Your options are endless in Breckenridge – our mountain town has something for everyone. Picture yourself hiking through the alpine, shopping on Main Street, dinner downtown, or perhaps a little relaxation at the pool? Set the stage for your best summer story yet.
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Skinning in Summit County
There is no doubt that uphill skiing has become all the rage within the past couple of years. Between light-hearted touring, ski mountaineering (Ski-mo) and aggressive back country for pow stashes, the lot of locals and new comers all seem to take a slight interest in this activity. We’d like to start off by saying, ANYTIME you go into the back country please be prepared. Check the CAIC website for avalanche safety and if you heir on the “more extreme” side of things, we highly recommend at LEAST completing an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 course which teaches you how to make calculated decisions in avalanche terrain.
OK! Now let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are some fun ways (and places) to get outside in the fresh air and NOT have to wait in lift lines.
Grab a group of friends, spend some time outside, sleep in a “cabin in the woods” and possibly experience some all-time skiing around the area. Hut trips can be as demanding or as lax as you make them, but getting out into the wilderness and “unplugged” for a night or two hasn’t seemed to do many people harm these days. Check out these two organizations below that offer huts around Summit County and beyond. Locals note: Book in advance. These huts gets booked 8-10 months prior so if you know which hut you’d like, get on top of it!
Summit Huts was designed and created to provide meaningful backcountry experience for self-propelled mountain recreational users. Currently there are four huts within the system; Francie’s Cabin, Janet’s Cabin, Section House and Ken’s Cabin. These are located within Breckenridge. Francie’s Cabin is one of the most popular huts in Colorado, featuring a kitchen, sauna and solar powered lights. Although there CAN be some exceptional skiing in the areas surrounding these cabins, they are also very good options to just get out and experience something different for a night or two.
Mike from Summit Huts recently took some TV guys up to Francie’s Cabin. This was great exposure for Summit Huts and includes some awesome interviews with the kids who were staying up at the hut at the time. Check out the video here.
Stuff can get real now. With options around Summit County (and very much beyond), the 10th Mountain Division is a non-profit organization that manages 34 backcountry huts in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The 10th Mountain Division honors men of the U.S. Army who trained during World War II at Camp Hale in central Colorado.
This website gives you tons of resources on how to plan your hut trip, family and kids trips as well as how to make your reservation. Plus tutorials on hut set up and hut clean up. Each hut has tons of information including both winter and summer routes and trailheads, hut location, layout capacity and much more.
For more huts not listed by either of these organizations, click here.
“Safe” day tour areas
We use quotes around “safe” because you never know what can happen in the backcountry. You need to always be prepared. Below are three recommendations we offer for new, less experienced OR for people who are just looking to get their exercise on and maybe run your pooch. Please advise that in no way are we condoning that you go out blind. Please do your research before entering ANY backcountry terrain.
Bald Mountain – A most popular scene, this low angle, long approach is great for getting out with friends and the dogs. The path is clear and there is not much avy danger to be concerned. About a 4-mile round trip ski will get you high enough to link some decent turns together, and you honestly can’t beat the view.
Ken’s Cabin / Section House – see above for more information under Summit Huts.
Your favorite Epic Pass Resort – Most resorts offer up hill access prior to lifts turning and after hours. Check your local resort for up hill access, routes and information to stay safe. Pow can be nice but there is also something sweet about getting first tracks on freshly groomed corduroy!
More “extreme” day trips
Like above: Please do your research before entering ANY backcountry terrain.
Loveland pass – Although no formal reading on what is offered off of Loveland Pass, there are plenty of trip reports and wise words of wisdom from skiers past. The nice option about Lovelandd pass… hitchhiking and shuttling is available. While uphill access is still also an option, this is a great way to get out into some fresh snow with without the work of skinning. Check out some literacy below:
East Vail – Also known as EV and also known for avalanche danger and the lives of some, when the conditions are right, the skiing is too. We suggest going with a local, someone who knows the area and following their instructions. There is a vast area of chutes so you may not end up as close as you think. (Defer to your local here). Not much information out on the web, so talk to people and google pictures to get a general idea of the expansiveness of the chutes.
Mt. Guyot – Also a long approach. Mt. Guyot has some lines for fantastic skiing. The Northwest Slope is a fun ski when conditions are RIGHT. Not a far drive if you are staying in Breckenridge, this trailhead and route can also just be a fun tour, hike, or snowshoe.
Getting around is free and easy!
There are free public transportation, taxi services, and rental car agencies in the community.
Hotel Shuttles: Check with your hotel! Most lodging hotels and condominiums in Breckenridge have complimentary shuttles.
