Front Range » Ultimate Guide to Breckenridge
Breckenridge is a Victorian mining town that transformed into North America’s most popular ski destination. Its unique downtown and snowy, mountainous terrain will make you feel like you were transported to a beautiful Northern European village. Downtown Breckenridge sits at 9,600 feet above sea level. Quandary is the tallest mountain peak in Breckenridge at 14,271 feet.
It’s a dreamland for the outdoor enthusiast who enjoys a touch of luxury. You can enjoy your favorite outdoor activity or try a new one. Breckenridge has almost everything – hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, horseback riding, camping, mountaineering, plus so much more. After spending the day exploring, wind down at a cozy, upscale restaurant or bar before retiring to a world-class resort.
Breckenridge is also an excellent day trip for Colorado locals. It’s less than 2 hours from Denver and Boulder and less than 2.5 from Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. No matter the season, there are plenty of reasons to visit Breckenridge, from beautiful alpine hikes to world-class winter sports.
Planning a trip to Breckenridge soon?
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Things to Do
Hit the slopes
When you think of “things to do in Breckenridge,” I bet skiing is top of mind. And for a good reason. Breckenridge is home to one of the most popular ski resorts in America. It has nearly 3000 acres of ski terrain with plenty of runs for all skill levels.
You’ll be impressed with the double and single black runs if you’re an advanced skier or snowboarder. There are also plenty of options for those wanting to test their tricks. Beginners, don’t worry. Peaks 8 and 9 have green slopes perfect for learning how to ski or snowboard. If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding or want to up your game, consider signing up for a lesson.
If you’re an Epic Pass holder, you’re in luck. You’ll have unlimited access to Breckenridge skiing and snowboarding, plus 20% off food, lodging, rentals, lessons, and MORE. Want a pass, but not for the season? Look into the Epic Day Pass, which is suitable for 1 to 7 days (your choice!).
Visit the Breckenridge website for information on ALL pass and lift ticket options
Embrace Winter Fun
Skiing and snowboarding are just some of the epic winter activities in Breckenridge. Fully embrace the winter wonderland of Breckenridge and the surrounding mountains with these fun classic and unique activities:
Mush a team of huskies through the snowy wilderness. Dog kisses included.
It’s truly a unique and romantic experience to ride in a horse-drawn carriage through snowy forests surrounded by mountains. Dinner theater options are available.
Experience the unforgettable thrill of riding a motorized sled through a remote, mountainous winter wonderland.
Summer and fall aren’t the only time to hit the hiking trails in Breckenridge. Rent or bring snowshoes to walk through Breckenridge’s snowy and mountainous terrain.
Experience Breckenridge’s remote winter landscape in a comfortable, heated snowcat.
Sled for free down Carter Hill in downtown Breckenridge (rentals not available). Or, try out extreme sledding at Country Boy Mine.
Indoor ice skating at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. Outdoor ice skating is available nearby in Keystone.
Experience over 30 miles of beautifully groomed trails for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Lessons and a beautiful lodge with food and drinks are available.
Explore the Trails
Breckenridge is surrounded by incredible trails. In the summer, you’ll find high-altitude alpine lakes and terrain, mountain peaks, stunning views, and abundant wildflowers. Hit the trails via hike, horseback, bike, or UTV. In the winter and spring, bring your snowshoes to explore the winter wonderland edition of Breck.
Here are some of the best trails in and near Breckenridge:
A challenging hike on the north end of Quandry Peak with consistent mountain views leading to a beautiful waterfall. Several alpine lakes are on the way, and you have a high chance of spotting wildlife.
A beautiful yet steep and challenging trail that passes by several alpine lakes. You’ll see stunning mountain views and old mining ruins along the way.
A short and easy walk around a beautiful lake towards the base of Peak 9. If you’re staying in that area, you have to check it out.
A moderately challenging trail to a mountain summit with excellent views of the Continental Divide and Ten Mile Range.
An easy hiking trail with mine ruins popular for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
A quick and easy walk to a 15-foot troll statue on the south side of Breckenridge.
A moderately challenging loop trail popular for biking and horseback riding.
The most challenging hike on this list so far. Quandary peak is 14,265 ft above sea level and takes 4-7 hours to hike. You must be prepared and start early in the morning to avoid potentially lethal afternoon storms.
Looking for additional trails in the Front Range? Check out these 14 gorgeous places to hike near Denver.
Explore Downtown Breckenridge
Downtown Breckenridge is a charming cultural district with an outstanding food and shopping scene. Cute, local shops with artisan goods are interspersed with popular outdoor brands such as Patagonia and Columbia. Additionally, events and activities for all interests happen all year long. You’ll find something to enjoy whether you’re interested in art, food, beer, outdoors, or music.
