|My TIme||4 hr 52 min|
Bald Mountain, Breckenridge
Bald Mountain near Breckenridge is a good place to see panoramic views of the mountains surrounding the town and to get a good workout.
The Road to the Mill
The Bald Mountain Trail follows a service road for the majority of the hike. While I usually don’t enjoy the service road hikes, this one wasn’t as bad because of the views. I did have to get to the side for one car that was coming down.
The road is flanked by private property for the first 2 miles of the hike but is also flanked by large pine trees that provide a nice forest setting. The road itself is a single lane dirt road and is pretty rocky in parts. The higher that you go the worse that the traction gets.
The trail is also pretty steep. At least it is a steady incline for the entire hike. You can expect grades of 10-20% for the first 3 miles of the trail.
One and half miles into the hike you will see the Iowa mill. The mill was established on June 19th, of 1935 and, unlike a lot of the old mills in the mountains, is still in really good shape. The mill received ore from the carbonite mine that is up the hill a bit. Looking around the internet it seems that it came from aerial tram.
After the mill, the trees will start to lighten up a bit and you will begin to see the surrounding mountains a bit. The trail is still steep but continues in the 10-20% grade range for the next mile and a half. The road does start to get a bit rockier here as well and will continue to be in worse shape the higher you go.
The views start to get really nice though. You can see most of the mountains surrounding Breckenridge and even see all of the ski trails above the town.
As the road switches back north and south and you get different views, all the way to lake Dillion in the north and down the canyon in the south. At the 3.2 mile range you can finally start to see the mountains to the east as well and the panoramic views really begin. This is also where the trail gets a bit steeper.
The Steep Hill
When you hit that 3.2 mark and take a big turn back to the south the trail is going to start to get really steep. The road also becomes less of a road and more of a couple of ruts. Elevation gains go from the high teens to high 20% grades and the the trail becomes a bit more slick. About a mile onto this road you will come to an area with a bunch of communication antenna before a wood fence closing the trail to vehlicles. The camera on this picture is level trying to show how steep it is.
Once you get past the communication station the trail becomes more of a standard dirt trail. It is again really steep and gets into the 30% grade. The views are pretty amazing as you are surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges.
The trail also starts to get into more of a scramble situations. There are two main “peaks” that you will have to climb over before you get onto the last push up to the Bald peak.
The first one was easy enough to get over although the trail disappears and you have to find your own way around it. I was able to walk up and over and locate the trail on the other side. The second of this mounds was too much for me to get over without using arms so I had to call it. It was getting very steep and there was nobody else around so I didn’t want to get in a bad situation.
This is as about as close to the peak as I got, about a mile and 600 feet of elevation short.
From reading I did after the hike it seems that the last push up the mountain is just a boulder field that you need to ascend. The total elevation of the peak is 13,690 feet for those willing to try it. Good Luck!
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 9.32 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 2457 feet including undulations. That put my high point at around 13,083 feet although I did not finish the hike. I was also moving for a total of 4 hours and 52 minutes.
While this hike wasn’t technically difficult until the end, it was long and steep. The top got to be a bit of a scramble with walking over some rocks. Here is the step count for the hike from my Fitbit.
For most of the hike you will be on a dirt and rock service road. The terrain isn’t too bad but it is rutted and rocky. As you get nearer to the top the trail becomes more of a dirt path and there begins some more technical terrain with rocks to scramble over and the very top becomes just a large boulder field. I would recommend a good pair of hiking shoes or boots.
There is a small parking lot for maybe 8 cars on Baldy Road at the base of the trail. If you have a decent clearance vehicle you can also try to drive up Baldy road where there are a couple of parking spots. The road gets worse the further up you get. I decided not to try it and walked the road. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.
I have some mixed feelings about this hike. It wasn’t the hike that I set out to do and was an audible so I wasn’t really prepared for the difficulty but I still did pretty well. The views are pretty amazing once you get past the mill. The mountains surrounding the entire Breckenridge area are spectacular.
On the other hand it is a service road hike which can get boring. I was definitely a little bored for the first mile or so walking down the road. It was nice that there weren’t many people on the trail and I basically had it to myself. I was disappointed that I didn’t make the peak. Not because I didn’t make it because it got a little scary for me, but disappointed because the views from that 3.2 mile mark are really nice and I could have stayed there a bit longer and enjoyed it if I knew I wasn’t going to make it.
It was a really good challenging workout and if you are looking at a non technical climb that gets you a really nice elevation gain this might be a good hike for you!
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