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You don’t need a car to hike some spectacular trails in Breckenridge. Free public transportation can whisk you to many popular trailheads to make hiking in Breckenridge without a car simple and easy. Hop on the Breck Free Ride. The Breck Free Ride is a community-wide free transit system complete with an easy app and routes designed to get you to where you want to be. All bus routes start at the Breckenridge Transit Center, located near the Gondola. Check with your lodging company for shuttle options to the transit center or hiking trails. Learn more about going car fee in Breckenridge.
Best trail to hike if you don’t have a car during your trip:
Blue River Trail from the Ice Rink to the Sawmill Museum
Length: 2.5 miles round-trip +/-, allow 1.5-2 hours, relatively easy
The Blue River Trail rolls gently along a ridge bordering Illinois Creek, crossing a variety of ecosystems, from thick spruce forest to aspen groves and open meadows. Mining relics, wildflowers, and views of Boreas Pass and the Ten Mile Range draw you along the trail.
Follow the Blue River Trail about a mile and look for aspen and cottonwood groves and a variety of wildflowers along the way. After about a mile, you’ll come to a large meadow with wild grasses, flowers, willows, bird song and great views of Boreas Pass and the Ten Mile Range.
At the meadow, the trail forks and the trail post includes a sign pointing the way back to the Illinois Creek High trail. You’ll return to the Ice Rink this way. Continue on to the Sawmill Museum by taking the left fork. In a short distance, you’ll walk from a lush meadow to a dry sagebrush field and through an aspen grove, each ecosystem supporting a different collection of plants and wildflowers. On your right as you head toward the Sawmill, you’ll pass private property that was once zoned for 200 condominiums but is now protected with a conservation easement.
The Sawmill Museum is a project of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, showing a wide variety of tools and steam-powered equipment used to saw lumber for the growing Breckenridge mining camp. A self-guided tour is available. Return to the Ice Rink the way you came.
Bus Routes: Main Street Trolley (more direct) or Gray Route Southside to the Ice Rink stop
The Main Street Trolley loops up and down Main Street, making it easy to head back to town for lunch after your hike.
Directions from bus route to trail: From the Ice Rink stop, walk across the parking lot to the forest on the south side, keeping the Ski Area on your west (right). The trail starts at the Illinois Creek Trailhead sign. Cross the creek on the wooden footbridge. At the fork, go left to Illinois Creek High. Look for Fairy Slipper Orchids in the spruce forest as the trail trends up toward the signed junction with the Blue River Bike Path, go left. The trail name is a bit of a misnomer, as the path is clearly a single-track trail through the woods and not a bike path in the paved sense. However, do expect to see mountain bikes and other users on the trail.
Beaver Run to the Ski Run or Burro Trail
Length: 1 to 5 miles round trip, allow at least an hour, easy to moderate
The trail begins at the base of Peak 9 and the start of the trail offers views of the Breckenridge Ski Resort and town. Once you head into the forest, you will quickly be surrounded by nature. The trail takes you along a creek and a forest of pine trees. Contine further along the trail for meadows and wildflowers. You’ll enjoy a secluded feel from a trail this conveniently located trail.
Burro Trail Option: From the sign, follow the Burro Trail along the delightfully bubbling Lehman Creek. Turn around when the mood strikes you, or follow the trail for miles to the Spruce Creek Trail. The Burro Trail is one of the easy hikes from downtown Breckenridge.
Option Two – Ski Run: A popular option is to hike up the ski run on your right/west, travelling underneath the Quicksilver lift. The first hill is steep, but the path flattens out at the top and rewards you with sweeping views of Breckenridge and the Continental Divide. Horses from the Breckenridge Stables can be seen ahead. Turn around when you’ve had enough.
Bus Route: Gray Route Southside to Beaver Run Bus Stop
The Gray Route stops at many of the major hotels and lodges in-town and is a popular way for conference guests to access all Breckenridge has to offer.
Directions from bus route to trail:: Disembark the bus at the main entrance to Beaver Run Resort. Proceed west toward the Beaver Run Super Chair. Walk between the building and the chairlift, heading south across the ski run and underneath the Quicksilver lift toward the sign for the Burro Trailhead.
