Snowshoeing is a great Breckenridge winter activity for those who do not ski or need an outdoor activity on a non-skiing day. All Breckenridge snowshoe trails listed below have easy ascents and descents which make them great for a low-key, acclimation-friendly activity day before hitting the slopes or for anyone in your group who wants to see some sites without skiing or snowboarding.
Boreas Pass: In the fall and summer, this road is heavily trafficked by vehicles, but closed to vehicular traffic in the winter months making it one of the best snowshoe trails in the county. The distance varies depending on how far you want to go, but grandiose views of the Ten Mile Range can be enjoyed from several overlooks only a short distance in on the trail, making it ideal for a variety of ages and energy levels. Take the trail further in and see historic Baker’s Tank, even further to Ken’s Cabin.
Getting there: Boreas Pass Road is at the junction of the last stop light on the south end of Breckenridge on Highway 9. Take Boreas Pass road west and enjoy the overlooks along the way. The road will dead end at the trailhead parking lot.
Pence Miller: Excellent town overlook opportunities on a trail that is mostly quiet year round.
Getting there: Park in the Parking Garage and take the Pedestrian Tunnel underneath Park Avenue. You will see a sign that says Watson Trailhead near the tunnel entrance. The tunnel will come out on the other side of Park Avenue at Mountain Thunder Lodge. Take the trail that runs to the right of Mountain Thunder Lodge and follow it to the Pence Miller trailhead.
Sallie Barber: Another great trail that ends with the fun reward of exploring some of the Breckenridge rich mining history. The hike in is a gradual ascent with the beauty of the surrounding peaceful woods. Out and back is an easy 2.8 miles round trip. Beyond the end of the Sallie Barber trail, other trails branch out which lead to the B&B trailhead system.
Getting there: Turn left onto Boreas Pass Road at the south end of Breckenridge, going south on Highway 9. Turn left onto Baldy Road and then right onto Sallie Barber. Park at the end of Sallie Barber Road close to trailhead sign. Parking is limited. If no spots are available, park at ice rink, take the Boreas Pass Loop bus and unload at the Rock Ridge stop. Reverse this for getting back to your vehicle at the ice rink.
Mayflower Gulch: Not exactly in Breckenridge, but a short and pretty drive to the west is a beautiful trail for Breckenridge visitors, again with big rewards at the end. You’ll catch glimpses through the trees of the incredible mountain range beyond the mining ruins at the end of this trail. The gradual ascent climbs to 12,000 feet.
Getting there: From Breckenridge, drive north on Highway 9. Take I-70 west towards Copper Mountain and take the Copper Mountain exit. Turn left and drive south on Highway 91 for 6 miles to the Mayflower Gulch parking lot on the left side of the highway. If you pass Clinton Reservoir on the left side of 91, turn around and go back 2 miles. Bonus Tip: Clinton Reservoir is a stunning site! Park in the lot and take advantage of fantastic photo ops.
If you plan to visit Summit County this winter to ski our amazing ski resorts or enjoy a multitude of other winter activities, you need to know about the Colorado Traction Law and be prepared for safe and LEGAL travel on Colorado highways and roads.
The Colorado Traction Law states:
During winter storms or when conditions require, CDOT will implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law. CDOT can implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction and Chain Laws on any state highway. During a Traction Law, all motorists are required to have EITHER:
- 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
- Chains or an approved alternative traction device
Living here in Summit County, we can tell you that closures on I-70 are all too common during snowy/icy weather and that traction laws are enacted daily, sometimes for an entire day, during snowstorms. We can also tell you that it’s sometimes a white-knuckle experience to be on the roads during a snowstorm, even with proper traction, so please do not attempt driving during inclement weather without taking precautions!
The BEST method is 4WD/AWD AND good tires! However, if you are flying in and renting a vehicle, a 4WD may not be available or it may cost prohibitive to rent one with current vehicle shortages. There are other traction devices besides chains on the market, many that are easier to use! Take at look at the links below.
HELPFUL TIP #1: We suggest buying a traction device, watch Youtube to learn how to use it, keep the devices in their original unopened package and hang on to the receipt. If you don’t use them while here, simply return when your vacation is over.
HELPFUL TIP #2: Before traveling, you can check the CDOT website for closures, conditions, traction laws, and live camera feeds for a real look at what the road ahead looks like.
Note: We are not endorsing, nor have we personally used any of the following devices and are not liable for your transportation. This information is merely provided so that you are aware of the Colorado Traction Law and help YOU be better informed about safe traveling and traction devices on the market that might benefit you while traveling Colorado roads and highways in the winter.
Luxe Living Vacation rentals has a Summit County property for almost any size group. Give us a call or email today to find a vacation home for your Breckenridge, Keystone or Dillon, Colorado vacation.
Up to Date for the 2021-2022 Winter Season
We tend to get the same questions from guests making their first visit to Breckenridge. We’re here to help to help with answers to the most common questions as well as things you didn’t know to ask! These helpful tips from Breckenridge locals will allow you to better focus on the magical parts of your ski vacation and minimize the hassles. Everything you need to know to maximize the fun and minimize the stress for your Breckenridge, Colorado ski trip is right here in one place.
