This is one of those trails that has been on our "to do" list for years but we never seem to find the time to do it. It pairs well with Weston Pass, but it seems like we always end up on Weston Pass in the dark. This time we started with Breakneck Pass and that worked out perfectly.
Even though it was the middle of October, the weather was perfect. It was sunny all day, and the temperatures weren't too chilly. We saw a bit of snow in the shady spots at times, but otherwise the trail was pretty clear and dry.
Almost all of us met in Conifer, and then we drove to Fairplay to meet Matt who came from Colorado Springs. We aired down at the gas station there, and soon we were off to the trailhead. It wasn't much farther down the highway.
We found it easily enough, and followed it through the residential area without any issues. We were a little bummed that we hadn't done the trail a couple of weeks earlier, though. There were aspen trees all around us, but they had all lost their leaves already. It was really starting to look like winter.
The climb up and over Breakneck Pass was an easy one. We passed by the intersection with forest service road 426, opting to take the standard way around instead. It probably would have been a bit more challenging to take 426, but the main trail was also scenic and relaxing as we came out of the trees and into Sheep Park.
When we got to the "puddle spur" we naturally took it. Everyone had a good time splashing through the first big puddle. It looked like it was going to be a muddy day!
The next patch had some slick and slimy mud, and everyone enjoyed the challenge. It must be deep and slippery in the spring.
We climbed up the other ridge and found puddle after puddle on the trail. Some puddles were rocky on the bottom, but most were smooth and perfect for splashing. Everyone was getting their Jeeps very filthy.
We enjoyed the rocky spot before the end, and then turned around to do it again on the way out. This spur is pretty short but all of the puddles make it a really good time.
We got back to the main trail and continued on, making the right turn to start up to Browns Pass. The hill climb was pretty fun! There was a snowy patch near the top that caused a few of us to spin. Monica had to put her Jeep in 4-low, and Bill had to turn on his lockers. Some people saw it before getting caught in it, and they managed to power right through it.
We all had a good time cruising up the hill, and now we were on the top of the hill. We found a place where we all could stop and we had lunch. There were a few bees buzzing around still, but no other wildlife. It was a great lunch, with weather that was still perfect.
The descent was fairly mellow, with a few snowy spots. The views of South Park were phenomenal at the top, too. We soon found ourselves in the same big grove of aspen trees, and soon we were out on the pavement.
This is a pretty fun loop, and we'll have to check it out again when the aspen trees have yellow leaves.