Located in the Tenmile Range, Breckenridge offers visitors of all abilities a chance to partake in Colorado’s quintessential outdoor pastime: hiking! We talked with our local team to get the scoop on the best trails and how to get the most out of them.
So, lace up your favorite boots and take in Colorado’s beauty on these Breckenridge hiking trails.
When to Go Hiking in Breckenridge
Hiking season typically starts in May and goes through late September/early October. June through early August is wildflower season, when stunning blooms of Larkspur, leaping lupine, and columbine dot the meadows. On some trails, you may see old mining structures, reminders of Breckenridge’s past.
Wildlife is abundant. Elk, deer, and even moose can be spotted sporting reddish summer coats. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep may dot the hillsides. You may even see a black bear. Enjoy little friends on the trail like pikas and chipmunks, who like the rocky terrain best, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more elusive animals, like porcupines and bobcats.
Most Popular Trails
1. Quandary Peak
If you’re looking for a bird’s-eye view, consider hiking Quandary Peak, Breck’s local fourteener. With a summit of 14,265 feet, this view will be nothing short of spectacular. Though the trek is only six miles round-trip, be prepared for a very steep grade, the potential for snow, and a sudden change in altitude.
2. Indiana Creek Trail
For an easy hike that anyone can enjoy, try the Indiana Creek Trail. It’s a little over three miles one way, and only gains 541 feet in elevation, so the grade isn’t too bad. Even visitors with young children or limited mobility can enjoy this hike without a problem. On your way, you’ll pass through the ghost town of Dyersville and the Warriors Mark Mine.
3. McCullough Gulch
McCullough Gulch is a great short hike. It’s a little over two and a half miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of only 800 feet. There are even little side trails where you can get up close and personal with McCullough Gulch Falls.
4. Mohawk Lakes
For a longer and more challenging hike, plan a trip to Mohawk Lakes. Traverse the steep switchbacks up Continental Falls—the largest waterfall in the Breckenridge area—with three deep chasms that you can peer into from little overlooks. You can add more to your hike when you get to Lower Mohawk Lakes by proceeding to the true Mohawk Lakes trail. We suggest taking lunch at the base of Continental Falls, where you’ll find a cluster of old cabins perfect for a picnic.
Know Before You Go
1. You’re not at sea level anymore.
Once you get past 5,000 feet, the air becomes thin and dry, so give yourself a few days to acclimate to the elevation change. Be kind to yourself, and start slowly. Take plenty of breaks!
2. Drink water—lots of water.
Hydration is your friend at high altitude. When going on a hike, be sure everyone has plenty of water (including your furry friends).
3. Dress for all weather and start early.
Colorado’s weather can be quite temperamental. It may be clear skies and 70 degrees in the morning, then turn blustery and cold by lunch. Snow can come to the mountains as early as September, or as randomly as July. Moral of the story: Pack layers and plan a morning hike. Particularly important articles of clothing include a solid pair of hiking shoes (preferably ones with ankle support), a good pair of socks (wool or synthetic are best), breathable layers, and a raincoat. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
4. Respect wildlife’s personal bubble.
Just like people, animals have a personal bubble. If you stumble upon them, chances are they’re going to be just as surprised as you. Be sure to always give wildlife plenty of space and everyone will be happy.
5. Read all the signs.
Please read and respect all posted signs regarding dog regulations, trail courtesy, or closures. Doing so could save you a hefty fine.
Hiking is a great way to get some exercise, get closer to nature, and see sights you don’t get to witness every day. Share this experience with your children, parents, partner, or a close friend—but most of all, treat yourself!
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