June 22, 2020 Breckenridge/Tiger Run (Day 2)

It was a very chilly morning (48 degrees), but the sun was out and the skies were clear. Bob did some research online and found a couple of good 4 wheeling trails for us to try in the area. Mosquito Pass Road sounded good, but he wanted to get some first-hand knowledge from one of the guys in the Tiger Run Jeepers group. When he got back from talking with them, we packed a lunch and some warm jackets and headed out to do the Mosquito Pass 4WD Road at 10:30. We drove on Highway 9 through Breckenridge.

They had closed off part of the main street through town to create a pedestrian area and to allow restaurants to use the area for additional space to set out tables with 6′ distancing. From there, we could see the Breckenridge ski lift.

We have skied in Breckenridge quite a few times in years past and with all things, it has changed and grown. Highway 9 between Breckenridge and Alma was a winding, twisting road that climbed into the mountains.

The views of the mountains going up were spectacular. We climbed and climbed until we reached Hoosier Pass at an elevation of 11,539 ft. and the Continental Divide.

Going down the other side, there were some steep grades.

From there, we could see the valley below us. What a view!

The highway took us to the town of Alma. Alma is an interesting town that is the hub of activity for all the homes set in the hillsides nearby.

Outside of town, we looked for Highway 12 which would lead us to Mosquito Pass Road. The road was dirt and like a wash-board at the beginning.

We went slow so as not to rattle our teeth too much. There was a small grouping of houses that looked like they could have been used by the miners and their families. We knew this area had a history of mining. Some of the buildings looked very old.

This cute little log cabin looked original.

We liked the name of this road–Kootchie Kootchie Rd.

Many homes were rustic cabins barely put together and then we saw something like this sitting in the bushes. Hmmmm.

From here, we could see where the road went.

Bob spotted this grave site in a ravine below.

This road is supposedly one of the highest Colorado passes accessible to 4WD vehicles and the 4th highest road in Colorado. We were excited to drive the Jeep on this road to see where it took us. The road climbed deeper and deeper into a dead end canyon.

Sections of the road were smooth, but mostly it was rocky, with ruts, some potholes, and water holes. 4-wheel drive was definitely required.

We got to the beginning of Mosquito Pass Road and saw the sign that told us that Mosquito Pass was closed (due to snow, according to our Jeeping neighbors).

That’s ok. We’d go as far as we could go! Numbered mile signs marked our way.

We passed a few cars coming down from who knows where, we wondered. They were going much faster than you’d think the suspension and wheels could handle, but they did, kicking up a cloud of dust as they went. After awhile, we reached the site of the old mill on London Mountain.

On the hillside, you could see the tram towers that carried the ore down from the mine on the top of the hill.

Tailings from that mine could be seen from below.

This was Colorado’s first aerial tramway which transported gold, silver, and lead ore down to the mill in 1882. Power for the mill was supplied by a large windmill with 60′ arms. This was the mine at the top of the hill. (Mosquito Pass Road over the pass to Leadville was built during the height of the silver rush. It was the shortest of 3 roads across the Mosquito Mountain range. It opened as a toll road in 1879 and carried more than 100 wagons, freighters, and stagecoaches to Leadville each day. The railroad came to Leadville in 1880 and the road was abandoned.)

We also came across two huge puddles, if you can call them that. We didn’t know how deep they were, so we took it slow. This was the most fun part!

We got to the end of the canyon where there was a place to park and got out. The views in all directions were spectacular.

We could see many waterfalls cascading down the hillsides as the snow piles continued to melt.

Coomey Lake sat at the end of the canyon.

There were numerous piles of tailings like this one from other mines.

This was as far as we decided we would go because this is the part of the road that came next.

We were at an elevation of 11,629 ft. and the rest of the road was like this. They described some areas that were like driving on bowling balls on a road with no guardrails.

The pass is at 13,185 ft. where the road runs along the ridge with narrow ledges and airy drop-offs. This is not for the faint of heart. The pass was closed anyway, so this was a good turn-around point.

We decided that this would be a great place to eat our lunch with beautiful scenery in every direction.

We walked around a little and discovered a couple of great areas to pitch a tent and have a campsite up there. Remnants of a couple of fire pits could be seen. I bet it gets awful dark up there and billions of stars can be seen on a clear night. Bob noticed that in this particular chute on the mountain where the snow had not melted yet, someone had skied down and left their tracks.

We enjoyed our lunch and time up there and then headed down. The ride down was a little faster as we knew what to expect. It was an hour drive up and a 30 minute drive down. The Mosquito Pass Road is a total of 13.6 miles from Alma to Leadville and we did 7 miles of it. We got back to the “campground” at 2:00 and enjoyed some sunshine outside with Auggie.

Around 3:30, the skies darkened and storms blew in over the mountains headed in our direction.

We heard some thunder, got a little rain, and even some hail. That was a surprise! A few short showers blew in during the afternoon, but they didn’t last long. After dinner, I gave Auggie a walk around the block in the resort which took us past the Swan and Blue Rivers that run behind us and around us.

At one of the RV sites, I spotted this cool set of moose antlers.

This place we’re staying in is awesome! The Tiger Run RV resort is nestled in an area surrounded by the Blue and Swan Rivers. It contains beautiful RV sites and many chalet-style log cabins. Some of the RV sites and cabins are owned, but most are for rent when the owner is not in residence. They have an indoor pool, hot tubs, clubhouse, fitness center, and laundry. There is a great paved bike path just across the highway that goes from Breckenridge to Vail. We are enjoying treating ourselves to a little “glamping”. I must say that we thoroughly enjoyed our first real 4WD Jeeping experience today. It got us talking about doing more and maybe coming back next year to explore the area for a longer period of time.

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