Boreas Pass

39°24’40”N
105°58’10”W
11,482 FEET
(3,500 M)
GRAVEL
NEAR BRECKENRIDGE
Boreas Pass Elevation

It is traversed by Forest Service Road 33 (closed in winter)
(See Partner Passes: Red Hill Pass and Hoosier Pass)

Suggested Route (Paved & Gravel) 54.3 Miles

Switch to road bike for riding over Red Hill and Hoosier Pass
There are NO services in Como, CO

 

Begin at Breckenridge Recreation Center riding south on Airport Road
Turn right on North Park Avenue--mile .5
Continue straight to Main Street and stay right at the traffic light--mile 1.6
Ride to Boreas Pass Road and turn left--mile 1.8
Right on Illinois Gulch Road--mile 3
Left on Bunker Hill Lode Road--mile 3.72
Right on to Boreas Pass Road--mile 3.78
Stay on Boreas Pass Road to Boreas Pass Summit--mile 10.75
Continue on Boreas Pass Road (FR 404) to Como--mile 21.2
Make your way to US 285 and turn right--mile 21.8
Climb to Red Hill Pass Summit--mile 27.3
Follow US 285 to Fairplay making a right on CR 9--mile 31.1
Ride CR 9 through Alma (mile 37) to Hoosier Pass Summit--mile 42.8
Continue on CR 9 through Blue River (mile 47.5) back to Breckenridge
Left at light at Main and South Park Avenue--mile 52.7
Left on Airport Road--mile 53.6
Back to Breckenridge Recreation Center--Mile 54.3

THE CLIMB

You will want your MTB to ride over Boreas Pass from Breckenridge to the historic town of Como. It is a relatively well maintained gravel road and not difficult. You will pass the water tank on the way up and two historic buildings: Boreas Pass Section House and Ken’s Cabin at the summit.

NEARBY TOWNS

Breckenridge, 10 miles to the northwest
Fairplay, 20.8 miles to the southeast

FUN FACTS

The correct pronunciation of the pass name is “Bore-ays” in honor of Boreas, the Ancient Greek god of the North Wind.

 

Once P.T. Barnum’s circus train, traveling from Denver to Leadville, couldn’t make it up the grade of the pass. The animal trainer unloaded the elephants to push and pull the train to the summit so “The Greatest Show on Earth” could reach its destination.

HISTORY

In the 1860s, the pass was known as Breckenridge Pass. It served as an early route for thousands of prospectors coming from South Park to look for gold in the valley around Breckenridge. In 1866, the pass was widened to a wagon road that accommodated stagecoaches. In 1882, under the direction of Sidney Dillon, the president of the Union Pacific Railroad, they began laying narrow gauge tracks up the pass. The rail line was a major engineering accomplishment because of the harsh conditions and altitude. This line was originally the nation’s highest narrow-gauge railroad. A roundhouse built in 1881 by Italian stonemasons for the rail line still exists in the town of Como. The name Como is from Lake Como in Italy.

 

A town of Boreas, now a ghost town, was constructed at the summit of Boreas Pass, primarily to house workers to clear the line in winter. The line was abandoned in 1937. After World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers reconstructed the route for automobile traffic. On the north side of the pass, Forest Service Road 593 leads to the 1880’s ghost town site of Dyersville, as well as many abandoned mining sites.