Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Mount Flora Trifecta: Colorado Mines Peak, Mount Flora, and Breckenridge Peak

The Mount Flora Trifecta: Colorado Mines Peak, Mount Flora, and Breckenridge Peak

One of the easier mountain trail runs found near Colorado's front range is the Mount Flora run from Berthoud Pass. At 3.6 miles and only 2,200 feet of elevation gain, this is a popular one for trail runners to test out their mountain lungs. 

On top of Colorado Mines Peak thinking about the next two...

However, when doing this run, it makes more sense to go for the full trifecta - Colorado Mines Peak, Mount Flora, and Breckenridge Peak. The run starts out fairly straight forward - park at the top of Berthoud Pass and run the closed road that leads to the top of Colorado Mines Peak (12,497 feet). After around 1.5 miles you will reach the top. Enjoy the views and the sound of the wind howling through the various antenna and scientific instruments around you. 

On Mount Flora... a little windy today...

From here, run down the ridge to your east to reconnect with the main Mount Flora trail. Run this trail as it winds along the ridge for another 1.5 miles to the top of Mount Flora (13,146 feet). Spectacular views await! 

View from Mount Flora of Colorado Mines Peak (Peak 1) and Breckenridge Peak (Peak 3)

Now, for the final peak to complete the trifecta. Run back along the trail like you are heading back to the car, but at the first saddle encountered on your WAY BACK (not the lowest point which is where Colorado Mines Peak meets the trail), drop off the south side onto the saddle between the ridge and Breckenridge Peak. Run this ridge keeping slightly left(west) as you wind your way up to the top of the stand-along Breckenridge Peak (12,889 feet). 

Tara running back before Breckenridge Peak...

From here, you retrace your steps back to the Mount Flora trail, and then cruz down the casual 2 miles back to your car at Berthoud Pass. All in all, this is an excellent trail run in the mountains, with some climbing but also some really nice stretches of rolling terrain. On this day it took us 2 hours and 35 minutes to do all three peaks car-to-car. 

Tara on Breckenridge Peak, Mount Flora is in the far right out of the picture...

The numbers for those who care....

Beginning Elevation: ~11,000 feet 
High Point: 13,146 feet 
Total climbing and descending: ~ 4,000 feet 
Mileage: 10 miles round trip 
Other People Factor: moderate. 
Time: 2-4 hours depending on how often you stop to enjoy the views... 

Running back; Mount Flora (Peak 2) is in the background... 

And of course, flowers!

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