River Trail from Rec Center to Colorado Mountain College
Length: 1.3 miles one way, allow an hour or so, easy
The River Trail offers mountain views of the 10-mile range as well as a close-up of Breckenridge’s might Blue River. Amble downstream along the Blue River soaking in the sounds of rushing water and birds calling, and watch for wildflowers and fishermen. This is a great trail for those new to hiking or those nervous about getting lost in the woods. This trail offers line of sight and no forks which makes it easy to navigate.
Bus Route: Gray Route Northside to Rec Center Bus Stop
Directions from bus route to trail: Walk east toward the Breckenridge Recreation Center, following the green signs “To Rec Path.” After the skate park, turn left/north along the paved shared-use path a short distance. Cross Valley Brook Road and immediately turn right to follow the dirt River Trail path. After about a mile and a quarter, you’ll see Colorado Mountain College on your left/west. Get close to the ski lift towers to find the asphalt path that takes you to the campus. The bus stop is in front of the building. Take the bus back to the Rec Center or the Breck Station Transit Center to complete your journey. You can also do this trail in reverse by taking the Gray Route bus to Colorado Mountain College and returning to the Rec Center by following the trail upstream.
Iowa Hill Trail
Length: 1.50 mile loop, allow 1.5 – 2 hours, more difficult
Iowa Hill Trail meanders past interesting historic sites and mining artifacts so you might not even notice how much elevation you are gaining. Numerous interpretive signs along the way teach more about hydraulic mining innovations developed at Iowa Hill. This trail offers plenty of opportunities to break and has a few benches as well. Easily marked trails lead to interpretive sites such as a blacksmith shop and hydraulic piping. At the top is an 1868 log Boarding House. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance offers a guided tour that includes entry into the historic building.
Bus Route: Gray Route Northside to Breck Terrace #1 Bus Stop
Directions from bus route to trail: To get there from the bus stop, stay on the sidewalk heading north a short distance until you see the Iowa Hill Trailhead sign and cross the street. Follow the dirt road 100 yards north to the trailhead. Talk about hiking in Breckenridge without a car!
French Gulch to Wellington Trail
Length: .75 mile loop with options, allow an hour, easy
Relics of Depression-era gold-seeking, cobbled together from old truck beds and scavenged mining parts, can be seen from the trail. Heading east, enjoy stunning views of the Breckenridge Ski Area. For a longer option, use the French Gulch bus stop as a jumping-off point for the trail network system in French Gulch, starting at the B&B Trailhead, about .25 mile past the Country Boy Mine.
Longer Option Westbound: Return west on the Wellington Trail past the Wellington Neighborhood, about .75 miles through spruce forest and intimate meadows. Turn right at Stables Road and connect to the bus at the Lincoln Park stop or across the street at the Little Red Schoolhouse stop.
Bus Route: Purple Route A or B
Directions from bus route to trail: Exit the bus at the French Gulch turn-around and proceed on the gravel path to the east. Turn right at the green gate and take the old road south to the gravel Wellington Trail. Travel east on the trail along French Creek to the driveway for the Country Boy Mine. Continue east for further explorations, loop back by walking down French Gulch Road to the bus stop, or return the way you came.
What to know before you go
Before you head outdoors, follow these simple layering and packing tips.
Layers – With changing weather patterns and higher elevations. Pack a few layers to stay warm and dry.
Sun Protection – With 300 days of annual sunshine, you’ll always want plenty of sunshine.
Water & Snacks – It’s easier to become dehydrated at 9600+ feet and you know, you’re climbing mountains. Bring plenty of water and snacks to fuel you up and avoid the hangrys.
Blue River Trailhead
189 Boreas Pass Rd
Fun Fact: The Blue River Trail is a great trail for spotting wildflowers.
542 French Gulch Rd
Fun Fact: The B&B Trail leads to some of the most historic mining areas in all of Breckenridge.
Beaver Run to Ski Run or Burro Trail
Fun Fact: The Burro Trail runs parallel to Peak 9 at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
River Trail from the Rec Center
Fun Fact: This section of the River Trail is an extremely popular spot for fishermen.
Iowa Hill Trail
Fun Fact: Iowa Hill is situated around 12,000 feet altitude just below treeline.