Book Activities and Restaurant Reservations Early:
Breckenridge is a popular place! If you plan to fine dine (we highly recommend Hearthstone!), make dinner reservations in advance. Tubing and dog sledding will fill up so book those early as well. Tubing is available in Frisco, Keystone and Copper. Call Good Times Adventures for dog sledding.
Discounts on Lift Tickets:
Unfortunately, discounts do not exist. The only place to purchase lift tickets for Breckenridge Ski Resort is at the ticket window or Breckenridge.com. The least expensive option is online in advance. If you plan to spend more than a few days skiing, consider skiing only a half or quarter day for big savings. These options are not advertised online and can only be purchased day of at the ticket window.
Prepare for the High Altitude:
Don’t let altitude sickness spoil the first few days or, worst case, your entire ski vacation. You can prevent and alleviate the symptoms by increasing your water intake prior to arrival, keep water on hand and drink it every day during your stay, especially the first few days. Avoid alcohol, avoid activities that will make you sweat (don’t soak too long in the hot tub) and take it easy your first day. The cans of oxygen you will see around town are a waste of money. Increased fluid intake and avoidance of alcohol are key!
Traction, Traction, Traction:
You are headed to a high alpine environment where ice and snow are a regular part of daily winter life in the high country. The biggest impact is on the roadways. Know about the Colorado Chain Law. You MUST be prepared, not only for your safety and the safety of others, but to drive legally during a snowstorm. Your vehicle must have 4WD, chains or snow tires (note: snow tires are not the same as all-season tires). Don’t be that person who closes down I-70 because your spinning tires are blocking traffic or you caused an accident due to disregarding the chain law. One car without proper traction can have a detrimental effect on thousands of others traveling behind them on I-70. You can potentially ruin your ski vacation and put hundreds of others in danger. Check COTrip for current I-70 road conditions and closures.
If you rented a home with a description stating the 4WD or chains are required- please take that seriously. We will not be able to help you if you get stuck.
Your feet need traction as well! A simple walk down Main Street can result in a painful fall. Learn to walk like a penguin or pick up a pair of traction slip-ons for your footwear.
Tips for Beginner skiers:
The Breckenridge ski resort mountain is the biggest draw for winter-time visitors to this beautiful little mountain town. The powder and expansive terrain attracts skiers and riders from all over the world and even those who have never skied but want to give it a try. For first-time skiers or riders, ski or snowboard lessons are highly recommended and will greatly increase the odds for fun and success.
It might appear easy to glide down the hill on skis or board and while there are the natural athletic types who easily pick up any sport, most beginner skiers and riders will have a learning curve before they can zip down the mountain looking like the pro we all want to be.
So what is the best way to even begin to tackle that learning curve? No doubt, the answer is ski or snowboard lessons with an experienced instructor. Someone who can patiently guide you through every step of the process from locking in skis or boots, to maneuvering flat ground with equipment on, to loading and unloading the chairlift, and then finally tips on techniques for getting down the hill safely.
Depending on the group dynamics and individual budgets, first time skiers in Breckenridge have options for ski lessons, one of which we consider to be a Summit County best-kept secret, but this article is going to share that secret with you- keep reading!
Oftentimes in families or groups, some members have mountain experience while others are brand new or maybe need more practice. The Breckenridge ski school is a great option for such scenarios since ski school participants can be dropped off at the school ski bases on either Peak 8 or Peak 9 (we prefer the Peak 8 location), while the others who are ready can head out on their own, and every one is still at the same place to meet up at the end of the day.
At Breckenridge resort, group ski/ride lessons are available for ages 3 and up. Children’s ski school usually includes ski rentals. Private lessons for individuals or families are also available. The drawback, of course, for lessons at most big resorts, like Breck, is the cost. It might seem impossible for many families of first-time skiers to ever give the sport a try. This is where a little-known secret comes in…
Just 8 miles north on Highway 9, is the small but mighty Frisco Adventure Park. Most Breckenridge visitors will drive right past it on the way into Breckenridge on Highway 9. The tubing hill is very popular and visible from Highway 9. However, on the other side of the magic carpet is the gentle, intimidation-free Frisco Adventure Park Ski & Ride Hill.
The Frisco Ski & Ride Hill is accessed via a magic carpet. It has two wide trails with gentle descents and is uncrowded, even on holiday weekends. There are no overhead ski lifts with onlookers from above. The lodge is so close that trips to the bathroom, snacks, or warming-up breaks can be done frequently without a big hassle.
Tickets are wallet friendly at $40-45 each. Kids 4 and under can ski free on the Ski & Ride Hill with an adult who has purchased a ticket. The close-in parking makes getting that rented equipment from car to the hill an easier process as well. Rentals are not included, but are available in Breckenridge or Frisco.
