Hoosier Pass Loop

Distance2.8 mi
Elevation Gain666 ft
My Time1 hr 12 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownAlma
Food NearbySouth Park Saloon

Hoosier Pass

Hoosier Pass is a very popular tourist spot located on CO-9. People stop by to take pictures of the Continental Divide sign and enjoy some mountain views on their way between Breckenridge and Fairplay. There are also a couple of trails that originate from the parking lot which were much less traveled.

The Hoosier Pass Loop starts behind this big US forest service sign for Hoosier Pass.
Hoosier Pass is one of several mountain passes on the Continental Divide

Getting Started

To get started on the Hoosier Pass Loop Trail you simply need to walk up County Road #2 that is next to the parking lot. This road leads past a couple of parking spots and several spots that look to be campsites. The road will take you most of the way to the peak that makes up the Hoosier Pass Loop.

Make sure that when you intersect the Silver Lake Road to stay to the left if you want to continue the loop.

Road Walking

While walking on roads isn’t my favorite kind of hiking I made a bit of an exception for this one. The road portion runs from about 1.3 miles and has a consistent but not overwhelming 7-10% incline grade. What makes this road walk a little more bearable is the view.

Snow covered and cloud touching mountains are just past a line of trees on the edge of the dirt road trail of Hoosier Pass Loop.
The Hoosier Pass Loop leads up a dirt road with some pretty impressive views past the trees

The Pass is located just next to the popular 14er complex of “Decalibron”. This includes four – fourteen thousand foot peaks, Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron, and Bross. That makes for a beautiful walk up the road that even the rough weather couldn’t hold down.

A good view of the mountains in the distance touching the clouds from the Hoosier Pass Loop trail.
Mountains touching the clouds on the Hoosier Pass Loop trail.

So while the hike is just up a road it does provide some amazing views. I found myself stopping often to enjoy the views. The road itself is pretty easy to manage and does get a little steeper towards the end but still doesn’t make it to 15% so most people should be ok.

Path to the Peak

At around the 1.3 mile mark you will come to a junction on the road. There will be a path that heads back down the hill which is private and unavailable. Another path will head to the left and up a hill towards some old mines. A path directly in front that heads towards the Silver Lake Road and then a smaller path that heads up the trail directly to your right. Take this path to the right to make it up to the top of the peak.

This small path is the steepest section but not too bad. It is just 100 feet in a tenth of a mile so most should be able to do handle it. When you get to the top of the hill you will be on a longish flat section that gives you 360 degree views of the mountains and all the way down the valley back towards Breckenridge.

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It was such a cool place to be on a peak but surrounded by so many higher peaks. With the weather coming in and starting to snow it made the mountains seem more mysterious. Hidden in the clouds but it was still one of the coolest spots I have been to on a short hike.

Finish the Loop

To finish the Hoosier Pass Loop you have a couple of options. You can either retreat and head back down the road or continue across the peak you are on. There is a small and narrow trail that comes down the mountain. This path is definitely more challenging. It is steep in spots and the trail is narrow and hard to find at times. It does drop you off near the start of the hike up the road.

Taking this route also give you another perspective on the backside of the pass. In the fall the valley below you has some great fall colors in it and it really comes into view from this trail.

The view of the valley down below the peak with spots of yellow trees mixed in with the evergreens from the Hoosier Pass Loop trail.
The valley below the Hoosier Pass Loop speckled with Fall Color

For such a short hike, Hoosier pass is full of some amazing views and leads to quick trip to 12,000 foot peak.

Video of the Hoosier Pass Loop

I have put together a couple of videos of my trip on the Hoosier Pass Loop. This first one is a narrative version of the hike:

Next up we have a time lapse version of the hike that I like to call my Hikers Edit. If you enjoyed either of these videos I would love it if you subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get notifications when I post new content.

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 2.8 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 666 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 12,220 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 12 minutes.

Effort

For such a short hike this trail really had me huffing and puffing. I think because the road isn’t too steep I tried to go a little too hard and at such high starting elevation it makes the air a little thin. The trail is really easy to follow and easy to walk so the effort is based solely on the elevation.

Terrain

The trail is really an old county road. It is wide and easy to follow. It is a bit rocky and has some ruts and pot holes but as trails go this one is pretty easy to traverse.

Access

The Hoosier Pass Loop is located at, you guessed it, Hoosier pass! Hoosier pass is between Breckenridge and Alma, Colorado on State Highway 9. The trail is just up county road 2 that is next to the parking area. There is a large parking area that can hold about 30 cars. No restroom facilities are available at the trail.

Wrapping up the Hoosier Pass Loop

The Hoosier Pass Loop was a really enjoyable hike walking past some of the highest peaks in Colorado on an easy to handle service road. While the hike is shorter it still ends up at a 12,000 peak that gives some pretty impressive 360 degree views.

The weather was a little rough for the hike this day but I think it actually gave a bit more of a mystery to the hike and the stories the mountains were trying to tell. I liked it so much that I went back a week later just to check out the sunset from the pass!

If you are visiting from out of town keep in mind that it is a high elevation hike and might be a little more challenging for you.

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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