Breckenridge ‘Free Ride’: The Breckenridge ‘Free Ride’ is free bus transportation that takes you all around town. Operating seven days a week, the Breckenridge ‘Free Ride’ is the best choice for getting around town, especially after hours. Click here for more information.
Summit Stage: The Summit Stage is the free county-wide bus transportation that travels to Copper Mountain, Keystone, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Frisco. Summit Stage bus service is available year round and departs from various locations, including the Breckenridge Transit Center located right next to the BreckConnect Gondola. Visit www.summitstage.com for more information.
Uber: From your cell phone, download the app, tap a button and get a ride. Uber is an easy way to get around without any hassle. One tap and a car will come directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go and when you get there, just step out. Payment is completely seamless.
Here is a local’s guide to parking in Breckenridge!
This guide is here to help you remain low-key and blend in like a local. Truthfully, I’m not sure we really care what you wear…except for maybe those giant fuzzy boots.
The truth: Wear what you want. We’re just happy you’re experiencing this gem we call home.
Here’s the breakdown of what to wear on your vacation to Breckenridge. Hopefully this can serve as a packing list (check out our winter packing guide here), but don’t fret if you don’t own these things. We have PLENTY of shops and gear outfitters ready to hook you up.
Homegrown style: Wearing anything native to Colorado is key. Brands like Melanzana, Loki, SmartWool and FlyLow Gear are all Colorado-made products sure to win style points. Take a short trip to Leadville and visit the Melanzana store. This homegrown small company designs, cuts, sews and sells everything themselves. How cool is that?!
Footwear: You’ll see everything here from Birkenstocks and Chacos to the fanciest Sorel. Anything in between is fine, so long as you can comfortably walk. Our terrain is mostly dirt trails or icy walkways. We suggest leaving the Moon Boots and stilettos at home.
Layers: Wearing a beanie and down jacket to work in the morning and not knowing how to carry it home in the afternoon is a common struggle in fall and spring. Our weather changes frequently and FAST. So, if you layer properly you shouldn’t have to worry. Brands don’t matter so much in this situation, but your down coat should probably say Patagonia or Arctery’x if you’re into that sort of thing. If you’re hipper than that, you’re probably wearing FlyLow, Kuhl or Trew.
Western wear: Although we aren’t as down with western wear as, say, Steamboat Springs, we’ll dig your Frye boots and that cute Brixton hat (for the ladies). Men, us girls can always dig a cowboy amiright? So, feel free to slide into some Levi’s and throw on your western boots. We won’t hate it; we may even prefer it compared to the snowboard style we’re so used to.
Eye protection: We can’t stress this enough. We don’t care what you wear for eye protection, just WEAR IT. Same goes for sunscreen and lip balm with SPF and/or anything with zinc oxide. Our favorite brand is Dermatone; get the tin, it’s cooler (not literally) and much easier to apply on the face. Walking around at 9,600 feet and skiing over 10,000 feet in the winter brings you that much closer to the sun, and those sunburns can ruin a vacation here too, not just at the beach.
Reusable water bottle: Not only are we saving the planet one reusable bottle at a time, but the tap water in Breckenridge is amazing. Hydration is one of the most important things you can do for your body at altitude. You’ll see all the primo bottles (Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask and Yeti), but it’s cool if you have your favorite Nalgene from high school covered in stickers.
- A daypack (for days on the hill or the hiking trail)
- Smart phone for pictures
- Ski/snowboard equipment
Other than your personal daily essentials, we think we’ve got you covered. Looking forward to seeing you during any season in Breck, and hopefully we won’t even know you’re just visiting!
Spring has sprung in Breckenridge and that means wildlife is out and about. With the abundance of critters here in Breckenridge, don’t be surprised to see a family of foxes scurrying through town or a moose taking a stroll down the road while you’re visiting. These animals, although majestic and exciting to spot, are on an agenda of their own. Spring is a delicate time for the wildlife here and respecting our trail closures and wilderness areas are critical. Here are some guidelines you should be aware of to protect both the wildlife and yourself!
Don’t feed the wildlife.
Under no circumstance should anyone be feeding a wild animal. A bear’s main goal is to get fat enough to live through the winter, so be very cautious about what you are leaving around. Leave no trace. A bear can smell food up to 5 miles away, and so during the months of mid-March through early November, don’t leave anything that smells of food in your vehicle or outside near your home. Foxes hang around most lodging properties looking for scraps as well as in town. Be mindful that human food is actually unhealthy for these animals and can prevent certain species from foraging for themselves. When wild animals are fed human food, it will likely result in that animal’s death. If you care about our furry friends, please do not feed them. Our best advice: stay back and observe these creatures in their natural habitat.