In the past, kids ages 8 and older and adults can take a 2-hour lesson from a Copper Mountain professional ski instructor in a very small and intimate group allowing for one-on-one instruction and confidence building. This is not currently listed as available on their website for the 2021-2022 season but please check back.
The Frisco Ski/Ride Hill is set to open December 16, 2021. It will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays all season. The hill will be open 10am to dusk most days weather dependent. Reservations are required for ski or ride lessons.
Don’t think because it’s small, there won’t be great photo ops. The views from atop the Ski & Ride Hill overlooking the town of Frisco and the southern tip of the Gore Range are beautiful!
Whether you want to go big or small, ski lessons at both Breckenridge Ski Resort and Frisco Adventure Park are the way to go for first-time skiers.
Summit County has a store for everything you need for a ski vacation, items you forgot to pack or items you didn’t know you wanted or needed until after arrival. On the holidays or busy weekends, however, the Breckenridge City Market grocery store tends to get overcrowded resulting in a very hectic grocery shopping experience. During the busiest of times, some popular items will sell out until the next day’s delivery. If you’re traveling down I-70 into Summit County, take a short and easy 1- mile detour in Evergreen and stock up at the Walmart at 952 Swede Gulch Rd. You’ll find a larger selection. You can also stock up prior to leaving Denver.
If driving up from Texas, the City Market in Canon City or one of the two Walmart shopping centers in Pueblo are your best bets.
The only thing we do not recommend picking up outside the county is rental ski and ride equipment. Keep reading for more information on that.
Don’t rely on Instacart for grocery delivery in Summit County. Instacart workers are few and far between. This is why stopping prior to arrival in Summit County is a good idea.
Christy Sports has the closest locations in Breckenridge to the gondola and Peak 9. Boot comfort is essential for an enjoyable ski vacation so don’t skimp on renting quality equipment. Ill-fitting boots resulting in painful feet are not worth saving a few dollars. Renting locally also has the benefit of being able to exchange skis or boots that just don’t work well for you and the ability to store gear overnight instead of hauling it back and forth from the mountain to your vacation home.
Get your ski and ride gear ready the day before your first planned day on the mountain.
More on Ski/Ride Equipment:
You might own your own equipment, and it’s understandable if you have a great pair of comfortable boots you’d want to bring them along, but with cost soaring for checking over-sized bags, it might be more beneficial to leave your skis/board behind and rent while in town. You can also check costs on shipping rather than checking them on a flight. If you visit often, look into storing your gear here in town.
This year, Vail Resorts requires that all guests entering dining lodges have proof of vaccination, with the exception of using the restroom. If this does not apply to you and your family and the forecast on your ski day will be sunny and dry, pack a lunch and snacks and store it in a locker at the base (locker prices start at $10, not much more than the cost of one burger at a base restaurant). Walking boots and extra layers can also be stored in the locker. Alternatively, water and food can be packed in a backpack. If you have an Epic Pass, don’t forget to have the employee scan your pass at checkout when you dine on the mountain to receive a 20% discount!
Ski Base Storage:
There is no easy way to carry skis and poles! Overnight ski storage is available at the bases of Peak 8 and Peak 9. Take your boots back to your vacation rental to keep them warm, but store the skis (for a fee, of course) to save yourself some of the awkwardness of carrying skis and poles. If you rent from Christy Sports or another local retailer in town, ask if they offer overnight ski storage.
Most of the parking in Breckenridge is paid parking. You can download the Passport app and pay on your phone when you park or at the kiosk. Know your license plate number so you don’t have to run back to your car! When possible, always use the Breck Free Ride or Summit Shuttle. Even if you plan to park in the gondola lot or parking garage, you will have to pay for parking and make the trek from your parking spot to the gondola. If you take a shuttle to Peak 8 or 9, you will get dropped off close in and have maybe 50 yards of walking and no parking fees.
There are several employee parking lots in the downtown core that are often mistaken for free parking. Read signage carefully wherever you park. Please do not displace local employees and park in their spots which will result in a parking ticket as well as public scorn.
Maybe not everyone in your group wants to hit the slopes or maybe one day of your ski vacation entails weather or snow conditions that aren’t ideal for the best experience. There are countless other things to do even in the winter in Breckenridge. Both indoor and outdoor non-skiing activities are available in Summit County!
Fast & Easy Meals Out:
There are dozens of delicious places to eat on Breckenridge Main Street, but if you’re super tired at the end of a ski day and don’t want to cook a meal in your vacation home, a quick and easy restaurant stop without the crowds and parking hassle might be the way to go. The City Market shopping center on Park Avenue offers 3 choices with easy and free parking: The City Market Deli, Soupz On, or Windy City Pizza (not just pizza, they also have a $5 breakfast and other menu items later in the day). All yummy and rated thumbs up by our staff.
Plastic bags are not available at City Market locations and Walmart in Summit County. Our guests are all provided a free Luxe Living re-usable bag and a Breckenridge re-usable bag. We also recommend packing some for easier grocery shopping.
