- 12.61 Distance
- 7 Difficulty (1-10)
- 1565 Total Ascent
- 9500 High Point
The dredge boat trailhead is in the middle of some of the most pristine mountain biking Breckenridge has to offer. Located on Tiger road, this trailhead is named after the remains of the Bucyrus dredge which can be seen floating in the water at the trailhead. The dredge boat was one of 9 operating in the vicinity between 1885 and 1942. The Bucyrus dredge was 100 feet long, could move 2500 cubic yards of rock and sediment in 24 hours, and had an operation span between 1899 and 1904. Not much is left of the once massive dredge as it decomposes in the very pond it created.
Form this trailhead you have access to segment 6 of the Colorado trail and a host of other trails that will leave you grinning for days to come. When I started riding in this area 2 years ago, after I moved here, I didn't know much more than what goes down must eventually come back up no matter how tired or winded I was due to the elevation. Over the past few summers, I have discovered trails to avoid climbing the hard way, which translates to the best advice for you to have the most fun possible.
This route starts with segment 6 of the Colorado Trail at its junction a little over a half a mile from the parking lot as you wind your way through the mining debris of the dredge. From the intersection, you will turn right, cross the footbridge of the stream in the meadow and start a gentle climb for a little over a mile until you get to the Hippo Trail.
Along the way, you will pass the intersection of the Blair Witch trail, another popular trail in the area. The Blair Witch trail is the most fun when ridden in the opposite direction.
The Hippo trail at a little over a mile long is NOT a trail to ride uphill. When you ride down the trail, you will understand why. The ruts and steep sections of the trail will have you cranking and sucking wind like a hoover. It is a super fun descent and one I often use to get down to the Soda Creek trail. (Note: The Hippo Trail has been completely rerouted and I will be posting a separate article about it in the future.)
Shortly before the Soda Creek junction, you will see a trail going to the left as it winds out of site. This trail is the unmarked Campion Trail and a local favorite for the steep and fun descent down “vomit hill”. Once you reach the Soda Creek trail sign, take some time to enjoy the views.
When you are ready to continue, you will turn left on the Soda Creek trail as it rises and falls for the next mile and a half until you reach the first of several social trails. Most of these social trails are unmarked. Stay left at this sign.
A little way after the top of this climb you will come to another intersection where you will want to stay to the right. After another mile, you will come to triangle intersection where you will want to keep right.
The next intersection, you will want to continue straight.
At the next intersection a half mile further, you will want to veer to the left.
This trail will drop you off the Whispering Pines Ranch residential area after another left on a slightly smaller trail.
You will need to ride through the Summit Cove residential area before connecting with the West Aqueduct trail for the return of the loop that will take you back to the homestead and further back to the dredge boat parking lot.
Make a right on Whispering Pines Ranch road. Take a right on Cove Blvd, follow it past the elementary school and around the bend. Turn right on Vail Circle. Follow Vail Circle to Glacier Drive. At the end of Glacier Drive, the West Aqueduct trail starts. There will be around a mile and a quarter of residential road to ride.
You can climb up the trail crossing Keystone Ranch Road and continue up the climb if you have the legs for it or you can turn left on the Keystone Ranch Road and ride it to the parking lot for the West Aqueduct trail at the top of the road. This route will add some mileage and take some heat out of the climb. The climb to the West Aqueduct trail is less than a half of a mile and either way you go to get there you will want to make a right when you reach the trail.
The West Aqueduct trail will take you through residential areas crossing roads and riding by artificial streams for three-quarters of a mile before you start climbing again and working your way out of Dillon.
After 3 miles of trail, you will reach the Soda Creek homestead, one of the region’s earliest homesteads beginning in the late 1880s. It served as a prominent guest ranch between 1924 and 1960.
Back on the Soda Creek trail until you pass the pond, you will see the Hey trail veer off to the left. This climb will take you to the intersections of the Hey trail, Horseshoe Gulch, and the Blair Witch a mile and a quarter up to the trail.
From this point you have an option, you could either ride the Horseshoe Gulch trail back to the dredge boat parking lot or you could take the Blair Witch Trail to the Colorado trail and back to the Parking lot. The Horseshoe trail will be the shortest, mostly downhill at 1.5 Miles. The Blair Witch trail, which is a local favorite, along with the Colorado trail, will get you to the parking lot in 3 miles.
Either way, you choose to end this ride, The Soda Creek trail loop is an extremely popular trail in the area and one you will not want to miss.