When people hear Breckenridge, they think skiing and snow-boarding. This old mining town in the Colorado Rockies, less than two hours from Denver, is a great all-seasons getaway. Here are some things to do when there’s no snow on the ground.
On the water:
Fly-fishing on the Blue River and other area rivers and streams is a great three-season activity for both experienced anglers and novices. Breckenridge Outfitters, an Orvis store, has a variety of fishing experiences to offer. Blue River Anglers and Mountain Angler are two other companies that can set you up with equipment, help you get a license and/or supply a guide if you want one. If you’re going out on your own they can recommend the spots where the fish are biting.
Rafting starts in spring and runs as late into the summer, conditions permitting. The Blue River, running through Breckenridge, has a short season. The water in Clear Creek, the Upper Arkansas River and the Colorado River runs longer. AVA (Arkansas Valley Adventures), Highside Adventure Tours, Kokopelli Rafting Adventures and Kodi Rafting all run trips in the area.
Up in the air:
If you’ve always wanted to go up in a balloon, or want to do it again, between Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides can fulfill your dream. They will pick you up in Breckenridge and take you to Hartsel in the South Park Valley, an hour southeast of Breckenridge, for your balloon adventure. Their season runs from late May and the end of September,
On the ground:
Hiking is a great activity for all ages. If you’re out with a group, pick a hike that works for the slowest, youngest (if there are children) or most physically challenged member of the group. There are lots of beautiful and peaceful areas to choose from in Breck and lots of trails. If you want to learn about the flora, fauna and even history of the area, consider going out with a guide. An experienced guide can assess the skill level of the group and pick a place that will be enjoyable for all.
Biking is also an all-ages activity. One option; rent road bikes and ride the paved bike trails in town. If you’re traveling with kids who are not ready to bike on their own, rent a seat attachment. This goes at the back of the bike, is low to the ground and has pedals so the child can help out if willing. If not, the little one can sit there while mom or dad can do all the work. Mountain bikes are also available and there are lots of woodland trails to explore. Bike rentals are available from Alpine Sports and Mountain Wave. They both offer shuttle service to places in the area where you can get a great downhill ride leaving the uphill work to the vans. There are miles and miles of paved bike paths in and around Breck.
For duffers, the town-owned Breckenridge Golf Club offers 27 holes designed by golf-great, Jack Nicklaus. The perk of playing at 9,324 feet above sea level is that balls fly farther and straighter- it’s the thin air. Players may select the tee that works for their skill level.
Want to find out what the gold rush days were like, see old equipment, go into an old mine, and even pan for gold? Take a trip to the Country Boy Mine, minutes from town. Their newest addition, a 55 foot ore chute slide, is fun for everyone.
On the road:
Take a scenic drive through the mountains. Our hands-down pick is the drive up the 11,481 ft. high Boreas Pass. The ride crosses the Continental Divide offering stunning views of mountain peaks and the Blue River Valley below. Miners trying to get to the gold in Breckenridge wore a dirt trail over the pass. Later it was widened into a wagon road. In 1882, the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad began providing narrow gauge train service over the pass. At the summit get out and explore
Boreas, a ghost town with an old railroad section house and some outbuildings. The town built to house railroad workers, was abandoned when train service stopped in 1937. You can turn back to Breckenridge or continue to Como, a former railroad town at the south end of the pass. Look for the old cemetery on the right as you drive into town. It’s a short drive down a dirt road on the right. Take some time to look around this charming, overgrown final resting place. The town has old Colorado-style bungalows, an old Mercantile, a historic hotel and an old stone roundhouse left from railroad days. Return to Breckenridge via CO 9 crossing Hoosier pass at the Continental Divide.
On the mountain:
If you’re traveling with kids, Peak 8 Fun Park is a great destination. Most activities are child-oriented and there are enough activities to keep kids busy for the whole day. Adults will enjoy the SuperSlide and the new Gold Runner Coaster. The 2,600 foot alpine slide is great for a fast ride down the mountain. More experienced riders and thrill seekers can ride the giant slalom track with its multiple dips. The 2,500 foot long Gold Runner, Colorado’s only alpine coaster, takes riders down the mountain on hairpin curves through the forest on an elevated roller coaster track. Miniature golf is another great family activity. Most of the other things to do up here are more suitable for the younger members of the family. Peak 8 will keep the kids busy for hours. Activities include a bouncy house, climbing wall, a maze, bungee trampoline, pony rides and gold panning.
A few tips for Peak 8 Fun Park:
- Tickets are pricey. Since most activities are kid-centric, buy tickets for the kids, and buy a few adult passes for the alpine slide, coaster and miniature golf. If you don’t want to go early in the day, you can save a few bucks on the Twilight Pass good from 3 to 7:30pm.
- The park is less crowded earlier and later in the day which means less waiting for activities.
- It’s much cooler at the Fun Park than it is in town. Bring long-sleeved shirts or light jackets.
- Remember to bring hats and sunscreen. You are closer to the sun (9,600 ft. above sea level) and the air is thinner. You will burn sooner than you think. Also, drink lots of water, it helps with the low humidity and the altitude.
- Getting there is half the fun. There is no day-parking at the Peak 8 Fun Park. Leave your car at the Gondola South Parking (it’s free). From there, ride the gondola up the mountain. The views are amazing and best of all; it’s free. Don’t want to drive? There’s a free shuttle bus that picks up around town. You can just choose to ride the gondola up and down the mountain just for the heck of it. Peak 8 Fun Park is open mid-June to early September.
And a little culture:
Breckenridge has a lot of history. It’s fun to stroll around town looking at the lovingly restored Victorian (and later) buildings.
Visit the Art District, home to the town’s growing art scene. There are galleries, studios and places for classes and workshops. Also in this area: the Breckenridge Theatre (home to the Backstage Theatre Company),the Quandary Antiques Cabin and Ceramic Studio, the Tin Shop and the Riverwalk Performing Arts Center. The Breckenridge Gallery Walk takes place the second Saturday of the month, year round. The Breckenridge July Arts Festival offers a range of art mediums including: painting, metal, wood, glass, ceramics, sculpture, photography, jewelry and more.
The Breckenridge Music Festival brings a range of musical genres to town including the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra each summer.
If you’re looking for a Colorado mountain getaway, no matter what the season, discover Breckenridge.
What are your favorite things to do in Breckenridge Colorado? We’d love to hear from you.
Author’s note: In some cases The Santa Fe Traveler was provided with complimentary admissions and discounts. This has not influenced this article in any way. We neither endorse or recommend the companies mentioned in this post. They are suggestions based on personal experience and research.