Our Luxe Living staff skis and rides the mountain on a regular basis all winter. Our goal is to help our guests feel like they have friends in town. Here are some of our personal favorite tips and tricks to make the most of your time and help you have the very best Breckenridge ski vacation.
- Wear a pair of thin liners under your gloves. This makes taking photos easy as well as preventing hands from freezing if you have to remove gloves to adjust goggles or face mask. Bonus bonus tip: Snip the thumb off the liner on your dominant thumb and forefinger liner. Don’t skimp on glove quality- get some good ones!
- Dress in layers in case you get too warm.
- Pick one or two peaks that you suit your skill level and interest and stay there for the day rather than wasting time traversing the mountain.
- Have one person in the group carry a backpack with food and water.
- Pack tissues in your pockets. A runny nose is inevitable in the cold.
- Drink water.
- Wear sunscreen.
Luxe Living truly wants our guests to have an amazing Summit County experience. We can always be reached for questions at (970) 968-8005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the summer, Keystone offers a low-key mountain experience, away from the hustle and bustle you will find in Breck and Frisco. One of the best-kept-secrets in Summit County is the stretch of Rec Path that runs alongside the Snake River from Summit Cove (south Dillon) to Keystone Village. The scenery is beautiful, the path peaceful and uncrowded. Stop at Keystone Village for a bite to eat or paddle boating on the small lake.
Drive further south to Montezuma for great trails such as Peru Creek or Webster Pass, especially if you have a 4WD.
On-mountain summer activities such as gondola rides, horseback riding, golf, bike rental, SUP and more are available at Keystone Resort.
Visit the Dillon Marina for SUP, kayak, canoe and pontoon boat rentals or to catch a ride on the Summit Water Taxi.
- Arapahoe Café – Great BBQ, nice bar, outside seating, in Dillon right on the lake.
- Cala Pub – Good burgers, fish & chips, deviled eggs and salads. Nice deck to sit out on in the summer
- Dos Locos – Casual and fun Mexican
- Snake River Saloon and Steakhouse – Great steaks. Bands in the bar at night. Great chocolate cake.
- Keystone Ranch – A favorite for special-occasion dinners. Plan to stay for desserts and drinks by the fireplace after dinner.
- Ski Tip Ranch – Best of the Summit award winner year after year. A special place for special occasions. The Ski Tip Ranch is the original homestead for the Dercum family, founders of A-Basin and Keystone Ski Resorts.
- Kickapoo Tavern – Mountain atmosphere in River Run at Keystone Village.
Just up the road from Keystone is an easy and short drive to Dillon. On the shore of Lake Dillon, you’ll find one of the most beautiful music venues in the state of Colorado, the Dillon Amphitheater. The Summer 2021 concert lineup is as follows:
Summer 2021 Dillon Amphitheater Paid Shows:
July 8, Brothers Osborn, $35
July 13-14, String Cheese Incident, $74.99
July 23-25, American Music Legacy Festival, single day $35.
July 30, Fruition with special guest Mipson, $19
Aug 1, Tedeschl Trucks/Fireside Live, $55
Aug 6, Shakey Graves, $35
Aug 11, Melissa Etheridge, $29-59
Aug 13, Black Pumas, $45
Aug 14, Galactic, $29
Summer 2021 Dillon Amphitheater Free Shows:
July 6, Sages & Spirits, Grateful Dead All Star Revue
July 9, Joan Osborne
July 10, National Repertory Orchestra
July 16, Andry Frasco & The UN
July 17, Devotchka
July 31, Robert Earl Keen
Aug 7, MarchFourth
Aug 20, Local Artist Showcase
Aug 21, Reggae Night
The Colorado Luxe Living Rentals staff lives, works and plays in Summit County. We are your number one source for activity information during your stay with us. Please give us a call, email or text at any time for the best insider tips.
Most everyone knows that Breckenridge is famous for skiing and snowboarding, but do you know about all of the FREE activities in Breckenridge? Yes- FREE! Everything listed below comes highly recommended by the Colorado Luxe Living staff and is absolutely FREE!
The Breckenridge Troll: Isak the Troll was sadly removed from his original post in Breckenridge on Nov 15, 2018, but is now at a new home just off the Illinois Gulch Trail near the ice rink on Boreas Pass Road. This beloved 15-foot tall troll is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
The Breckenridge Gondola: Step aboard the best “amusement park” ride in Summit County, the BreckConnect Gondola. In the solitude of your own gondola cabin, you will be treated to a very quiet and peaceful bird’s eye view of the Ten Mile Range, the entire town of Breckenridge, Baldy Mountain, and the mountain range to the east of Summit County. As the gondola glides over the Cucumber Gulch, be sure to look for moose as this is one of their protected areas. If you want to unboard at the top at the base of Peak 8, you can enjoy a drink at the T-Bar where the sun is almost always shining on the large patio. In the summer, Epic Discovery has a variety of activities such as the alpine slide, ziplines and the Gold Run coaster.
