I have to admit that i am from MA but i have ridden this whole loop and it is easy to follow and is an absolute epic. i wont try and compare it b/c i am not a local but because of its length and climbing i would say it is an epic (i think any biker would agree) The ride begins with a massive 3200' foot climb up to the pass between peak eight and peak nine. Ride on the fireroad under the quad. You will have a few decisions to make as far as choosing which roads to take and i forget the turn by turns. Just keep going up and eventually get yourself to the unloading area of the Beaver Run Super chair. On your way you will have passed Peak Nine Restaurant and a smaller home looking thing (and singltrack also, but stay on the fireroad!). Then look for a more rocky fireroad that seems to lead to the backcountry. You will be going the right way if you pass on the uphill side of the small-home looking thing and if you see a backcountry warning sign on your right.
I park at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, CO. Before you head into town take a right off of 9 onto a road next to the Juvenille Center and then a right up to ski hill road and then a left into the parking lot. Due to length of ride i would bring a friend and have him park at gold hill TH which is directly off of 9 on the right as you head into Breck. Put a cooler with food and drinks in this car. The rides a haul.
I didn't have a spedometer but there is about 8000 feet of climbing at 9000 feet altitude plus.
Summary: I did the trail over Labor Day weekend. I started at Miner's Creek TH in Frisco. I rode Miner's Creek road to the top where there is a connector to the Peaks Trail. I was hoping to avoid mud and congestion on lower Peaks Trail. I then rode Peaks Trail to Peak 8. From Peak 8 base, I rode easy marked green trail called Peaks Connector toward town (it starts just south of the Peak 8 base) and linked up some other single track to arrive at Beaver Run. From there, I had to make a pitstop at Avalanche Sports near the base in Breck for a minor repair. From Beaver Run, I rode up the service road. I had read to stay right, but I stayed a little too right and ended up riding beneath the Peak 8 connect lift. I worked my way back to the south and connected with the service road again. The service road is easy to follow on the higher parts and switchbacks across the mountain. You just stay on it riding past the Peak 9 restaurant and various lifts that terminate at the top of Peak 9. It's actually not that steep; it's just long. It's practically smooth until the Peak 9 restaurant, then gets rockier. It's mostly rideable. The turnoff for the actual Wheeler Trail is an obvious signpost that did not have a sign. From there, the trail becomes singletrack and traverses across the "tundra." I personally did not find this section very enjoyable because the trail is narrow and there are steep drops down. You finally end up at some short switchbacks that quickly take you to the top. I agree with other posters that the descent is not very enjoyable. The technicality is nothing too big for local riders, but the trail near the top is narrow and there are steep dropoffs. I personally like a trail with a little more "meat on the bones," so I'm not worried about hitting a pedal or something and careening off a cliff. I just took it slow. I did the entire descent in pouring rain and hail and it does "mellow out" as you get lower. The final part is actually pretty fast and flowy. I ended my ride in Copper Mountain, but it would have been no big deal to take the paved bike path downhill straight back to Miner's Creek TH. My ride was a little more than 28 miles. Overall, it was an enjoyable ride, mostly because it's extremely memorable and scenic, but I'm not exactly signing up friends to go do it again soon. The downhill just doesn't reward the climb.
Recommended Route: Adding Miner's Creek and Peaks Trail part is recommended. That was easily the best part of the ride.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Peaks Trail, Burro Trail
Review Date April 4, 2012
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 5 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: acn2939
Summary: Colorado high mountain classic ride that has it all. Huge climb, dirt road, plenty of singletrack, awesome views, challenging descent, even a high altitude hike, bike path section and free bus trip, if you chose so. About 25 miles total. Best to start from Beaver Run resort parking lot in Breckenridge. It is about 3000' climb on ski resort dirt roads to the start of the singletrack and most of it above the ski day lodge at timberline is pushing, partly due to grade and elevation,combined with rough road surface. The views are great, though. After about five miles from start, just before the road levels off and you can see the towers on the ridge of Peak 10, the Wheeler singletrack starts on the right, marked by a cairn and maybe even a sign. It is not a well beaten mountain bike trail, because it does not receive that much traffic. It follows the contour line for about a mile and then steeply climbs to Wheeler Pass (another short push). Once at the pass, you may opt for a short hike to the top of Peak 8 for some more open views, a side trip that is definitely worth it. Back from the pass, it's all long 3000' descent on singletrack to Ten Mile Creek (hwy 91) and short dirt road that will take you to I-70 and the paved bike trail. The downhill section of the trail is best enjoyed on a good all mounatin 6+ inch bike and the level of difficulty can be selected by chosen speed. In any case, good disc brakes are needed and yes, some sections are moderately rough. There may be also occasional hikers on the lower section. The ride on the bike path is a nice relaxation after the downhill and the good news is that there is no need to pedal nine miles uphill from Frisco back to Breckenridge, because you and your bike can take a free public bus (Summit Stage) that goes every hour (you can actually take it all the way from junction of I-70 at Copper Mountain, which may be usefull if you or your bike did not quite survive the downhill).
