Elevation: 10,350 ft to 11,050 ft
Elevation Gain: 700 ft
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Dogs: Off leash
Date snowshoed: 18 January 2009
Our Destination...Baker's Tank. Note the ski tracks to the left. This is where the CMC trail comes in.
On a sunny calm day, the Baker’s Tank snowshoe near the Breckenridge Ski Resort will fill you with awe. On an overcast or very windy day, this snowshoe will be a bone chilling experience, so choose your time well. This is also not a snowshoe for those who cringe at the sight of another Homo sapien because they will be there in droves, at least for the first 1.5 miles, after which they seem to thin. Still, the views are sublime, the trail is easy, and route to the trailhead is passable by passenger cars. This snowshoe will not prepare you for a winter assent of Mt. Bierstadt, but it will fill you with the joy of the outdoors. Sometimes that can be just as good.
This trail is outside of Breckenridge and begins where Boreas Pass Road dead-ends into a plowed parking area. There are two options for this snowshoe. One is the road itself, which we took, and the other is a narrow trail through the trees, which cuts across to the tank. The guidebooks say this trail is more secluded, contains less people, but also has an additional 400 ft of elevation gain. We chose the road not for fear of the elevation gain but because we wanted the views. I can take the hordes if the views are worth it. Others may feel differently.
Boreas Pass Road is an old rail bed for one of the first narrow gauge railroads to traverse the continental divide. In its day this was an important commercial route. The destination, Baker’s Tank, is a steam engine watering tank that has been restored by Summit County. Such a history means the road gains elevation very gradually. Boreas Pass Road does go all the way over Boreas Pass to the town of Como. It would be a hearty soul indeed to traverse that distance on snowshoes. Many do continue another 4 miles to the Section House and John’s Cabin huts, which are located near the pass itself.
The meadow at 1.5 miles. Many people turn around here. The best views are up to this point. Just past the trees on the right is another large meadow to the south. If you only came this far, it would be worth it.
Because this route is so popular, we ended up leaving the snowshoes in the car and just used Microspikes. As you can see from some of the pictures the snow was very compressed. I can’t imagine deep snow on this trail unless you happen to live in Summit County and can hit it right after a good dumper.
The main views are of the Tenmile Range, which include the peaks of the Breckenridge Ski Area plus Quandary Peak. The mountain to the south I believe is Mt. Argentine not to be confused with Argentine Peak, which is off of Peru Creek Road. Behind Baker’s tank is Bald Mountain.
Quandary Peak (14, 265 ft)
The first milestone one the road is Rocky Point at 0.5 miles from the trailhead. It is here that views really begin. At 1.5 miles is a very large meadow. Here you can access the tree-lined trail mentioned early.
The lower end of Boreas Pass Road does traverse several nice Aspen Groves, which makes me wonder about driving this in the fall. I confess I tend to do a lot of the same snowshoes over and over again because if I am going suffer through I-70’s ghastly traffic jams, I want it to be worth the pain and agony. Baker’s tank on a sunny day has just expanded my repertoire.
Update: See some photos from a 2012 trip to the first meadow.
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