The gondola runs 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day during ski season, summer and early fall too (closed May to mid June and after Labor Day until opening day of ski season). The gondola stops running if lightening is within a 2-mile radius. Each cabin carries 8 passengers, rises 391 vertical feet, and takes approximately 23 minutes to complete one loop up and back down the mountain. Ride once or multiple times- it’s always FREE and your doggie can ride too.
Breckenridge Creative Arts: Breck Create provides performances, exhibitions, workshops and other opportunities at the Breckenridge Historic District as well as public gathering spaces throughout Breckenridge, most of which are free. To see what events are taking place during your Breckenridge stay, check out the Breck Create Calendar.
Easy Hikes for the Whole Family: Sapphire Point is more of a Summit County landmark, but included on our Easy Hikes list. This spectacular spot is on a very short, flat and wide trail that can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, summer or winter. The resident wildlife love to be hand fed so pack a black of sunflower seeds for your visit. Other than birds and squirrels, never feed any other wildlife to help keep them healthy and alive.
Directions to Sapphire Point: From Breckenridge, go south on Hwy 9 towards Frisco. At the intersection of Hwy 9 and Swan Mountain Road, turn right and head up Swan Mountain Pass. Follow the road uphill for approximately 1.8 miles to the parking area on your left.
Boreas Pass Road: One of the most scenic drives in the state, Boreas Pass will take you past the Highline Railroad Park, the outdoor Sawmill Museum, through an aspen tree tunnel, and to the best overlooks in the area….just to name a few of the sights along the way. In non-winter months, you can drive all the way to the summit and visit relics from our mining history with interpretive signs for learning about the history of Breckenridge.
Free Museums & Exhibits: There are numerous free museums and fun exhibits in the town of Breckenridge. Here are our favorites:
Summit Ski Exhibit: This exhibit celebrates the first 100 years of skiing in Summit County. See a ski documentary filmed by local experts, vintage equipment and clothing, and learn about the famous 10th Mountain Division. 308-B S. Main Street.
Washington Gold & Silver Mine: Located at 465 Illinois Gulch Road just off Boreas Pass Road. Guided tours are available through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, but visitors can respectfully wander the area for free and admire the relics from our area’s rich mining history.
Highline Railroad Park: On the right just after turning onto Boreas Pass Road, you’ll find a cute and interesting park that kids and grownups alike will love and enjoy. This is a great spot for fun Breckenridge photo ops.
Carter Park and Dog Park: Located four blocks east of Main Street in Breckenridge in downtown, Carter Park includes a winter sledding hill along with the fully fenced dog park, a covered patio with views of the Ten Mile Range, heated restrooms, and the Breckenridge Elementary playground.
Breckenridge Distillery: The distillery offers a walk around of their facilities with complimentary tastings of their spirits. They also offer a FREE shuttle to/from one of their two locations in Breckenridge. More Information: http://www.breckenridgedistillery.com/tours/
Breckenridge Welcome Center: In the heart of downtown Breckenridge at 203 S. Main Street next to the Blue River Plaza. Part information center, part historical museum, the Welcome Center provides visitors information on everything from dining and shopping to activities in and around Breckenridge. Explore some interpretive displays while there.
Dillon Range District Ski Ranger Tours: Vail Resorts partners with the Dillon Ranger District to provide free ski tours than start at the end of December through the end of March each ski season. Trained Ski Rangers will lead skiers down a beginner/intermediate run, periodically stopping to provide educational tidbits about the geography and history. These tours are 1-hour long and require participants to have a valid lift ticket and intermediate skiing or riding ability. No pre-registration required.
Mountain Orientation Tours: During the winter season, guest service volunteers provide free tours of Breckenridge Ski Resort for guests with intermediate or above skiing abilities. The Mountain Orientation Tours departs from the base of Peak 8 at the Colorado SuperChair or at Beaver Run SuperChair on Peak 9 each morning promptly at 9:30 am (arrive at 9:15 am). Each tour is considered a “Familiarization Tour” of the mountain and last between 1-1/2 to 3 hours.
Most of all, the most amazing thing about Breckenridge is always FREE!- the mountain atmosphere and views from anywhere in town, a stroll down Main Street, the countless hiking, biking, and walking trails, and magnificent star gazing at night. There are miles and miles of rec path that run riverside straight through Breckenridge and onto other parts of Summit County. No matter the season, the sights and sounds of the Blue River are always good for the mind and soul.
The Colorado Luxe Living Rentals staff lives, works and plays in Summit County. We are you best source for all the insider tips to help you live like a local while in town. Please give us a call or text at (970) 968-8005 or email email@example.com today.
There are countless outdoor activities in Summit County for all ages and activity levels. It might be overwhelming, leaving you feeling like you can’t get it all in during your time here. Don’t rely on a travel blogger to give you this information. Our staff lives and works here in Summit. When our own family and friends visit, we want to show them the best our mountains have to offer and here are our Top 10 Summit County summer activities for 2021.
- Summit Water Taxi: A hidden gem activity that you may not even hear about. Board the Summit Water Taxi at either the Frisco or Dillon Marina. Make a one-way or round trip across the beautiful blue waters of Lake Dillon.
