Mary Beth Skylis: Top 5 Hikes in Breckenridge, Colorado
by Mary Beth Skylis
The town of Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s many gems. It boasts 4-season recreation, with tons of trailheads. The overall emphasis on outdoor activities makes it a hub for not only skiing and snowboarding, but also for hiking, snow shoeing, and ice climbing. Both the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail have access points within a few miles of the town. There’s a Sled Dog company (http://snowcapssleddogs.com) that hosts tours. And the local shops and businesses make sure that everyone in your group will have something fun to do.
As a long-distance backpacker, I’m particularly drawn to the trail network in Breckenridge. There are hundreds of miles of trails that take you to lakes, vistas, and more spectacular locations. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite hikes in the area. They’re of varying difficulty and length. And some of them have connecting trails so you could make them longer hikes if you so desired.
1. Hoosier Pass- 3 mile loop.
But the connecting trails make the distance of this hike somewhat flexible. Drive south on U.S. to the top of Hoosier Pass. There’s a dirt parking lot on the right-hand side.
2. Quandary Peak- Not for the faint-hearted.
Reaching 14,265 feet, climbing Quandary is quite strenuous. The Quandary Peak Trailhead is just a little bit North of Hoosier Pass on U.S. 9. Roundtrip, this hike is 6.75 miles
3. Spruce Creek Loop- 4 mile loop.
The Spruce Creek Loop boasts great views. It’s an overall gentle hike. Head south on U.S. 9 for about 2.5 miles and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road. The trailhead is about a mile up the road.
4. The Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail goes both West and East. Both hikes will be challenging. You can hike to Copper Mountain (12 miles west) and take the public shuttle back to Breckenridge for free. Or hike an out and back. There’s a trailhead on the left hand side of U.S. 9 about a mile north of Tiger Road.
5. Mohawk Lakes- 5 mile hike.
The Mohawk Lakes hike has spectacular lake views and is known for year-round vistas. Head South on U.S. 9 for about 1.2 miles.
The elevation change is no joke. If you’re coming from out of town, make sure to spend some time acclimating. Drink a lot of water. And don’t commit to an extended hike if you’re not sure how you react to high elevations. Altitude sickness is very real and potentially deadly. Elevations range from 8200 feet to 13604. If you’re not a high-country dweller, be careful at these heights. Drink a lot of water. Altitude sickness is very real and can be life threatening.
Prepare for high winds and chilly temps. Bring layers, and lots of water. These elevations can keep snow around long into the Summer, so make sure to over-prepare.
A number of local outdoors shops rent any kind of gear you might need in the backcountry.
Town of Breckenridge Highlights
Breckenridge Brewery $$$
The Collumbine (Breakfast) $$
Empire Burger $$
Soupz On $
The town itself has some really great food options and lovely shopping venues. There are several delivery options but the town closes down relatively early, so make sure to plan ahead.
Parking in the town of Breckenridge is difficult. If you’re visiting for the day, this isn’t a huge issue. But if you’re planning on being around for a couple, make sure you get lodging with parking passes or try to take a shuttle into town instead of bringing your wheels. The Transit system makes it easy to get around. You could potentially leave your car in Frisco and take the bus to Breckenridge.
What can I do in or near Breckenridge, Colorado?
Ride the Gondola for Free
Go on a Sled Dog Tour
Breckenridge Camping & Lodging
There are a lot of Air BnB options in Breckenridge for a relatively affordable price. Hotel options will be pricier. If you’re working on a budget, there’s a lot of public land near Breckenridge. Just be wary of overnight parking options.
Final Thoughts about Breckenridge
Breckenridge is one of the most beautiful, colorful mountain towns in Colorado. But in addition to the allure of the town, the surrounding mountains create one of the greatest outdoor recreation hubs in the state.
Mary Beth "Mouse" Skylis is a long-distance backpacker and freelance writer in the Denver, Colorado area. She specializes in personal narratives, gear reviews and adventure stories. Follow her on Instagram @maryskylis