Top 10 hikes in Breckenridge
There are really only three things you need to know to complete the top 10 hikes in Breckenridge: start early; bring fuel and water; and layer.
The rest is a given. Will there be stunning views? Of course. Wildflowers? Yep. Aspen groves? Totally. Will the altitude bother me? Not a lot, unless you’re a super human athlete or happen to live at 9,000 feet above sea level.
But those essential three rules? They’re no joke, even on the easy stuff.
Start early because thunderstorms tend to roll in post-lunch, bringing with them lightning, which you don’t want to experience unprotected above treeline (or at all); bring lots of fuel and water because staying hydrated and fed keeps things fun; wear several layers because mountain weather changes in a flash and it can go from an 80-degree sunny day to a tempest in a matter of minutes (seriously, pack a hat and gloves).
Looking for someone to tell you where to go? Take a guided hike on Breckenridge mountain to see it in a different way.
Got it? Good. Now here’s where to go:
- Hoosier Pass Loop
Get there: Head south on U.S. 9 from Breckenridge to the top of Hoosier Pass and park at the Continental Divide sign on the right side of the road.
This three-mile loop delivers an alpine experience without having to huff up to and beyond tree line.
- Spruce Creek Loop
Get there: Drive south on U.S. 9 from Breckenridge for about 2.5 miles and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road. Look for a trailhead at about 1.2 miles.
A popular cross-country ski trail in the winter, the Spruce Creek loop is a gentle four miles of trail through forest that offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
- Carter Park
Get there: This hike heads out of Carter Park, located in downtown Breckenridge, located at 300 S. High St.
You probably won’t work up a sweat, but your heart will race at the views as you you’re your way op the stone steps from Carter Park. You’ll see the entire Tenmile Range and Breckenridge Ski Resort.
- Sawmill Trail
Get there: Head to the Snowflake Lift, near the intersection of Four O’Clock Road and Kings Crown Road.This cool and shaded out-and-back covers about one and a half miles. The hike follows the stream at the base of the lift to a reservoir.
- Burro Trail
Get there: The trail starts at the bottom of the Lehman ski trail at the base of Peak 9 off Village Road in town.
This trail gives access to a range of hiking options. Either pair it with a separate loop, or follow it out for as long as you wish. You don’t need to go far to feel like you’ve gotten away from everything.
- Blue Lakes-Monte Cristo Gulch
Get there: Drive south on U.S. 9 for eight miles to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right and follow the road for 2.2 miles to the parking area just below the dam.
The trail starts above tree line at 11,748 feet and in 2.5 miles takes you to an historic mining area surrounded by alpine lakes. Be prepared for sublime views.
- McCullough Gulch
Get there: From town head south on U.S. 9 to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right and then turn right again onto County road 851. Continue for two miles and park near the water diversion structures. Then walk to the trailhead—a 15-minute walk on a path left of a sign marked: “Private Road, No Admittance.”
This 2.6-mile hike meanders through evergreen forests, past waterfalls, meadows, and wildflowers. In other words, it’s a quintessential Colorado
- Mohawk Lakes
Get there: Head south from town on U.S. 9 to Spruce Creek Road (No. 800). Continue 1.2 miles to the trailhead.
A perennial favorite (for a reason!), Mohawk Lakes is often referred to as an absolute must do. Here’s why: it’s a stunning five-mile hike that climbs to gorgeous lakes and historic ruins. It’s equal parts challenging and do-able for the entire family.
- Quandary Peak
Get there: Drive south on U.S. 9 to Blue Lakes Road (no. 850), turn right, and then turn right onto County Road 851 for 0.1 miles to the Quandary Peak trailhead.
One of Colorado’s 54 14ers (peaks that top out above 14,000 feet), Quandary is a friendly but rigorous hike. Although only six miles, the trail climbs 3,305 feet and will take anywhere from three to nine hours to complete, depending on fitness.
- Wheeler National Recreation Trail
Get there: You’ll need two cars to shuttle this long (10 miles) slog. Park one at the trailhead off of County Road 851 south of town. Park the other at the Vail Pass/Tenmile Canyon Bikeway Parking Area.
The logistical and athletic effort is well worth it for this long and challenging trail that crosses the Tenmile Range at nearly 12,500 feet.
— Rachel Walker