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The Secret Stash for November in Breckenridge – The B&B Mines Trail to Turks Trail & Sally Barber Mine Trail

Posted by Breckenridge Associates Real Estate on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 at 1:03pm.

Early ski season is a great time to head out on the local ski slopes for a few fun runs to get the feel of your ski legs and start to get back in the groove of winter skiing and riding. As the snow falls with Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, A-Basin and Loveland opening more terrain daily, ski area conditions continue to get better and better.

But, ask a Breckenridge local what to do late October and early November when it’s time to put the mountain bikes away and the hiking boots up, and you’ll hear many get out our cross country touring gear and the hit the north facing slopes for a little ski tour.

Locals love those unexpected early season snows where even a couple inches in town can mean several inches or more in our secret stashes. A couple favorites begin in the French Gulch area - in the open space that is now owned jointly by the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County. This area, once owned by B&B Mines Company, hosts tons of winter and summer hiking, biking and skiing trails and offers all levels of skiers terrain on non-motorized pathways.

The first loop consists of the B&B Mines Trail, which connects to a new trail added this past summer called Turks Trail. This loop has off road parking about 1/3 of a mile up French Gulch Road from where the pavement ends at the Wellington Neighborhood. It’s just over an 1 hour ski and will take you past dredge boat tailings, old mining equipment and 1 of 2 actual dredge boats left in Breckenridge today. Known by locals as the Ghost Dredge, this boat found its final resting place in a small pond on French Creek. The B&B Mines Trail has some interesting history as well – many long time locals call it Boomer Trail. It received its nickname from all the early mountain bikers, who were exploring the area for great trails. Well, there were several old miner’s cabins on this dirt road and a couple of the old miners/hippies didn’t like people using the trails back there and would shoot guns over the bikers heads as they raced down the road, "bombing" the trail as fast as they could. Those cabins have long been removed, but the name has stuck around and it still leads to good storytelling too.

Turks Trail makes a loop back onto the B&B Mines Trail. We prefer to stay on the B&B Trail all the way to the just before the dredge boat and take the upper entry to Turks Trail. Turks continues to the right just below the dredge boat – if you want to take a peek at the boat stay left at the post and go to the fenced area, it is a hundred yards or so beyond the turn to Turks. The upper route will take you just past the dredge, past more mine tailings and then gradually works its way uphill and turns back west towards the parking lot with a couple fun little downhill spots. You'll pass some old mining remains and cabins and end up back on the B&B Trail about 1/4 of a mile from the parking lot. Named after Turk Montepare, a key Breckenridge figure in acquiring the 1,800 plus acres of Golden Horseshoe Backcountry including this trail, Turks Trail is great advanced beginner rolling terrain with a small streams, a few bridges and lush vegetation.

Another favorite of the locals for early season touring is Sally Barber Mine Trail. Farther up French Gulch Road, about 1 1/2 miles, you’ll come to a big parking lot with an information sign on the trails and snow plow turn around. This is north side parking for the Sally Barber Mine Trail. Park there and walk a little way to just past the driveway on the left, this is where you can put your skis on and then take the right hand fork. This trail is a steady uphill for approximately 2 miles and offers great views of French Gulch and the Ten Mile Range. This trail is not for beginners because you do need some skills on the downhill portions. Locals love this trail as it holds early season snow well, offers a great workout and at the top you can continue on if you’d like. Add another 2 miles to the tour and return back the way you came, giving you about a 2 to 2 1/2 hour ski. Or, turn around at the top, which is the actual site of Sally Barber Mine. At the top, there is signage explaining the site and some of the equipment used in the mining operations there long ago. Make sure to take the time to look back the way you came and you will see Keystone Resort ski area trails.

This is a picture of Maya, our own Broker/Partner Lisa Bova's doggie. She's having a blast chasing her ball on the Sally Barber Trail after a big late October storm a few weeks ago.

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