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When it comes to summer hiking, Breckenridge has it all. The cascading waterfalls, seemingly endless fields of wildflowers, serene alpine lakes, and all of it nestled in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains. In layman’s terms, a trip to Breckenridge in the summertime isn’t truly complete without experiencing one of our world-class trails. In order for you to get the best hiking experience, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite summer hikes in Breckenridge that will get you to places beyond imagination and into nature.
Best Easy Hikes in Breckenridge
The Iowa Hill Loop is a pleasant stroll through an 1800’s placer mine site with many interpretive signs along the way. A number of short side trails take you to interesting preserved mining machinery and the old boarding house. This is a nice shorter route for families or anyone visiting the area to see what mining looked like a hundred years ago.
Getting there: Head north from the town of Breckenridge on Hwy. 9, then turn left at Valley Brook Rd. Take a right on Airport Rd for about a ¼ mile. The trailhead is on the left with a designated sign and parking area.
Hike the Burro Trail as an out-and-back route for as long (or as short) as desired. Just five or 10 minutes out can make you feel like you’re miles away. The Burro trail provides access to a vast network of backcountry hiking options and is a great option for those staying at the many properties along Village Road.
Getting there: The Burro trail can be accessed from the bottom of the Lehman ski trail, located at the base of Peak 9 off Village Road in Breckenridge. You can walk or bike from downtown, but the trail is also accessible via the Breckenridge Free Ride’s yellow route.
Hoosier Pass Loop
This three-mile loop at the Continental Divide delivers an alpine experience without having to huff and puff to beyond tree line. The Hoosier Pass Loop features incredible views, a relatively easy incline to the top, and mountain vistas as far as the eye can see.
Getting 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.
Follow this shaded trail about a mile and end up at the gorgeous Sawmill Reservoir. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at the Reservoir with views of Breckenridge and the Tenmile Mountain Range. The hike itself is short and very well shaded by surrounding pine trees. The Sawmill trail’s gentle elevation gain makes it suitable for hikers of varying abilities, especially families with small children.
Getting there: One of the best parts about this trail is it’s proximity to downtown Breckenridge. Walk up Four O’Clock Road to the Snowflake lift, or hop on the Breckenridge Free Ride Yellow Route to the base of the lift. From there, follow signs leading to the trail.
Boreas Pass Road
From the end of pavement to the summit of Boreas Pass is about 6.5 miles of dirt road, passable by most vehicles except in muddy, wet or winter conditions. Park at the trailhead and walk or bike as far as you’d like, taking in views of the Tenmile mountain range and Breckenridge Resort. If you have a 4WD car, keep driving through the aspens to the top of the continental divide. The historic Section House at the top of the pass is a ski hut in the winter, available for overnight reservations. If you have extra time, check out Baker’s Tank trail or Aspen Alley in the fall for prime leaf peeping and great mountain biking.
Getting there: At the very south end of Breckenridge, take Boreas Pass Road all the way to the top. About 4 miles from town, the pavement ends at the Boreas Pass Trailhead. Park here to walk or bike along the road or continue driving to the top of the continental divide.
Want more summer hiking ideas? Check out our top 3 easy hikes from downtown Breckenridge.
Best Moderate Hikes in Breckenridge
Blue Lakes Trail
Blue Lakes trail starts above tree line at 11,748 feet and in 2.5 miles takes you to a historic mining area surrounded by alpine lakes. Take in the amazing views as you follow the stream to the top. Wildflowers, waterfalls, and wildlife like mountain goats are why this is one of our favorite summer hikes in Breckenridge!
Getting there: Drive south on U.S. 9 through Blue River to Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850). Drive up a little ways and park at the base of the dam.
Mt Baldy Road and the Iowa Mill
Just across the valley from Breckenridge Ski Resort sits a mountain that every single person in town sees, but might not know much about. It’s appropriately named Bald Mountain or “Baldy” as locals call it, since many of its trees burned during the mining days. In addition to panoramic views of the Tenmile Range, this hike includes the Iowa Mining Mill, a historic gem from Breckenridge’s mining era that was used to process ore from the Carbonate Mine.
This stunning hike rises up out of the Blue River Valley and offers incredible 360 degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges once you’ve reached the ridge of Baldy Mountain. Tailor the hiking to your liking and make it as long or as short of an adventure as you choose. If you’re feeling adventurous (and are prepared), try to follow this trail all the way to the summit of this iconic 13er!
