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Proposal Areas

Tenmile

12,910 acres (20.2 square miles)

Setting
The Tenmile Range is a high, narrow, peak-studded divide that separates Tenmile Creek from Blue River. The proposed Tenmile Wilderness occupies most of the crest and western slopes of the range. These slopes plunge dramatically to Tenmile Creek providing a spectacular view from the Copper Mountain Ski Area. The Tenmile divide is an outstanding alpine landmark, featuring Tenmile Peak (12,933 feet), Peaks 3 through 10 (12,438 to 13,633 feet), Crystal Peak (13,852 feet), Pacific Peak (13,950), and Quandary Peak (14, 265). Elevations in the unit range from 9,700 feet along Tenmile Creek to 14,200 feet on Quandary Peak.
The terrain consists of numerous glacial cirques very steep west-facing slopes, that divide steep west-facing slopes and funnel into narrow avalanche paths running into the dark timber below. Much of the area is above treeline, and supports an alpine environment dominated by tundra and scree. The forest is mostly comprised of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir.

What’s special about it
Ecology: The awesome alpine terrain of this proposed Wilderness Area has limited development and retains a wild and natural character despite the many roads and mines around it.
Recreation: The incredible scenery and close proximity to Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, and Frisco make this a very popular destination in the summer and winter. The famous Colorado Trail runs just to the north of the area; and the area has impressive backcountry skiing potential. Unlike much of the Hidden Gems, this area receives little hunting traffic in the fall.
Wildlife refuge: Bighorn sheep and mountain goats live along Tenmile ridge and the forested portions of the unit support elk, deer, and bear in the summer. The area is prime habitat for the Canada lynx, a state-endangered and nationally-threatened species, which often cross I-70 from here to reach the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. The northern boundary excludes the Wheeler Trail to accommodate mountain biking.

Potential threats
Mining: Development of patented mining claims that occur on the southeast and southwest borders of the unit will make it more difficult for wildlife to migrate.

Division of Wildlife habitat qualities, species of significance
The area contains elk summer range and production areas. It also has ptarmigan overall range and winter concentration areas, and has documented movement of lynx through the area.

Outreach results
The original boundaries for this proposal area have been extensively modified to ensure continued use of popular bicycling opportunities, and to ensure continued operation of existing municipal water supply facilities.


How to get there
The proposed Tenmile Wilderness Area is located 2 miles west of Breckenridge and 3 miles south of Frisco.

  • From the west, you may enter this proposed Wilderness Area from the Wheeler Flats Trailhead (39), which is located at the junction State Highway (SH) 91 and Interstate 70, near the entrance to Copper Mountain Ski Area. This section of the Wheeler Trail is part of the Colorado Trail, and goes south along Tenmile Creek before entering the proposal Area and making a climbing traverse to timberline. To stay on the Colorado Trail, turn left at treeline onto Miner's Creek Trail (38), which climbs to the Tenmile ridge and make sits way north toward Frisco. Or stay on the Wheeler Trail, cross the divide and head southeast. This trail goes all the way to Hoosier Pass on SH 9, although it can be accessed in between by roads from Blue River.
  • From Frisco, either drive south up Miner's Creek Road (FS 1000), or hike up the Peaks Trail (45) next to it, to reach the Miner's Creek/Colorado Trail (38). You can also reach this location by hiking up the Gold Hill Trail (47), which begins at SH 9 two miles south of Dillon Reservoir. This is the route taken by the Colorado Trail.
  • From Breckenridge, take SH 9 two miles south and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road (FS 800). From near the end of this road, you may get onto the Wheeler Trail (39), which climbs northwest into the roadless area above Breckenridge Ski Area.
  • The USGS 7 1⁄2' quads for the proposed Tenmile Wilderness Area are Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Frisco, and Vail Pass.