Approximately 3.5 miles of this trail segment are above tree line. Pay attention to the skies and watch for afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months.
Most runners begin on the eastern starting point just north of Breckenridge. Parking is available at the Gold Hill Trailhead but many choose to utilize the Summit Stage free bus service. The entire trail and intersections are well marked and easy to follow. The first section of the trail follows the Gold Hill Trail through areas clear cut from the recent beetle kill damaged forest. Expect many exposed areas and not much shade. As you reach the top and descend to the Peaks Trail
, you enter the forest again. Turn left (south) for approximately .25 miles until you reach the Miners Creek Trail.
Initially, begin climbing to the west toward Tenmile Peak passing a 4WD parking area and numerous small creeks. For CT runners, many campsites exist along the trail until you reach the meadow around mile 7 and pass the creek for the final time. A steep climb out of the basin below Peak 4 brings you above treeline, and the trek up and over the pass at approximately 12,500 feet. Enjoy the eastern views of Breckenridge, Lake Dillon, Torrey's and Grays peaks, Keystone, Georgia Pass, and Boreas Pass.
The route along the ridge is moderate but expect high winds and cooler temperatures. Lightning can also be an issue with an extended stretch above treeline. Looking to the west, you enjoy views of Copper Mountain, the Ten Mile Range, Vail Pass, the Holy Cross Wilderness, and the Collegiate Peaks.
After reaching the trees, the trail continues to the south before turning right at a well-marked junction with the Wheeler Trail
. The grade is steep heading down to Copper Mountain. Once you cross the bridge, the CT continues towards Copper Mountain Resort. At this point, you can decide to turn right and take the short distance to the Copper Mountain main entrance to catch the Summit Stage bus back to Frisco and Breckenridge. As an alternate, continue on the Colorado Trail for about a mile to reach the Center Village at Copper Mountain with many restaurants, a small grocery store, and shopping.
You'll pass through a variety of ecosystems, including pine forests, aspen groves, and high alpine terrain. Expect to see many Colorado natives!