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27 Jun 2017
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By Shauna Farnell

Discover great dirt pounding options as well as run-in, run-out lodging

Much in the same way that slope proximity is often the No. 1 priority for winter visitors, quick trail access is key in the summer, particularly for trail runners.

There is definitely no need to take a detour through town before ensconcing yourself in the wilderness on your off-road run when staying at places like the Riverbend Lodge or the Powderhorn , both of which boast run-in, run-out trail access.

That is why you’re here this summer, isn’t it? To jog out your door and immediately step onto dirt amid a canopy of aspens and aromatic pine trees, making your way ever closer to those mighty peaks?

Riverbend Lodge, while situated on the free town bus route, a 10-minute walk from Main Street and offering indoor and outdoor hot tubs and a steam room (luxurious after a long run), as well as a variety of fully equipped condos ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units, also happens to rub up against Snowflake Trailhead, the start of two spectacular trails – Sawmill and Reservoir.

Snowflake Trailhead

Sawmill and Reservoir are tucked in the shaded woods between Peaks 8 and 9. Like most trail running routes in Breck, they do indeed take you uphill, but in a more relenting fashion than numerous hiking trails. Sawmill is just over a mile long and is open to pedestrians only. It follows a babbling brook and features rolling terrain with no heart-stopping pitches while Reservoir is slightly longer and though mostly rolling, does include one short but taxing climb. Both trails end at the scenic Sawmill Reservoir, where you have a few options. It’s possible to take a couple of victory laps around the water on Reservoir and the gentle F&D Trail before returning to the trailhead by making a loop on either of the two trails OR extending your run by connecting yet more trails. These include Four-O’clock Run, a ski trail by winter and a wide-open hiking/running trail lined with wild daisies and Indian Paintbrush in the summer. From here, you can either make your way all the way back down to town to where the trail ends at Park Ave or hang a left on the beautiful, aspen-lined Pence Miller trail, which will take you on a traversing flume that begins to climb steadily, eventually leading to the alpine jungle of Cucumber Gulch. Here, a myriad of trails wind through marshes, pine trees and rare bird habitat. Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in Cucumber Gulch and it’s not unusual to spot moose and other wildlife in the area, so be alert.

Burro Trail

Over on the south side of Breckenridge, the pine forests thicken but trail running opportunities continue to abound. Powderhorn Condominiums are situated within a five-minute walk of the Village at Breckenridge and the south end of Main Street with the Blue River gurgling under your window.

Right outside, the Columbine trail follows the Blue River through the forest for a couple hundred feet toward Peak 9, where a quick jaunt up the slope to the top of the bunny hill will take you to one of the best kept trail secrets in Breckenridge. To your left, find the Burro Trail, a wide, shaded dirt route through the woods dotted with rocks and roots. It features numerous creek crossings over bridges and a steady climb involving a few short, steep pitches but long stretches of flatter respites. The trail takes you away from it all – climbing gradually through pines and marshes lining the southern boundaries of the ski resort and eventually out of town. At about 3 and a half miles, the Burro Trail finishes at Spruce Creek Road, where the ambitious or long-distance trail runner can make a lollipop loop on Spruce Creek trail or haul straight uphill over large rocks and switchbacks all the way to Mohawk Lake.

No matter which route you choose, be sure to bring a phone with you, along with water and a snack. These trails are mostly shaded, but ample sunscreen is always recommended at this elevation.

Summit Trail Running Series

If you happen to be in town on a Wednesday and want to size yourself up against local trail running enthusiasts of all ages, check out the Summit Trail Running Series, which offers short and long course races along some of Breck’s most spectacular routes. The races start at 6 p.m. every Wednesday through Aug. 16.

For more information on run-in/run-out lodging in Breckenridge, call us at 888.453.1001.