Mind your dogs.
We aren’t saying you need to leash your dog on a trail where they are able to run free, but please be aware of the rules around you, especially during mud season/spring when the trails and preserves are being carefully monitored to host an atmosphere for these animals. A run in with a moose, mountain lion or porcupine could put you and your dog at serious risk. Not only could we be endangering the habitat for these animals, they could also be potentially dangerous to you and your fur baby.
The types of wildlife you will *most likely* see and general facts about them:
- Fox – Foxes are typically between 12 and 16 inches tall and about 31 inches long including their white-tipped signature tail. They weigh about 6lbs on average and can run up 30mph! A fox’s typical lifespan is about 3-4 years.
- Bear – When standing up, bears can be up to 7 feet tall and weigh in at about 500lbs for males and 300lbs for females. A black bear’s lifespan is around 10 years.
- Moose – The tallest mammal in North America! Male moose, called bulls, have enormous antlers that can grow up to 6 feet wide from tip to tip! A moose can run up to 35mph and can actually stay under water for 30 seconds!
- Mountain goats (watch for these guys on your hikes!) – Super agile, these animals are about 3.5 feet tall and 5.5 feet long. They can weigh anywhere between 100-300 pounds and live anywhere between 12-15 years.
Facts provided by defenders.org
How to interact with the larger wildlife of Breckenridge.
Bear – If you feel as though you may be in bear territory, make noise while you walk. Clap your hands or whistle loudly to help prevent yourself from surprising a bear. Don’t run from a bear! They will think you are prey and could potentially chase you. Also, avoid climbing trees as bears are skilled climbers.
Mountain Lion – They say you don’t see a mountain lion; it sees you first. So, if you are placed in this terrifying situation, the best way to conduct yourself is to stay calm (we know…). Talk firmly and make eye contact. You want to make yourself look as big as possible, so whatever you have on your person, use it to your advantage. NEVER RUN – but step or back away S L O W L Y. We hope you never have to use this advice.
Moose – If a moose charges you, we finally give you permission to RUN. Trying to put something between you and the moose is the best advice we’ve heard. Moose are trying to drive you away, so the faster you can get further away, the better. The moose will feel comfortable as soon as you are a safe distance away and should leave you alone.
So there you have it. A few tips on how to protect the wildlife in Breckenridge, and some fun facts to leave you with a bit more knowledge about these animals. We ask that you try to listen to these rules, and PLEASE: do not feed the wildlife. Enjoy Breckenridge and also, please leave no trace. Use #bestofbreck when you post your camping and outdoor adventure photos of Breckenridge to be featured on our Instagram!
Fall is a great time to get out on your dirt bike. Both you and your bike will enjoy the cooler weather, and with the aspens slowly starting to change, the scenery will not disappoint. Here we’re going to highlight a few places near Breckenridge that you shouldn’t miss this fall.
Three awesome places for you and your dirt bike:
- Tiger Road, Breckenridge, CO – There are about 25 miles of trails back here that are OHV approved. This little nestled network is close for shuttling bikes if you are staying in the area. It can get a little crowded on weekends with side by sides and Razors, but there is plenty of single track to stay on to avoid more congested areas. This is a great place for beginners who are just learning as it offers a wide variety of trail difficulties. Find more information here!
- Fourmile Recreation Area, Buena Vista, CO – Buena Vista (BV) really isn’t that far from Summit County and with temperatures usually at least 10 degrees higher, it’s a perfect getaway. BV features almost 200 miles of road and trails plus a ton of variety for all skill levels. This special little spot is only about 45 minutes from Breckenridge, and is typically ready to ride in April while Breckenridge is still melting. It also stays a little warmer in the fall for a weekend getaway. Designated campsites with breathtaking views of the Collegiate Range are spread along most of the routes. Trail #1425 is a 6 mile long single track that is a bit advanced, but a great loop. For more information check out Fourmile Travel Management Area!
- Taylor Park, Gunnison, CO – With a plethora of trails, this is one of the most coveted places to take your dirt bike. The beautiful part about Taylor Park is that you can make it a day trip from Breckenridge (2 to 2 ½ hours’ drive). This is also a great place for riders of all skill levels. However, if you are looking for some advanced trails, we would recommend: Star Trail, Timberline and Dr. Park. There is plenty of camping, wildlife viewing and with Taylor Reservoir being right there, you could even get some evening fishing in. With a central location and over 40 trails, you are bound to have to come back for more. If you’re to learn more, click here!
Don’t forget to wear your helmet and boots, and stay on the trail!