- Vail Pass Bike Shuttle: The most beautiful stretch of rec path in the county is one that almost any ability level can enjoy. A shuttle will take your group and the bikes to the summit of Vail Pass. From there it’s an easy 14-mile ride almost entirely downhill, a gentle decent that allows riders to enjoy the incredible views and stop for perfect photo ops.
- Gondola Rides: The gondolas are open in both Breckenridge and Keystone. The Breckenridge Gondola is free. The Keystone Gondola is $33 for adults and $20 for children. Both offer beautiful views, but the Keystone Gondola offers a more panoramic scene when it reaches the top of Dercum Mountain at 11,640 feet.
- Sapphire Point: The most scenic overlook in Summit County is easily accessible, even to those who want to see it from a wheelchair or other non-motorized support. The overlook faces west across Lake Dillon toward the Ten Mile Range. Be sure to take a bag of sunflower seeds! The Sapphire Point residents will demand to be fed! Sapphire Point is on our Easy Hikes list, but truly is more of a stroll than a hike.
- Isak the Troll: Too huge and lovable to be missed! Isak the Troll sits at the end of the Trollstigen Trail in Breckenridge at the far upper left corner of the ice rink parking lot. The trail is short and sweet and easily accessible for almost anyone.
- SUP, kayak or canoe on Lake Dillon: Rent your choice of watercraft (including pontoon boats) at either the Frisco or Dillon Marina. The cost is affordable and the experience is priceless.
- Main Street Shopping: Both Breckenridge and Frisco have world-class Main Streets with one-of-a-kind shops, casual and fine dining, photo ops and beautiful mountain backdrops. While Breckenridge has a longer Main Street and a larger number of businesses, Frisco’s Main Street is easier to access with fewer crowds. Visit both if time allows.
- Scenic Drives and Overlooks: From Breckenridge, go east on Boreas Pass Rd and drive up as far as you’d like to go- in the summer you can drive all the way to Fairplay. Boreas Pass starts near the ice rink in Breckenridge where you’ll also find the High Line Railroad Park (fun for all ages with photo ops galore). Drive just a bit further down Boreas Pass and find the outdoor Sawmill museum. As you climb further up Baldy Mountain on Boreas Pass, you’ll come upon some beautiful overlooks of the town of Breckenridge and the Ten Mile Range. The higher up, the better the views. Find even more relics and learn about Breckenridge mining history with the interpretive signs.
- Picnic on the Blue: Pack your own or get takeout from one of the many restaurants in Summit County and find a quiet spot along the Blue River. There are numerous picnic tables and giant boulders that make great spots for a family picnic while enjoying the soothing sounds of the Blue River.
- Rafting: Just look at the photos and you’ll see huge smiles on everyone’s faces. Choose a mild float trip or a thrilling white water adventure. The guides at Performance Tours will take care of your group every splash of the way.
Our staff is always happy to any questions and share tips about Summit County with our guests. We want our guests to feel like they have a friend in town. Book one of our properties for your Summit County stay today or give us a call at (970) 968-8005.
Best Easy Hikes in Summit County
Even the die-hard hikers may enjoy an easy hike now and then, but especially for families and groups, easy hikes are fun for everyone. Here are our favorites:
Near Copper Mountain is a beautiful and fun hiking trail for Summit County visitors. The slight and very gradual elevation gain is what puts it on the easy list. With most hikes on any favorites list, there are big rewards at the end on the Mayflower Gulch trail. The trailhead can be found just off Highway 91 west of Breckenridge and Frisco. This out and back trail is dog friendly, wide, and also passable with a Jeep or ATV. Teasers for the end-of-trail reward start to pop up along the way in, peeking through the trees as well as smaller bits of mining ruins. Mayflower Gulch is a great hiking trail year round. Strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis for visit in the winter months.
What remains at present day of a lucrative gold mining dredge that sunk in 1922 is an amazing sight to see. See it before it sinks and is gone forever! The Reiling Dredge was added to Colorado’s Most Endangered Places list in 2014. Cables were attached to the dredge in 2012 to keep it from sinking. For a beautiful and quiet hike through the woods that ends with a great piece of Breckenridge history, don’t miss the Reiling Dredge trail.
Drive west on Wellington Road just off Main Street in Breck. Follow Wellington until it dead ends at a stop sign at the intersection with Reiling and French Gulch roads. Turn right onto French Gulch Road and follow it down to the B&B trailhead parking area on the right. Read more about the Reiling Dredge history here.
You just can’t go wrong with this choice on the easy hikes list. A popular trail so easy and family friendly that it is also handicap accessible. The Sapphire Point trail is not only on the easy hikes list, but is also a not-to-be-missed Summit County attraction. The views overlooking Lake Dillon, the Ten Mile Range and the Gore Range are some of the best you’ll see anywhere in the county.
Go north on Highway 9 towards Frisco. Turn right onto Swan Mountain Road. When you reach the peak of the short Swan Mountain pass, the parking area for Sapphire Point will be on the left.
