Watch the weather as you are exposed for a long portion of this route. You'll hit a creek at the beginning of Wheeler Trail
and another at the bottom of Miner's Trail if you need to filter water. The Peaks Trail
can get really hot and may feel a bit long at the end of the hike, but also has a creek along it for water filtering.
This route starts at the free parking lot at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge. Do a short, downhill warmup down Boreas Pass Road
, towards French Street. Turn right onto Main Street, head down the hill, and curve left onto South Park Avenue.
Turn left onto Village Road, and hike up the road a short distance to the Beaver Run Conference Center. It will be on your left. Cut through the parking lot, heading towards chair lift. You'll see a gravel ski road under the lift—go right for about 0.1 miles, and you'll see a split rail fence on the left side of the road where it curves. Go through the fence and head onto the well-marked Burro Trail
This trail is a very gentle climb through the woods. Stay on the trail, following the blue diamond markings and ignoring any spurs. When the trail hits a T, turn left and continue on Burro Trail
. Cross Crystal Creek Road (this is a very dirt mining road) and continue on the singletrack.
Shortly thereafter, Burro Trail
dumps you out onto Spruce Creek Road. Go right and head up the road 0.7 miles. You'll see a sign pointing towards Wheeler Trail
on the right. Take this right. You'll be on a dirt road and pass through a gate. Continue to follow the trail to a junction. The sign at this junction takes you to either Francie's Cabin or Crystal Lakes Trail. Choose Crystal Lakes—you'll see a sign for Wheeler Trail
Once on Wheeler Trail
, begin a steep climb out of a beautiful meadow up to the top of Wheeler Pass. Take a few pictures, and continue on the singletrack along the top of the pass. Cross over a the Peak 9 Ski Road, and continue on the singletrack. Once over the pass, you'll hit a very steep, technical downhill. Take this into the easier, more forested singletrack, until you get to a the Colorado Trail junction. This is also called Miners Trail, or Segment 7 of the Colorado Trail. The sign that was there in July 2018 just said "Colorado Trail." If you're unsure, this is the second junction that you've come across, and you'll start heading up!
Continue up on the singletrack until you are on a crest with Copper Mountain Ski Area below you. Follow this to the apex of the trail where you are looking down on Breckenridge. Begin your steep descent, and continue into a beautiful meadow with abundant wildflowers and a decent creek if you need water (filter it). Follow this through a burn area, and eventually come to a big junction for the Peaks Trail
. Head right. You have approximately five miles of singletrack that is very manageable to get to the Peak 8 trailhead. From here, I chose to get on the free Gondola and ride into town. You can also hike down the road. But why? That 23 miles is enough!