The colorful Victorian-style homes and buildings will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a northern European village. During winter, the whole town is lit up with Christmas lights. It’s truly spectacular. After you’re done shopping, grab a hot cocoa and sit by one of the public fire pits dotting the town.
The free gondola connects downtown Breckenridge to the Breckenridge ski resort on peak 8. Even if you’re not skiing or staying at the resort, riding the gondola over the town and forests is fun. Plus, there are several activities and places to grab a drink around the resort.
Downtown Breck has over 200 stores and 100 restaurants housed in old Victorian-style buildings. Local shops with handcrafted and artisan goods sit next to big-name outdoor gear stores such as Columbia and Patagonia. Walking around and exploring is sooo much fun. More on restaurants & bars later in the article.
Breckenridge is lit up for Christmas for a whopping SIX MONTHS. The lights go up in early December and stay until around April.
Après ski is the relaxing, social time after you ski. It’s like the ski culture version of happy hour. You meet with your friends and/or family after a day on the slopes, usually late afternoon, and enjoy drinks and light food.
Learn about Breckenridge’s mining and railroad history at one of the town’s many museums and historic tours.
Visit the Breckenridge Troll
Isak Heartstone is a 15-foot wooden troll sculpture south of downtown Breckenridge. This breathtaking piece of art is nestled along a beautiful forest trail. Isak was created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo in 2018.
To find Isak, you’ll first need to find the Trollstigen Trail. It begins at the south end of the Stephen C. West Ice Arena parking lot, right next to the Illinois Gulch trailhead. It’s only a 20-minute walk from downtown, or you can take the free shuttle. From there, follow the signs depicting a troll with a walking stick. Within 10 minutes, you’ll reach Isak.
After visiting Isak, consider walking the neighboring Illinois Creek Trail. It’s only a mile long and loops through the woods near Breckenridge.
Epic Discovery is a family-friendly amusement park on peak 8. It’s right next to Breckenridge resort and can be accessed via the free gondola next to downtown. If you’ve spent time on peak 8, you’ve likely noticed the ropes courses and slides next to the lifts. That is where Epic Discovery is located. It’s open from mid-June through labor day. Remember that the park may get closed down during the afternoons due to summer storms.
Some of the main attractions include:
A 2,600-foot slide that twists and turns down peak 8.
The Goldrunner Mountain Coaster races down peak 8 and winds through the forest.
Build your own adventure on the Alpineer Challenge course featuring 15 different ropes course challenges. Alternatively, the Lil’ Climber Ropes Course allows small children to test the ropes.’
Additional activities at Epic Discovery include a bungee trampoline, rock climbing wall, mini golf, and gemstone panning. Learn all about it here.
Breckenridge is home to over 100 unique restaurants and bars. The food scene here is incredible, and I guarantee you’ll find something you love. From upscale dining to laid-back and family-friendly, Breckenridge has got it.
Upscale + Fine Dining
The best place for tasting menus and decadent entrees, Rootstalk has almost a perfect rating out of hundreds of reviews.
The best place for fine wines and Spanish-style tapas in a classy, romantic setting.
The best place to go for decadent french cuisine. Get adventurous with escargot, or keep it safe with duck breast or steak frites.
The best upscale and chic restaurant for fully embracing hygge, the danish lifestyle of embracing comfort, warmth, and pleasure.
Best fine dining in a historic, Victorian-style home. Fans of Downton Abbey cannot miss this one.
Best place for fine Japanese cuisine, including sushi, sashimi, curries, and noodles.
Best place for delicious, fresh seafood in downtown Breckenridge.
The best place for fine, handcrafted cocktails. Note that they only serve drinks, not food.
The best place for upscale, classic dishes with a unique twist. The spicy shrimp scampi and tomato soup is a must-try.
Casual + Laid Back
The best place for delicious artisan pizza with thick, doughy crust.
The best place to go for classic American fare like burgers, chicken sandwiches, and chili in a laid-back space.
The best family-friendly restaurant in Breckenridge. Enjoy wings, burgers, pizza, and a range of appetizers inside a cool, underground arcade.
The best cozy bakery with breakfast, lunch, and lovely french pastries.
The best place to go for coffee in a cool, woodsy-meets-modern cafe.
The most iconic brewery in Breckenridge. Try out their signature craft brews and delicious, hearty pub food.
The best distillery in Breckenridge, creating craft bourbon, whiskey, and vodka. Taste fresh liquor while dining on yummy American fare.
