The following locations are all located within the borders of Summit County. Depending on the time of year and how much hiking you wish to do, we may reach all these locations or only a couple.
This hike is about as easy as they come. The trail has little incline and is less than a mile long, but it has some exceptional views of Summit County and Lake Dillon from high above the water. In addition to some amazing views (see header photo) you also have a community of chipmunks who have become so used to people that you may find them in your lap if you sit down near their rocks.
The hike from the parking area begins at close to 12,000 feet. Without even hiking you can enjoy spectacular views in all directions, but if you wish, from here we can hike to the very top of the divide (if your lungs are up to the task). Look for Arapaho Ski area off to the south and Loveland Ski area to the west. To the northeast, you’ll see Mt. Sniktau which can be reached via the trail that ascends from the parking lot below.
The hike is about a mile and a half. It doesn’t sound like much, but at this elevation and vertical climb, it is a very difficult hike. At the top we will find a wind shelter that marks the highest point of the Divide. This is a great place for us to enjoy a packed lunch, rest and enjoy the world class view below you.
The Deer Creek Trail just outside the town of Montezuma is primarily for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, although you can hike up Forest Road 5 anytime during the year. This is the perfect winter trail for a beginner snowshoe user or cross-country skier. The pitch is relatively gentle, there is very little avalanche danger, and there is a low probability of getting lost.
The hike up the Deer Creek Trail kicks off at the end of the plowed road, following Deer Creek the entire distance to the end of your journey. The trail meanders through the pines in a south/southwest direction, passing by Superior, Upper Chautauqua and Lower Chautauqua Mines on your right, and then Star of the West, Arabella, Mohawk, Upper Radical, and Lower Radical Mines on your left.
French Gulch lies just a few miles outside the Breckenridge limits. The area used to be one of Colorado’s largest mining areas producing great riches (and losses) for those who chose to seek their fortunes. The gulch is scattered with mining remnants that make for very interesting photography (from a historic sense and an artistic sense). If you enjoy photographing old rotting structures that represent a different era then you are really going to enjoy this part of the tour.
The star of this area is the Reiling Dredge. This hulk of rotting wood may not look like much now but in its day it was a real money maker. Between 1898 and 1942 nine dredges worked in Summit County and two within the French Gulch area. The Reiling was one of those. The Reiling sank in the pond where it still sits back in 1922.