Frisco was one of our
favourite places. We liked it so much that we visited it twice. The two
legs of the Colorado Trail and the Peaks Trail which are within
pleasant cycling distance were some of the best rides we had in
Colorado. The town is beautifully situated on 2575 metres altitude next
to the Dillon Reserve
an artificial lake. We camped at two different USFS campgrounds, at the
first visit next to the lake at a camping called Heaton Bay, at the
second we camped outside town at Peak One in a spot reserved for bikers
and hikers. The latter was a few dollars cheaper.
Heaton Bay Camping
One Camping, spot for ‘hikers and bikers’
Cycling is a big thing in Frisco. There is a nice network of paved
cycle paths that connects all the cities in the area and goes as far as
Vail. Quite a few roadies are around working out on the high passes,
but mountainbikes dominate the scene. Every town has several excellent
The local information about where to ride is excellent. A 2003 Summit County
with details of over 27 mountain bike rides and backcountry
roads, 40 miles of paved bike paths, and early season riding
suggestions, to quote the cover, was distributed freely. It was so good
that used together with the Free Summit County, Street Map & Area
Guide we felt no need to buy a topographic map.
Colorado Trail, Swan Valley
trail east of
Frisco is awesome, as the Americans say. We rode it three times, more
than any other trail, because it was so much fun.
One begins by
leaving the cycle path between Frisco and Breckenridge,
heading up the Tiger Road through the Swan Valley. First the road is
paved. Then, it turns into a
dirt road, ascending to some 3100 metres. A long climb. One leaves the
road where the Colorado Trail crosses it. There is an obvious sign.
From then on it
is singletrack some 20 kilometres back to the valley. Initially, the trail traverses some high forested country
with some technical sections that are great fun. Splendid views.
Now, the trail
loses a bit of altitude down to the
North Fork Road, there are a couple of
camping spots. The singletrack goes around and between them, crosses a
dirt road and hits a new section that is maintained by the Summit Fat
First section of the Colorado
|The path climbs West Ridge, a long steady climb, some rather
technical switchbacks, meadows, and forest, to the highest point at
Then, there is almost continuous downhill 10 kilometres with
spectacular repeated switchbacks, through dense forest, interspersed
with some alpine meadows. After 10 kilometres is a small climb before
descends down to the main valley via some very difficult switchbacks to
an RV resort.
the Summit Society
Ascent through alpine meadow
Approaching the highest point
Colorado Trail Switchback
Colorado Trail to Searl Pass
The Colorado Trail
west of Copper Mountain heads up to the Searl Pass. Copper Mountain is
10 km on a paved bike path, the Ten Mile Canyon Trail, from Frisco.
From Copper Mountain it is is a
strenuous ascent, first through the ski area of Copper Mountain, then
up through the meadows of Guller Gulch, which one leaves climbing on
steep switchbacks to gain a flat ridge. One passes above Janet's
Cabin, and climbs another set of switchbacks to reach Searl Pass at
3633 metres. Views are splendid, and the harsh ascent is rewarded with
almost 17 kilometres of continuous downhill when one returns to Copper
It is possible to continue to Kokomo Pass and further, but we did not
as there was still snow on some sections of the path.
most ridden trail in the area is possibly the Peaks Trail between
Breckenridge and Frisco. It is approximately 15 kilometres of varied
singletrack, there are some short ascents, but most of it is descent.
The Peaks Trail has long sections of fast winding singletrack, there
are some rock gardens, and some demanding sections, steep, rooty and
rocky. It is great fun. In Breckenridge one heads up the Ski Hill Road
to the trail head. Then it is pure joy, traversing the slopes, through
woods and meadows, all the way down to Frisco.
Would we go back to Frisco? Absolutely, it was in fact
the only place we visited twice. The singletrack is some of the best in
the world. The Swan Valley Colorado Trail Loop is an epic ride in the
same league as the Monarch Crest Trail. It was so fun that we rode it