Be sure to pack some sunflower seeds. The Sapphire Point residents will demand to be fed by all visitors!
Photo at top of page: Sallie Barber mining ruins with a view of the Gore Range in the background
Bits and pieces of Breckenridge’s rich mining history are scattered all throughout the town. The Sallie Barber trail is another great Breckenridge hike that ends with the fun reward of exploring some of that history. The hike in is a gradual ascent with the beauty of the surrounding peaceful woods. Out and back is an easy 2.8 miles round trip or you can go beyond the end of the Sallie Barber trail to other trails that branch and lead to the B&B trailhead system mentioned above under the Reiling Dredge hike.
Colorado Luxe Living Rentals strives to ensure our guests feel like they have a personal friend here in town to show them around. Answering questions regarding activities or recommendations of any kind is part of our job along with providing a high-quality lodging experience.
The Breckenridge Gondola is a favorite attraction among visitors and locals alike. Operating since 2006, the Breckenridge Gondola transports passengers to the base of Peak 8 in the Rocky Mountains. The gondola is quite a transportation device, with 121 fully enclosed baskets (cabins) rotating up the incline.
Each of these cabins can seat a max of 8 guests, making the Breckenridge Gondola an ideal attraction for large families, skiers with a load of equipment, or cyclists with their mountain bikes in tow. Furry family members are welcome aboard too! Unlike a ski lift, riders are fully enclosed, making this a great option for families with small, high-energy children. Once inside the gondola, riders can look out the large windows and take in the surrounding views upon ascent up the mountain. Look for moose and bald eagles below and enjoy the ride of a lifetime!
Breckenridge Gondola Hours of Operation:
The Breckenridge Gondola is open for the 2021 Summer Season and operates daily from 7:45am to 5:30pm. The gondola does not run at all in May or October.
The Breckenridge Gondola is located conveniently close to downtown, a short 1-2 minute walk from Main Street. Almost all of downtown Breckenridge is located within 7 blocks, within easy walking distance. The main parking lot for the gondola is the North Gondola Lot on Park Avenue Road (just drive down Park Avenue- you can’t miss the gondola and the parking lot!).
In the event of inclement weather (high winds or lightening), the gondola may cease operation during normal business hours. For more information on the Breckenridge Gondola, please call 970-453-5000
The Gondola is FREE for all riders. Dogs can ride free too.
The North Gondola and the South Gondola lots are paid parking year round. The parking garage is currently under construction on the South Lot. There is free parking on Airport Road and at the Ice Rink on Boreas Pass Road with free shuttle service from both locations to the gondola.
The best part about the Breckenridge Gondola it that the ride is completely free of charge to all guests! This makes it the only fully free lift service in the surrounding area.
The Gondola Ride
The Breckenridge gondola stretches 7,592 feet long with over 391 feet vertical rise. Once you’re on the Breckenridge Gondola, it will take 13 minutes to travel from the bottom at Park Avenue to the base of Peak 8. There are three stations to unboard along the way (the first for Shock Hill residents/guests only, the second for Peak 7, and the third for the base of Peak 8 restaurants, ski lifts, and Epic Discovery (summer season only). You do not have to unboard; you can just enjoy the ride up and back down. The round trip will take you approximately 26 minutes and the breathtaking views are definitely worth the time! The views include a panoramic landscape of the Ten Mile Range (home of Breckenridge Ski Resort). The ride passes directly over the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve. These protected grounds host animals such as bald eagles, moose, and fox, which you might be able to spot from the Breckenridge Gondola!
For guests who do not depart Peak 8 until after the gondola stops running for the day, transportation back to downtown is available via the Breck Free Ride Black Route. The shuttle stop is just below the gondola on Ski Hill Road.
Breckenridge Gondola Restaurant Options
Sevens Restaurant is located close by at the base of Peak 7, the second of 3 stations the gondola passes on its way up to Peak 8. Appetizer specials are an option and the views are amazing!
The last stop on the Breckenridge Gondola is at Peak 8, which offers a variety of activities, as well as a variety of mountain restaurants. The Ski Hill Grill is located at the base of Peak 8 and has classic American fare. Fuel up with some homemade BBQ, hamburgers, and hot dogs, and warm up with a hot toddy at the adjacent bar. Enjoy many house-made menu items, including everything from cookies to from-scratch soups. The Salad Station features local Olive Fusion infused oils and the new Taqueria Station features many favorites from the T-Bar. Be sure to try the Epic Mountain Burger!
For more information on the Breckenridge Gondola, please call 970-453-5000 or go to www.Breckenridge.com.
Lodging in Breckenridge
After a day on the slopes and a fun adventure on the Breckenridge Gondola, head back to your Colorado Luxe Living vacation home. There are 1-5 bedroom options and locations from mountaintop to downtown. We can’t wait to see you in Breckenridge!
About the Author: Kristi Stanford lives and works in the high-altitude town she loves most, Breckenridge, Colorado. She manages the Luxe Living Rentals Breckenridge office and creates content for several locally-owned Summit County small businesses.
