Georgia Pass – Summit County, Colorado

Georgia Pass Road #355

Every Fall we always try to take at least one day trip to find Aspen gold.   This year we found an offroad trail with a little challenge and a little scenery — Georgia Pass.   This pass connects the towns of Jefferson and Breckenridge and was once a late 1800’s stagecoach trail that carried passengers from the Jefferson railroad terminal into Breckenridge and surrounding communities.

 

Trail Name: Georgia Pass

Trail Length: 11.6 miles

Highest Elevation: 11,585 feet 

We decided to enter the trail from Tiger Road just outside of Breckenridge, since this section of the pass was the most difficult. This part of Summit County used to be an active mining area and home to many small mining communities that have long since disappeared.

Georgia Pass

Our ascent up Georgia Pass was steep, narrow, and rocky.  There are numerous spurs off the main trail, which can make the trail somewhat confusing to follow. The road is marked with forest service road markers, but they can easily blend in with the dense trees and brush.  If you go, just be sure to follow 355 signs.

Ascending Georgia PassView from Georgia Pass

After emerging from the narrow trail, we drove past tree line and were greeted with a magnificent view.  We were slightly disappointed that we had yet to see any Aspens, but once we reached the top of the pass, we were able to see the gold foliage awaiting us on the other side.

Georgia Pass 11,585 feet elevationGeorgia Pass – elevation 11,585 feet.  Mount Guyot sits in the background.

Driving Georgia PassDescending the pass towards Jefferson, the road is well maintained and easily traveled by all vehicles….And is surrounded on either side by glowing Aspens.

Aspen Gold and Blue SkyContrast of the golden Aspen leaves against the Colorado blue sky.

Georgia Pass goldThe golden leaves continued around every corner.

Community AspensAspen Field

Lucky folks to live amongst the Aspens.

Cows with a ViewStopped to say “Hello.”

 

Aspen Grove on Weston PassTree on Weston Pass

Gold Aspens Weston PassWeston Pass Aspens

Once we finished Georgia Pass, it was still early in the day, so we continued down the highway and explored a portion of Weston Pass.  We found a few more amazing displays of fall color.

 

If you are curious about the history of Breckenridge and Summit County, here are two interesting websites:

Good Times Adventures: Gold Fever in Our Backyard

Summit County, Colorado: Mining History

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Red Cone Pass

Group at rock gardenLast weekend, some friends and I went to Red Cone Pass south west of Denver. Unfortunately K was still in San Diego, so it was just Furry B and me on this trip. This 4×4 trail is considered moderate and the views are some of the best on any front range trail I have been on to date. We met at the Aspen Park shopping center in Conifer, fueled up and headed down the road. The group consisted of two 100 Series Cruisers, an 80 Series and an FJ40, so it was a pretty good representation of the Land Cruiser family. We aired our tires down soon after we left the pavement and headed up the trail. Clouds were looming overhead and we hoped for some clearing as wet rocks are no fun. Immediately the trail narrowed with lots of loose rock and we arrived at our first obstacle. All of us crawled over the rock in the middle of the trail with no problem and continued on. Next was the “rock garden” – an area of large loose rocks that you had to carefully navigate which then brought us to a beautiful Aspen grove. Switchback, after switchback we continued up the trail gaining elevation.

This trail is notorious for being a tire eater, so careful tire placement was a must. Nearing treeline we could see the surrounding mountains and the clouds finally gave way to bright blue skies. We entered the “meadow” and stopped for snacks and to let the kids and dogs stretch their legs. This was a relatively flat area above treeline and the last stopping point before you make the uphill push to the summit. After the kids and slobbery dogs were worn out, we piled back in the trucks and made our way up the loose rock trail. Finally we made the summit at 12,801 feet and stopped for pictures. The temperature was in the upper 50’s with clear skies, so we couldn’t have asked for better weather. What an awesome panorama. There were even some large snow fields still lingering near the tops of the mountains.

Mountain Goat hitching a rideAs we started our descent, we noticed two white shapes on the trail below. As we got closer, we realized they were Mountain Goats out for an afternoon stroll. We quickly snapped a few pictures as they made their way up the nearby ridge.

The sun was beginning to set and the shadows from the mountains slowly crept up the trail. When we finally made it below treeline, we were greeted by some mule deer grazing in a small pasture. Just before sunset, we arrived at the trail-head, aired our tires back up and decided to grab some pizza at JJ Madwells in Conifer before heading home. It was a great ending to an awesome day on the trail.

 

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3rd Annual 100s in the Hills

After months of emails, texts and conference calls with the 3 other Co-Directors, it was finally time to hit the road. Bandit and I had the Cruiser and trailer packed up and we were off for the 3rd Annual 100s in the Hills event. Some of you might remember a few years ago a trip we took to the San Juans to camp and wheel with some friends. Well, this small excursion has grown significantly in the past three years to a nationally recognized event. This year we had almost 30 vehicles from all over the country, 65 people in attendance and twenty-three sponsors. Located in a remote area where everyone is to be self sufficient, we require all participants to practice the leave no trace principles. This event takes quite a bit of logistics and planning, which was completely worthwhile. No one left disappointed.

Unfortunately Kristy was out of town on business, but she is sure to attend next year. I wrote an article that was published in the November/December issue of Toyota Trails magazine on this years event. Please click below for the online edition of the article page 19:

Toyota Trails Nov/Dec 3013

Below are more pictures and a link to the 100s in the Hills Facebook page:

Facebook/100s in the Hills

Day #1: Clear Lake family fun run

Day #2: Ophir Pass & Imogene Pass

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Day #3: Black Bear Pass

Day #3 continued, Directors run back to camp and night run:

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