Getting there: From downtown, drive on Main Street to the south side of town. At the last lighted intersection, make a left (east) onto Boreas Pass Road. After two miles, make a left onto Baldy Road (CR 520). Soon you’ll arrive at the Bald Mountain Trailhead, or keep driving a ways to the 4WD parking lot.
McCullough Gulch Trail
McCullough Gulch trail can be challenging in parts, but lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, mountain goats, and views of iconic 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks are your reward and well worth the effort. The first portion of the trail follows an old mining road across a footbridge and past an old mining shack. End your trip at the first lake, or keep heading up to Upper Blue Reservoir.
Getting there: Drive south on U.S. 9 through Blue River to Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850). Turn right onto McCullough Gulch Road (FDR 851), and follow the road for approximately 1.5 miles until the fork in the road. This is the parking area for McCullough Gulch.
It’s impossible to not mention Mohawk Lakes when talking about great hiking in Breckenridge. Not only will you walk past Breckenridge’s most stunning alpine lakes, but you will also pass the biggest/most impressive waterfall in Breckenridge: Continental Falls. Additionally, there is an old mining cabin along the trail between the lower and upper falls with remnants of a former cable car. The wide variety of terrain and scenery along the Mohawk Lakes Trail is what makes it so special. Keep in mind- this trail can get very busy in the summer. Go early or parking may be limited.
Getting there: Travel south on HWY 9 from Breckenridge for approximately 2.1 miles. Turn right onto Spruce Creek Road and proceed uphill on the dirt road and then bear left on Spruce Creek Rd. through the intersection. Keep driving until you arrive at the Spruce Creek trailhead parking area.
Best Difficult Hikes in Breckenridge
This stunning alpine hike starts just south of the Town of Breckenridge, and leads up to a stunning mountain pass in between Peaks 8 and 9 on Breckenridge Ski Resort. On the way up, hiker’s will experience tremendous vista views of the Tenmile Range, pass multiple alpine lakes, and walk through fields of wildflowers (June and July are the best months for wildflower viewing) as they make there way past treeline towards the summit of the pass. As with a lot of Breckenridge hiking trails, the length of the hike is entirely dependent on the hiker.
Getting there: Drive south on U.S. 9 through Blue River to Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850). Turn right onto McCullough Gulch Road (FDR 851) and continue past the Quandary Peak trailhead for approximately 0.5 miles. At the fork, turn right onto County Rd 852. Proceed about 0.5 miles to the trailhead at the sharp left turn in the road.
One of Colorado’s 54 14ers (peaks that top out above 14,000 feet), Quandary Peak is a friendly but rigorous hike. Although the trail is only six miles, it climbs 3,305 vertical feet and will take anywhere from three to nine hours to complete, depending on ability level. Plan to get there very early in the morning and try to be off the trail by noon to avoid the risks of afternoon thunderstorms. This trail can get very crowded- get there early or try a week day as parking fills up quickly.
Getting there: Drive south on U.S. 9 through Blue River to Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850). Turn right onto McCullough Gulch Road (FDR 851) and continue to the Quandary Peak trailhead.
Many of the summer hikes in Breckenridge listed in this article lead out into the alpine and above treeline. Be sure to check the forecast before you head out, start early, and make sure you are off the mountain before any afternoon thunderstorms start to develop. Always carry plenty of food and water for your journey, and always tell someone where you are going. Safety is everything in the mountains, and the more prepared you are, the more enjoyable your experience will be. Having a map of the area you are hiking can be a big help as well. Visit one of Breckenridge’s local gear shops like Mountain Outfitters for maps and information on trails and conditions.
Leave No Trace
Help us Care For Colorado by practicing responsible tourism and these Leave No Trace guidelines:
- Know before you go: Check the weather before you head out and carry a day pack with extra clothing layers, a water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses and a snack. Colorado weather changes quickly- be prepared. for sun, rain, snow and wind.
- Stick to the trails: Help natural areas stay natural- A few extra strides on the path will protect plants, lakes and the homes of the true locals.
- Trash the trash: Pack it in, pack it out, all the way to the trash or recycling bin. Or pick it up to leave a place better than you found it.
- Leave it as you find it: Leave plants, flowers, trees, rocks and historical items as you find them so others experience the joy of discovery.
- Be careful with fire: Colorado’s low humidity has perks, but can create dry, dangerous conditions.
- Keep wildlife wild: Colorado is home to tens of thousands of furry, scaly and feathered creatures. To keep them – and you – safe, don’t approach, chase, follow, surround or feed them, and always observe from a distance.
- Share the trail: Be considerate- yield to the uphill hiker and biker, and keep your voice and music soft.
We hope to see you out there on the trails this summer!