Hiking in Breckenridge is a favorite summer activity for visitors and locals alike. You can see wildflowers, encounter wildlife, enjoy captivating vistas, and simply take in the quiet of the wilderness. Breckenridge offers a wealth of trails that are easy to access either from town or within a short driving distance. Here are a few of our favorites.
This trail is a moderate trail that starts out easy, but has a fairly steep climb toward the end. It is an out and back trail that covers about 5 miles total. Access the trail from Spruce Creek Road off of Highway 9 in Blue River. You can start at the Spruce Creek Trailhead, or if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle you can continue on the road to the Mohawk Lakes Trailhead. This trail passes through stunning meadows of wildflowers, past historic cabins and other mining remnants, and ends at two pristine alpine lakes. This day hike will allow you to see everything Colorado wilderness has to offer in a few short miles. For more information about the hike, visit the Hiking Project.
Sallie Barber Mine
Mining was an essential part of Breckenridge’s beginnings. The Sallie Barber Mine operated from 1880-1911, with a brief reopening to extract zinc during WWI. In 2.9 miles you can get to the Sallie Barber Mine site and back to the trailhead. The trail continues past the mine if you want a longer hike. Start at the French Gulch Trailhead at the end of French Gulch Road. This trail is an easy and fun hike to start with if you are acclimating to the altitude or hiking with kids. ProTrails.com offers detailed information about the hike.
One of Colorado’s most thrilling hiking experiences is to summit a 14er. You don’t have to be an expert hiker to summit Quandary Peak. This trail is easily accessible and the hike does not require any extra mountaineering equipment to reach the summit. The trailhead is located off of Highway 9, south of Breckenridge, before reaching Hoosier Pass. You will see a large parking lot near the trailhead. The roundtrip hike is 6.75 miles and has a total elevation gain 3450 ft. If you are visiting Breckenridge, you will want to work up to this hike, with hikes that have a lower elevation gain. Be sure to get started early in the morning so that you can avoid being caught above treeline during an afternoon thunderstorm.
As you head out on your hikes it is important to know a few things about hiking in the high country. Weather can change in a matter of minutes. Dress in layers, and bring a rain jacket. If you start early in the morning you may even want to have a hat and gloves with you. At 9,000 ft. or higher the sun is intense. Whether it is cloudy or not, put on plenty of sunscreen; wear a hat that protects your face, ears and neck; and wear sunglasses. Bring along plenty of water. As you gain elevation, you need to stay hydrated. Bring a granola bar or other energy packed snack. Even a short hike can stir up hunger, and a wrong turn or emergency situation can lead to a long day. Try not to go out alone, but if you do, tell someone your planned route and when you think you will return. Hiking in Breckenridge is an excellent way to get off the beaten path and experience the mountains more intimately. For more information about trails, stop into the White River National Forest ranger station in Dillon, or the Visitor Center in Breckenridge.
Hiking Photo by Liam Doran, Courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office