dredge, and it's relatively early into the hike. The dredge was built by Henry J. Reiling, and is a large barge-like boat with mining machinery floating on the structure. It was built for the purpose of extracting gold from stream channels. The historic significance of this dredge and its uniqueness and integrity, because the Reiling Dredge has one of the most intact dredge landscapes of its type in the United States.
From Reiling Dredge, you can access several other trails to extend the hike: V3, Turk’s Trail, Minnie Mine Trail, and X10U8. These additional hikes can take a shorter day hike and turn it into an half or full day adventuring through the woods sightseeing. The B&B Trail is the connector to all of these other trails. This trail and all the others in the area are well-marked and maintained, winding through pine tree forests on both doubletrack and singletrack segments.
What makes it a little more difficult is that while it only gains a few hundred feet in elevation, the highest point is at 10,247 feet. Bring plenty of water and be sure to stay hydrated, especially if you aren't used to this elevation.
Who is Going to Love It
Any history buff who is up for a little bit of an elevation challenge will love this hike. It’s a great loop, leading to the Reiling Dredge. This trail connects to several different area trails to bring visitors to other hiking areas of town, for a longer hike.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I70 drive south on highway 9 towards Breckenridge. Turn Left onto Wellington Road and travel approx. one mile. At the stop sign turn right onto French Gulch Road. Travel .5 miles and the road turns into gravel. Go an additional .7 miles and the B&B Trail Head will be marked by a small brown sign followed by a right turn into a parking lot.
No overnight parking is allowed at any of the trailheads along French Gulch Road.
Be aware that there are a lot of mountain bikers in this area.