Fall Hike: Boreas Pass and Bakers Tank Loop

Distance6.34 mi
Elevation Gain774 ft
My Time2 hr 40 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownBreckenridge
Food NearbyBreckenridge Brewery

Fall Hike: Boreas Pass and Bakers Tank Loop

I was looking for a bit of a fall hike to see some colors up in the Breckenridge area and decided to give Boreas Pass and the Bakers Tank Loop a try. I didn’t know too much about this hike but ended up really enjoying it and got some great fall views.

Getting Started

The trail starts at the trailhead that is right before Boreas Pass goes from paved to dirt road coming from Breckenridge. There is a small pull-off on the side of the road and a couple of options to start the hike. The first option is to take the trail clockwise and start with the Bakers Tank trail. The other option is to do the loop counter-clockwise and start up the road of Boreas Pass. I started on the Bakers Tank Trail which is located next to the small sign next to the road. That will be how I describe the hike.

Bakers Tank Trail #40

The Bakers Tank Trail is dirt and rock trail that leads up the hill immediately adjacent to Boreas Pass. The trail is a bit rocky and completely surrounded by trees. I really liked the hike as it gets you into the quiet of the woods almost immediately.

The Bakers Tank Trail starts with a trip into the woods.  Lots of evergreens on this portion of the hike.
The starting woods of the Bakers Tank Trail

The trail takes on a bit of recliner shape to it. It starts with an incline then flattens out and then has another incline. The start of the trail is the steepest and most challenging of the hike. Over the beginning seven-tenths of a mile you will increase 350 feet in elevation and hit grades of 15%. There are some switchbacks to make it a touch easier but still a little challenging.

A moderately dense section of forest on the Bakers Tank Trail.
The well spaced woods of the Bakers Tank Trail

The middle section of Bakers tank flattens out and take you about a half mile through some tall pine trees. (I really liked this flat part.) After that it is back to another incline. This second incline isn’t as steep. It will take you 400 feet in elevation gain over a mile and a top grade of 12% albeit that grade is short.

From the top there are some obstructed views of the mountains. Don’t you just hate it when nature gets in the way of your views of nature!

A snow capped peak is just visible through the trees from the upper section of the Bakers Tank Trail.
Mountains through the trees on the Bakers Tank trail

The trail then takes a steady but not challenging one mile decline to the tank and the junction with the tank!

The Bakers Tank

The large read Bakers Tank on the junction of Boreas Pass.
The Bankers Tank

The Bakers Tank is where the trail meets back up with Boreas Pass. The Tank is a massive red-ish structure that is left over from when they were constructing railroads in the area. The narrow gauge rail that ran 43 miles from Como to Leadville had 435 curves and the longest straight section was only 1.6 miles. It was started to be built in 1880 and took four years to complete. The rail line was in operation from 1884 to 1937. This tank was restored by Summit County in 1958.

The Bakers Tank with snow capped peaks in the background.  This is from above on the Bakers Tank Trail.
The Bakers Tank with peaks in the background

As I was on the trail I kept thinking that I missed the tank. I didn’t realize until I started to walk up to it how big it really was. It was a very cool thing to see and not something you expect to see in the middle of the woods!

The front view of the Bakers Tank
The Bakers Tank

It was a great stop in the middle of the trail to learn a bit of history. From the tank the trail is just walking back. I didn’t see any fall colors on the trail so I was hoping that Boreas Pass was going to have some better luck.

Boreas Pass and Fall Colors

While the Bakers tank trail was nice, there was only on small grove of aspens and they had already dropped their leaves. The thick pines also really restricted all of the views so I was hoping that the road would be a little better. The road was pretty amazing.

The walk back on Boreas Pass is three miles of gently sloped dirt road. The grade never gets more than single digits on the road if you are looking to start the hike this way. The first mile was relatively uneventful but allowed for some nicer views of the mountains than the trail provided.

The snow and cloud covered peaks from Boreas Pass
The Peaks near Breckenridge from Boreas Pass

From about 2 miles out from the trailhead the road turned into an amazing display of golden, auburn, and yellow leaves. Each small curve seemed to reveal more and more.

Yellow Leaves of aspen trees surrounding Boreas Pass road.
Aspens on Boreas Pass

As I made my way closer to the trailhead the cars and people increased and so did the fall colors.

The snow covered peaks seen behind the golden leaves of aspen trees from Boreas Pass road.
Peaks and Aspens

The views towards the mountains and down in the valley were really nice with aspens lining the foreground. As I continued closer the road became engulfed in gold.

Aspen trees on either side of Boreas Pass form a bit of a canopy over the road.
Canopy of gold over Boreas Pass

The walk itself was really easy with the most challenging part avoiding the steady stream of cars gazing at the surrounding trees. While I usually don’t love hikes on roads, this one was an exception based on the overall views of all the tremendous fall colors.

Yellow leaves and peaks in the distance from Boreas Pass.
Leaves and Peaks from Boreas Pass

While the first part of the hike was very tame with fall colors, the second half made up for it. The Boreas Pass section of the hike was amazing and I walked slowly and took it all in. The pass continues for 22 miles and many people took the entire road across but it does close seasonally.

For a hike the first part was a nice challenge and nice walk into the woods. The second part was perfect for a crisp fall morning.

Video of Boreas Pass and Bakers Tank Loop

I have put together a couple of videos of the Boreas Pass and Bakers Tank Loop. This first one is a narrative review of the hike:

This second one is what I like to call my Hikers Edit. It is a raw style time-lapse of the hike that shows what the trail was actually like. If you enjoy these videos I would love it if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get updates when I add new videos.

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 6.34 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 774 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 11,059 feet. I was also moving for a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Effort

The hike on the Bakers Tank section of the path is most like a real trail. There is some decent elevation gain but the trail is easy to follow. It is more like walking up a steady ramp than anything else so it gets the legs burning but not a ton of extra effort. The walk on Boreas Pass is easy and on a dirt road so not to much extra effort there.

Terrain

The Bakers Tank section is a bit rocky especially the section of the trial near the trailhead. The top of the hill is a bit smoother. When I went it was after a couple of days of rain and the trail was a bit muddy as well. Boreas is a dirt road that is in pretty good shape and easy to manage.

Access

The trailhead for Bakers Tank is on the last section of paved road coming out of Breckenridge. There is also a small parking area by the Tank as well. Boreas Pass closes seasonal, usually around November 1st, due to snow but the trailhead is accessible. There is room for about 15 cars at the trailhead. There are no bathroom facilities.

Wrapping up Boreas Pass and Bakers Tank Loop

As a hike I really enjoyed this. The Bakers Tank is a short jaunt through the woods and the pay off of the tank is really cool. As a fall hike this hike is pretty amazing. The aspens surrounding Boreas Pass paired with views of the mountains make the walk breathtaking.

It does get very busy so it might not be somewhere that you can get a lot of solitude but everyone was in a good mood and enjoy the beautiful fall sights.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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