Sandwiched between a grueling, high-altitude climb and a low-speed single-track return to town, this is one of the most technically demanding descents in Colorado; a rock stepped spiral staircase that drops over 1,000 feet in a mile.
This loop begins and ends in the town of Breckenridge. Ride one block up Ski Hill Road and turn left on Park Avenue. In .3 miles, turn right on Village Road and then turn left into a parking lot just before the Beaver Run Resort. Go through the lot and turn right on the first dirt road you intersect. Bear right at the next fork and then take the next left by the Quicksilver Chairlift. In 200 yards, fork left and settle in for a gradual four-mile climb on a smooth dirt road to the Peak 9 restaurant (closed in summer). Ride past the restaurant (on the road on the right side of the snow fence) to a fork above Chair B. Go straight and climb much more steeply on a much rockier road into a basin. The road switchbacks up to 12,500 feet -- if you can stay on your bike here you are a champ! Near the top of the basin, the road crosses the Wheeler Trail. Turn left and follow this occasionally vague trail across a meadow to a ridgeline (look for cairns (pyramid-shaped piles of rocks) if you cannot see the trail. At the ridge the trail becomes much more distinct.
Here, lower your seat and grab a good handful of brake lever. The trail takes the most direct route that is rideably possibly, dropping into a spectacular basin with two high alpine lakes. Your attention, however, should be glued to the 45-degree switchbacks and three and four foot rock drop-offs directly in front of you. As you enter the basin proper, the trail moderates a bit, but still drops rapidly into the forest before popping out onto a dirt road. Cross the road and continue to a second road. Turn right on this road and then right again at a junction with a second road and the continuation of the Wheeler trail. Follow the Wheeler Trail downhill for another half mile, then turn left onto the onto the Spruce Creek Trail, a root and log crossed track in dense, damp forest. The trail ends at a parking lot on Spruce Creek Road. Turn left and climb up the road for half a mile. Look for the Burro Trail on your right (if you cross Crystal Creek you went too far). The Burro Trail (marked with blue diamonds) is two miles of relatively flat, rocky single-track that ends back at the Beaver Run Resort.
How to get there:
From I-25 and 6th Avenue in Denver, drive west on 6th Avenue, then turn west on I-70. In 65 miles, exit at the first Frisco exit, following the signs for Breckenridge. Follow Highway 9, through Frisco to Breckenridge. Turn right at Ski Hill Road and park in the public parking.