Hoosier Pass is a high-elevation mountain pass along Colorado’s Highway 9 that connects Breckenridge to Alma, in the Mosquito Mountain range of the Rockies.
It has the highest altitude of the TransAmerica bike trail that runs from Virginia to Oregon, coming in at 11,539 feet. Some sources list 11,542 feet but I am going by the photo I took with my own hands.
For readers in non-mountainous areas, a mountain pass is like a specific segment of a route that you enjoy and would likely drive over and over when given the chance.
It’s your go-to for a Sunday cruise, any time you get a new bike or vehicle, testing out your hiking gear, or finding favourite nature/wildlife photography spots.
Hoosier Pass is a gorgeous drive with astounding views at every turn. Be warned that at some places there are sharp hair pin curves and steep grades up to 8% in no time.
Hoosier Pass is part of the Great Continental Divide which means it encompasses or falls into a hydrological drainage path through an entire continent.
There are other Continental Divides, but the Great Continental Divide runs all the way from the Arctic Ocean through Canada, the United States, Central and South Americas, into the Atlantic Ocean toward Antarctica.
Hoosier Pass was originally traversed by the Ute Indians and other Native Americans, but it was later named after some of the area’s first white explorers in the 1800s that had come from Indiana, the “Hoosier State.”
You will see some puns and wordplay that incorporate this name into local business names like “Hoosier Daddy? Liquor” and other silliness.
Hoosier Pass Loop is a 2.8-mile trail with a gained altitude of less than 700 feet, rated moderately challenging. Trail #208 at the top of the pass leads to an ATV/four-wheel drive path.
Consider utilizing an app like AllTrails before and during your trip, and always read about access, parking, hiking trail routes, and safety information before you go.
Do not get this pass confused with another Hoosier Pass off in Teller County. That one has a much lower elevation and the two are not connected.
Getting closer to Breckenridge, you will start seeing ski resorts and various slopes that have been carved into the mountains.
Breckenridge is known for being a ski resort town with around 5,000 permanent residents. It began in 1859 as a gold mining town and eventually participated in the silver boom.
Like so many other cities of the Wild West, the railroad soon laid its tracks through town and trains came and went until there was no longer any need. View more about its origins as a city here.
Decades later, Skiing took the nation and tourists flocked to the Rockies to try out the best slopes. The Breckenridge Ski Area (before it was a resort) opened in 1961, and in 1973 the new Eisenhower Tunnel was finished and allowed faster, easier access to travelers from Denver to Breckenridge.
At base level, Breckenridge has an elevation of around 9,600 feet but the mountains and ski trails reach up to almost 13,000 feet high. This led to a need for a chairlift, and Breck’s Imperial Express Superchair is the highest in the USA.
Breckenridge Ski Resort has five mountain peaks with 187 across nearly three thousand acres. Keep your eyes open for the legendary, seasonal Breckenridge Snow Sculptures and maybe even spot the Breckenridge Troll.
Breckenridge is home to the largest historic district in the state of Colorado and has over 200 locations on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, museums and history are abundant there.
Visit the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance for more information about the Alice Milne House, Briggle House, Red White & Blue Fire Museum, High Line Railroad Park, Breckenridge Sawmill Museum, Washington Mine & Milling Exhibit, Barney Ford Home (a formerly enslaved man who became an entrepreneur and activist), the Edwin Carter Museum’s natural history and taxidermy exhibitions, and the Breckenridge Welcome Center & Museum.
Above, in Tom’s Baby Park, a statue commemorates “Tom’s Baby,” a nearly 14-pound gold nugget found in a Breckenridge mine back in the 1880s.
The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance is also your resource for information on the town’s guided hikes and historic tours, ghost stories and tombstone tales, visiting old mines and panning for gold, and reenacted historical events, and even a “Strange But True” tour of the town.
I learned a few odd and interesting things about Breckenridge; like how it was omitted or referred to on many maps as “Colorado’s Kingdom” from its founding until 1936, and it was officially named Breckenridge in 1961.
Breckenridge has an Airport Road but no airport. Also, each year since the 1950s, townspeople have come together to pay homage to Ullr, the Norse god of snow and skiing. At Ullr Fest, they put on a parade, dress like Vikings, and participate in drinking games, skiing, and other activities.
Sightseeing and shopping along Main Street is one of the primary attractions of the town aside from skiing and snowboarding. Check out this guide to eating, drinking, shopping, and going out in Breckenridge.
We had drinks at The Canteen- Tap House and Tavern, served in ice cold buckets and perfect for a hot summer day.
Breck is a serious proponent of Colorado’s Leave No Trace and SustainableBreck guides in efforts to become greener and to preserve and protect the natural environment. Consider reading the guide before you go traipsing around or you might get in some trouble.
Breckenridge proudly runs a free city-wide bus/trolley system rolls up and down historic Main Street and to most of the town. Visitors can utilize the free Summit Stage transit which services other areas outside of downtown, and be sure to ask your lodge/hotel if they offer a free shuttle.
Last, but not least, take time to stop and look into the “eyes” of the gorgeous Aspen Trees while you are exploring Colorado.
In the area for a while? Follow me to Boulder, Alma, or the Denver neighbourhoods of RiNo, Berkeley, and LoDo.
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