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Fact Table:

Location Central
High point 11541 ft
Max Grade 8%
Arv Rt Grade 3.6%
Dist to High pt 10 mi
Elev Gain 1900 ft
Rating Moderate
Access City Breckenridge

 

Location Central
High point 11541 ft
Max Grade 7.5%
Arv Rt Grade 2.6%
Dist to High pt 11.5 mi
Elev Gain 1600 ft
Rating Easy
Access City Fairplay

 

Ride Tips:

  • Watch for high traffic out of Breckenridge
  • This is a high pass, watch for signs of altitude sickness
  • Bring water and Food with you
  • Watch for rapidly changing weather. Carry cold and wet weather gear with you

 

Out of BreckOut of Breckenridge
Breck sideThree to four miles below summit on Breckenridge side
Along the wayInteresting view to east out of Breckenridge
four to goFour miles below summit on Breckenridge side
switch to topLast few switchbacks near top on Breckenridge side
FairplayView toward pass out of Fairplay
CurvesOne of few curves on Fairplay side
HeatRoad that awaits you between Hoosier Pass and Trout Creek Pass
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Hoosier Pass Summary

The etymology of the work Hoosier is open to debate.  Whether you are asking “who’s your pa” or “Who’s here, “ or if you are talking about uncouth hill people,  or if you worked for some railroad boss who’s last name was Hoosier, the fact remains that this name, “Hoosier” is somewhat vague and non-descript.  Well, I think that’s an appropriate name for this rather vague and non-descript pass (note: Hoosier Pass marks the start of Hoosier Ridge, which is undoubtedly where the name came from, but then, where/how  did Hoosier Ridge get named?)

I’ve ridden this pass a few times from both directions and found it quite useful as a transit road from central Colorado (the likes of Fairplay, Buena Vista, Woodland Park, etc)  to Summit County.  The views at the Summit, particularly toward the south over Alma are gorgeous.  The views from the top of Mt Bross and Mt Lincoln to the west are spectacular.  The last three miles of the climb from Breckenridge are interesting given the switchbacks.  But that’s about it for highlights.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good pass to cycle and the roads are in very good shape.  If I lived in Breckenridge, I’d love to use this pass as a training ride because it gets good altitude, has nice summit views, and is not too technical.  However, to be honest, If I lived in Minnesota (like I do), and could only ride one pass in Colorado, this would not be it.  Why?  The first seven miles from Breckenridge to the base of the switchbacks reminds me of riding in a rather developed valley with 2% to 3% grades.  Not a lot of scenery (relatively speaking), straight roads, and tending toward high traffic.  It’s not until you get to three miles below the summit that you really get the feeling of riding in a special place.  The last three miles are quite nice (including a stretch of 8% grades).

From Alma, you are again riding in a valley (much more remote) amid lower tree covered hills.  There really are no jagged peaks to speak of or high mountains to the east or west.  Only the straight ramp with a slight curve at the to framing the high mountains in front of you.  The majority of the climbing is done in the last three miles, with the steeper grades at the bottom.  The short climb averages in the 6% range but does hit over 7% for a very short period.  This side is good for beginners, as it is fairly easy and short.  For the experienced rider, this is really more of a high speed bump that gets you set up for better passes to climb tomorrow. 

I don’t want to talk people out of this pass, as it is a decent climb and road.  The point I’m trying to make is that this actually is a good pass to ride (unlike other passes in the area that have very very high traffic and so-so roads, such as Kenosha Pass).  If you are in central Colorado, this would be worth your time.  If you are in Summit County, however, there are a number of other rides I’d recommend before you do this one: Loveland, Fremont, Vail, Independence, Tennessee).  If you are looking for a ten mile climb with close to 2000 feet of elevation gain.  Hoosier works well.  If you are looking for breathtaking scenery, you’ll be treated to some great views, but nothing that will change your life.

Alternate Routes

As mentioned above, I consider Hoosier Pass to be a “transit” pass.  Great to get from one area to another.  However, on either side of the pass, you have some great rides.

From the Breckenridge side, you have the trails around Breckenridge, Dillon, and Frisco.  You can climb Swan Mountain or ride up to Montezuma out of Keystone.  For passes, Loveland, Fremont, and Vail are in the backyard (And from Fremont, you are connected to Independence and Tennessee).

From the Fairplay side, once over Trout (a small bump in the road), you are set up for Cottonwood, Monarch, and even Independence, Tennessee, and Fremont.