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A killer section of the CT, which encompasses steady climbs, adrenaline inducing descents, and some of the most scenic miles of the trail. You'll make your way through multiple climate zones, passing from sub-alpine to high alpine environs. Plan ahead, and make sure you're prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This section of the Colorado Trail has two distinct personalities. Use the first half to warm up, as the second half is more difficult.
Starting at the parking area at the top of Kenosha Pass, the Colorado Trail, runners will make their way over approximately 30 miles to Breckenridge. It's about 12 miles to reach Georgia Pass, which is the high point of this route at just over 12,000'.
The trail itself for this portion is smooth with not many rocks or roots, which allows for a great experience. Be ready for the gradual but steady climb on the way to Georgia Pass. You'll be rewarded with panoramic views of South Park and the surrounding peaks so be sure to stop and take in the views!
Once you gain Kenosha Pass, you'll find yourself at 11,900', with about 6.5 miles and 2000 vertical feet of descent. Don't take this section lightly though - although it's a fantastic singletrack descent, it does have some rocky sections.
Once you finish the first big descent, you'll find yourself at an open spot along the Swan River. If you've brought a water filter, this is a great place to use it. Otherwise, it's a nice place to eat a snack and cool off. You'll want to catch your breath here because the next 3.5 miles bring a big uphill grind with over 1000' of ascent. This section gets quite a bit of sun, and it's very steep in spots, making this a real grunt.
However, more descending is in store after the climbing is done. The next descent is less rugged than the first one. Which provides a good contrast from the previous ascent.
The rest of the trail has changed quite a bit due to big clearcut logging operations that have changed the character of the area and reduced the amount of shade available. Although the rest of the trail trends downhill, there are a couple of short and sharp uphills.
Throughout the whole section, you'll alternate between passing through groves of huge aspen trees, through coniferous forests, and through open meadows. No matter the season, the local flora will provide beautiful scenery. Whether it's buds, or fall colors, wildflowers or tawny grasses, your route won't be short of spectacular.
Be sure to bring a lot of water and food as there is no access along the route. You'll be heading into the high alpine, and some of the more exposed sections of the trail can get windy and cold due to the elevation. Be prepared and dress accordingly!
Flora & Fauna
This trail passes through both open meadow and forests where you will see many different plants and wildlife. The first couple miles of trail from Kenosha Pass wind through large aspen groves which are beautiful during the fall.