Vail Pass is one of the rare passes in Colorado that can be reached on a bike without playing high speed vehicle roulette. A bike path, running between Vail and Breckendrige, allows easy access over the pass and provides a great ride through amazing scenery while providing a great workout.
Breckenridge has evolved from its roots as a mining town, slowly turning the scars of gold mining into a proper ski town that is usually more affordable, and more easily accessible, than Aspen, Telluride or Vail. With abundant restaurants, bars and coffee shops, Breck is a great place to start and end the climb to Vail Pass.
The ride starts in downtown Breckenridge winds west along the bike path, which is paved the entire way. Once the ride hits Frisco, the mostly flat terrain gradually begins to climb almost 1000 feet before topping out at the summit of Vail Pass, which sits at about 10,600 feet. Along the way, the path provides great views of the Breckenridge and Copper Mountain ski resorts and the surrounding peaks, as well as views of Dillon Lake. Be prepared for extremely variable weather; this is, after all, Colorado.
Distance: 21.65 miles one way / 43.30 miles round trip
Directions: Starting at N. Main Street and Lincoln Ave. in downtown Breckendridge, head West and take a left on Watson Road and then a right on to the bike path. Stay on the bike path for about 16 miles until it ends in a parking lot near a Shell gas station. From there hop on the road that crosses CO-Highway 91 into the Copper Mountain village (you should be on Copper Road).
Continue west, past the round-a-bout and on to Beeler Pl. You will see an entrance for the bike path on the right. Hop on that and take it an additional 4.10 miles to the parking lot at the summit of Vail Pass. Return via the same route.