You don’t have to look far to find stunning wildflowers in and around Breckenridge. Easy, short day hikes will reward you greatly, whether they are through alpine meadows, along streams, or through aspen or conifer forests, you will find some of Colorado’s most iconic flowers. Be on the look out for columbine, fireweed, paintbrush, blue gentian, wild roses, lupine, and more.
Black Powder Pass
Black Powder Pass is a high alpine trail. You can access it at the top of Boreas Pass. The Boreas Pass road is open to cars during the summer. Black Powder Pass is a short mile and a half out and back trail that goes through a high alpine meadow. This trail is ideal in late July and August and is bursting with high alpine flowers in all directions.
The Lower Flume Trail
This trail follows Highway 9 just north of town. You can find the trailhead at the Summit County building near the 7-11. The trail is an out and back trail that is 1.6 miles one way. It has an elevation gain of only 66 feet. Close to town, this is an ideal quick morning hike that will help you acclimate to the altitude. It is also a trail that will dry out earlier in the summer than other, higher trails.
The Moonstone Trail is a trail that starts out of Carter Park. The trail is out and back for a total of .8 miles and only 190 feet elevation gain. This easy trail is an ideal trail to start on if you are just adjusting to the elevation. It meanders through woods, so you will encounter the kind of wildflowers that like to grow in moist and shady places.
Crystal Lake Trail
There are several Crystal Lake Trails throughout the area. This Crystal Lake Trail begins at the top of Hoosier Pass. Take Highway 9 south, there is a parking lot at the top of the pass. Follow the trail at the parking lot, then head toward the north side of the mountain. This trail wanders through beautiful high alpine meadows and arrives at a stunning lake. Later in the summer is the best time for this trail because it can be covered in snow or very wet from snow melt in June. It is a short, flat hike to the lake. You can hike back the way you came or take a steep incline on the other side of the lake to make the trail a loop.
If you are new to hiking you can check out the Breckenridge Recreation Center’s guided hikes. These guided hikes will introduce you to new trails, teach about the wildlife, and trees and flowers along the trail. The hikes are for people 6 years old and up and range from easy to moderate. They cost $15. You can see a full schedule of the hikes on the Breckenridge Recreation website. These hikes are perfect to get you started and give you the confidence you need to go out on your own.
For more information about trails in the Breckenridge area check out the Hiking Project. It includes maps, descriptions, mileage, elevation gain, and difficulty, so you can research and find the best trails for your skills and abilities. Wildflowers of Colorado is an excellent resource to help you identify what you have seen, or help you know what to look for. Get out and enjoy this unique alpine environment that only Colorado mountains have to offer.
Paintbrush photo by Jessie Unruh, courtesy of the Breckenridge Tourism Office