Recommended Route: Go to any LBS or information center in Frisco, Breckenridge or anywhere i Summit County and get the free Summit County Bike Guide that describes this trail and many others including good topo maps and elevation profiles. Also get the Summit Stage free bus schedule and map which is very useful in planning your activities in the area.
Do not forget to start early so that you can be on the pass before any afternoon thunderstorms close in.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Copper Mtn. - Searle/Kokomo Pass
Vail - Cougar Ridge
Vail and Keystone MTB parks
Summary: This is kind of an interesting ride; definitely has good views at the top and the high alpine riding is enjoyable. But, you do an awful lot of climbing just to burn it off in the brakes on the west side of the pass. The downhill really isn't that great, and it seems shame to grunt up that much mountain to just coast down the other side (and ride a bike path, then ride uphill some more). All-in-all, too much pedaling without enough thrills for me.
Recommended Route: Be aware that there is development going on at the south end of the Peaks Trail. When you hit the trail-head on the road to Peak 8, go uphill to the right (you won't like that idea by the time you get there) to the Peak 8 base area, or, go downhill and keep a sharp eye out for trails into the woods and you can get thru the trails in the Nordic Center.
Other recommended trails in the same area: The east side of the valley has tons of great riding (Colorado Trail, etc.) or, ride down the Peaks Trail, which is way more fun than riding up it like you do in the described loop.
Summary: This is a pretty fun loop. I wish I had read about the Miner's Creek variation before I set out on the ride as it sounds more interesting than going left at the intersection straight down to Copper.
- nice views
- good grade to climb on a single-speed till the last few loose steep bits above treeline
- not a popular trail apparently as I rode it mid-morning on a late July Saturday morning and did not run into a single other rider
- the Wheeler trail was pretty faint - hardly any erosion damage which is nice
- kinda interesting to be on the top of Wheeler pass where you can look down into the town of Breck and then look off the other side and see ski trails at Copper
- most of the ride down the Copper side was nice, not too rough and I never felt nervous about exposure and don't remember any particularly technical sections
- the climb up the jeep path was pretty hard to ride in some sections above treeline (loose and steep) before the intersection with the Wheeler trail
- EZ routefinding, just stay on the most widely-traveled dirt road from the bottom of the Beaver Run chair till you get just above the Mercury lift then keep going up the road till you see the clearly-marked Wheeler trail on the right. You will be able to see the switchback up to the saddle very clearly from here
- the spin back to Breck was kinda dull
- the top part of the descent down the Copper side was a narrow ditch that was not much fun to ride
All in all it was a nice ride and I would do it again. I was riding alone so I didn't make too many stops and it took about 3 hrs 40 mins door to door riding back on the bike path on a SS.
I give it an overall 4 due to the high altitude, great views, and solitude. The actual riding merits more like a 3.
Summary: 5K feet of climbing, two 12.5k passes and a whole bunch of above treeline riding. It's an epic, all right. Start early to avoid the thunderstorms.
A friend and I did this earlier this year. Start in the town of Breck at the base of the ski area. Ride up the fire road to the top of the Peak 9 lift(s) - from there, a double track jeep road leads up towards the summit of Peak 10. After you get above tree line and after a few switchbacks you intersect the singletrack Wheeler Trail. Head north on the Wheeler Trail - you'll dip down a few hundred feet and traverse a bowl in front of Peak 10, then head back
up on some steep switchbacks to the top of the first pass between Peaks 9 and 10.
From there, head back down the west side of the 10 mile range on the Wheeler trail, around the back side of Peak 9. After about 1500 feet of descending and back below tree line you'll intersect the Miner's Creek Trail (part of the Colorado Trail). Continuing straight on the Wheeler Trail at this point will lead you to Copper Mtn - have a shuttle waiting, take the bus, or be prepared for a long spin back on paved trails if you take this option. Otherwise, head up the Miners Creek Trail - it's a slog as it once again winds above tree line and meanders pretty close to the ridge line of the 10 Mile Range for a while. Eventually you cross back over the ridge between Peaks 5 and 6. Stop to savor the view of Breckenridge on one side and all of Copper Mtn on the other. Descend back down on the Breck side, passing once again below tree line.. a few thousand feet down and back in the woods, intersect the Peaks Trail. Turn south on the Peaks Trail and spin your way back through the woods to the ski area and the town of Breck.