Odds are high that most visitors to Breckenridge will have one activity in particular on their fun-things-to-do list, and that will be to visit Isak the Troll in his new location following his resurrection in May 2019.
Who knew a giant wooden troll would create such controversy that ended in his beheading? Isak Heartstone was built with tender love but no forethought into his location as a temporary piece of art for the Breckenridge Arts Festival in August 2018. Only weeks after his debut to the public, Isak’s enormous popularity resulted in traffic jams, illegal parking, and neighborhood trespassing.
After some back-and-forth decision making, Isak met his demise when he was sadly removed in a swift and piece mill fashion on November 15, 2018. Thomas Dambo, the artist who built Isak and thousands of his fans expressed outrage of Isak’s removal on social media.
Isak’s deconstructed remains went into storage in a secret location. Afterwards, a committee was assembled by town council to determine Isak’s fate. A great deal of research, polling, and discussion over the next 3 months ensued to ensure Isak’s new location would come with a sense of adventure yet be easily accessible to people of all ages and abilities while not disturbing any nearby residents. A mind to educating his visitors about care for our beloved environment was incorporated into the plans for his re-birth.
In early March 2019, the new location for Isak’s future home (near the Breckenridge ice skating rink, see map below) was announced along with outlines of why other locations were ruled out. The committee has also implemented plans to ensure that those who visit the troll do so in a responsible and sustainable manner (leave no trace, trail etiquette, etc.). Visitor behavior and travel patterns are closely monitored to ensure sustainability.
Isak’s reconstruction took place in May 2019. The site and trail are open for visitors with a user-friendly path.
Directions: There are several ways to find Isak the Troll from downtown Breckenridge.
- Take the free bus or the trolley to the ice rink on Boreas Pass Road. The Trollstigen Trail is in the far left corner of ice rink parking lot to the left (west) of the ice rink.
- Walk from downtown to the ice rink and find the Trollstigen Trail to the left of the ice rink in the upper left-hand corner of the parking lot.
- Drive to the ice rink on Boreas Pass Road. Park in the lot to the left of the ice rink and find the Trollstigen Trail in the upper left-hand corner of the parking lot.
There are some other easy trails in the area which you are free to explore, but always stay on the trail.
When you visit Isak, please be mindful of these important guidelines:
- LEAVE NO TRACE! This means leaving no evidence behind that you were ever there. No trash. Always stay on the trail.
- NO CLIMBING ON ISAK. Isak will not last long if visitors climb on him. We want to keep him around as long as possible, so “Be Kind, Do Not Climb.”
- DOGS MUST BE ON A LEASH. Trolls do not like to be peed on.
- NO DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEOGRAPHY. Per town ordinance, drone use is prohibited.
- USE CAUTION IN WINTER. The trail can be very slippery.
The crown jewel of Summit County, the Dillon Reservoir (also known as Lake Dillon) is home to the world’s highest deep-water marina in Dillon, Colorado. Views of the lake from Highway 9 cannot be missed upon the short drive from Frisco to Breckenridge. Don’t miss visiting the shores to round out your Summit County experience and bask in the beauty of the blue waters of Lake Dillon.
The easiest way to fully experience Lake Dillon is via the Summit Shuttle, a water taxi that transports guests across the lake back and forth from the Dillon and Frisco Marinas. Water taxi riders can travel one way from either marina or take a round trip from either marina. The Summit Shuttle can even be part of a full day adventure with a bike ride from one marina to another, lunch and/or drinks at the Frisco Marina, and water taxi back across. Both bikes and dogs are welcome aboard for an additional $3 fee. Call or text 970-389-9336 to book a ride.
One-way trips are $8 for kids 0-12 and $15 for adults. Round trips are $15 for kids 0-12 and $25 for adults.
While adventure seekers love Summit County for its countless outdoor activities, the Summit Shuttle water taxi provides post-activity relaxation that cannot be beat. There simply is not a more relaxing outdoor adventure than sitting aboard the gently rocking vessel while enjoying the phenomenal views of Lake Dillon and the beautiful mountain backdrop, especially on an evening excursion as the sun is dropping behind a mountain silhouette. The shuttle captain offers an interesting narrative along the way about the history and ownership of the lake, its uses, as well as tidbits about the surrounding mountain ranges.
As if the water cruise itself is not enough, the wildlife sightings make it even better! The Summit Shuttle includes a swing by the island where enormous nesting platforms were built back in 1995 to aid in conservation of endangered osprey. In recent years, a Bald Eagle family has taken over the area, reigning over their island with the majesty for which our national bird is known. Moose, muskrats, and many other bird species among other wildlife might also be spotted on a Summit Shuttle ride.
The sun will set on the 2021 Summit Shuttle season in late September. Combine this adventure with the Top 10 Summer Activities for your Summit County vacation. Luxe Living Rentals has a variety of private homes, cabins, and townhomes for your Summit County lodging needs and has all the insider tips you need to make the most of your Rocky Mountain vacation