The scenes in this fabulous location are stunning, but my preference is for something even farther from the beaten path. I would rather take my 4WD experience to Camp Hale, just outside of Breckenridge.
4WD around Camp Hale is an experience for everyone. There are entertaining Jeep paths for the beginners that are little more than steep dirt roads. There are wide, rutted fields and small gulches in the East Fork Valley that provide excellent practice for new 4x4 drivers.
More Breckenridge adventurous and experienced 4x4 drivers might choose to look back over the Eagle River by taking the more treacherous mule trails that twist and spiral upward. Other advanced 4WD trails at Camp Hale are at the narrow end of the valley, nearer to the Ski Cooper resort.
Camp Hale was the primary training location for World War 2’s elite Tenth Mountain Division. The Tenth were America’s first specialized winter fighting force and during the last days of the war they fought on both fronts. Ski runs are still visible on either side of the valley, and Ski Cooper is a functional resort that uses a few of the same runs. These military pioneers were also some of the first Colorado 4WD fans. The mines in the area were still using mules more often than not, and the first 4WD “Jeeps” were used in this and many other military camps.
If you are looking for more scenery than you can get while clutching the steering wheel, you can book exceptional Breckenridge 4WD tours . This little town is the settlement with the highest altitude in Breckenridge Colorado. A pleasure drive through this pretty place will grant you spectacular views of peaks highlighted with snow all year long.
Breckenridge has a prominent place in Colorado history because of the infamous Baby Doe Tabor and the Matchless Mine. The ravishing second wife of Horace Tabor held onto the paid out mine for 36 years after Horace died, and left this world while living in the shaft house of the old mine. Legend says she was nearly frozen when she was found, and holding a revolver in defense of the mine that couldn’t even keep her fed. It is a pleasant 4WD trek to the Matchless Mine, and the Tabor Opera House in still on Leadville’s main street.
If you are looking for a thrill that is a bit closer to civilization, the Wild Irishman Camp near Loveland will show you challenging 4WD and another fabulous historical experience. Just bordering Loveland pass, the Wild Irishman Camp is a well preserved settlement that once housed silver mines and their families.
This location was near high-producing silver mine in the 1800’s, though that mine has been closed for over a hundred years. The curious or adventurous 4WDer might be convinced to take a cruise around the remains of the mine, but keep in mind that the ground is exceptionally unstable.
These are only a few examples of the entertaining historical sites that can be reached while you are out 4WD in Breckenridge Summit County. You local parks and recreation department, community center, or ranger station will have trail maps and restrictions for where you can take 4WD vehicles. Have fun, be safe, and leave no trace!