The best place to go for breakfast before a day of fun and adventure in the mountains.
Warm up at this cozy tavern with inexpensive chili bowls and DIY smores.
The best place for a quick meal between ski runs with savory and sweet crepes.
Where to Stay
Breckenridge is home to many top-tier luxury hotels, restaurants, and vacation homes. Small groups, couples, and individuals can also find budget-friendly places for under $200 per night. There are also many places in between.
The best place to stay for quick and easy access to the slopes is at the peaks’ base. Peaks 7 and 8 are popular places to stay due to the resorts right next to the ski lifts.
Downtown is also an excellent place to stay. You’ll be walking distance from all of the best shops and restaurants in Breckenridge, and the free gondola going to peak 8.
North and south Breckenridge also have great options. If hiking, biking, and/or cross-country skiing are more of your thing, south Breckenridge is an excellent location. It’s close to some of the best trails in the area. If golfing is more your thing, consider staying in the quiet and less crowded northern Breckenridge neighborhoods.
Breckenridge Luxury Hotels & Resorts
A beautiful hotel resembling a small village next to ski lifts, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Expect top-tier alpine views, services, and amenities.
An upscale resort next to ski lifts on peak 7. Residents will love the adult and family pools, a luxurious spa, and daily activities and events.
A luxury resort on peak 8 right next to the Epic Adventure Park, Ski Lifts, and BreckConnect gondola.
A top-rated resort with easy access to peak 7 and 8 runs. Guests will love relaxing in the hot tubs and fireplace lounge after a day on the slopes.
Best Budget-Friendly Hotels
A cozy hostel and bed and breakfast in a historic Victorian home in downtown Breckenridge.
A mountain lodge and hostel with shared and private rooms. It’s the perfect option for young, social adventurers on a budget.
Breckenridge Airbnb’s & Vacation Rentals
Large + Luxe
A recently-remodeled modern cabin with a hot tub, distinct living areas, fireplace, and pool table that sleeps up to 16 guests.
A spacious ski-in/out townhome with a private hot tub that sleeps up to 10 guests.
A resort-style home with a large heated patio with views of the surrounding mountains and ski resort. The estate sleeps up to 12 guests.
Bright, modern home next to the snowflake lift with a private hot tub. The townhome can accommodate up to 10 guests.
A beautiful condo right next to main street in downtown Breckenridge. It sleeps up to 4 guests and has a fireplace and shared hot tub.
A beautiful studio apartment with a loft in south Breckenridge. The unit has one queen bed plus a pull-out sofa bed that can sleep two.
Bright, beautiful, lofted condo with one king bed and bunk beds. Access to a community pool and hot tub and close to a free shuttle pickup point.
A beautiful Airbnb Plus studio with a community hot tub and private patio close to the Quicksilver Ski Lift.
A bright studio apartment south of downtown Breckenridge with Airbnb Plus status.
A simple, inexpensive condo with a patio, fireplace, and community hot tub in south Breckenridge.
A cute little condo in Breckenridge’s historic district on the north end of downtown.
Travel Tips + Things To Know
Winter in Breckenridge is snowy and cold. Bring LOTS of layers and waterproof snow gear. Nights can get below freezing. Due to the elevation, the sun can still be intense during the day, so wear sunscreen.
Spring in Breckenridge is cold and wet. You can still ski early in spring, but the snow begins to melt the closer to summer it gets.
Summer in Breckenridge is sunny and warm during the day and cool at night. Afternoon storms occur almost daily. Be prepared, and don’t be exposed in the mountains during these dangerous storms.
Fall in Breckenridge is nice, crisp, and cool. The leaves are changing, and it’s the perfect time for a day hike. Snow begins mid to late fall, and temperatures start to drop considerably.
Breckenridge Parking & Transportation
The best way to get around Breckenridge is to find a place to leave your car during your stay and then use the free transportation system to get around town. Breck Free Ride goes all around Mainstreet, to the lifts, and even to the nearby neighborhoods. Visit the Breck Free Ride website to view a live map with all available routes.
There are plenty of parking lots throughout Breckenridge. Most are paid lots for day use, but you can find free and overnight parking as well. For up-to-date, detailed information about parking in Breck, visit the Breck Park website.
Need more info while you’re there?
Visit or contact the Breckenridge Welcome Center on Mainstreet. They’re experts on everything to do in Breckenridge, from activities to events. If they don’t know the exact details of something, like how to do a specific snowboarding trick, they’ll point you to someone who does. They’re open during regular business hours every day except Monday.
Dec – Lighting of Breckenridge
Dec – Race of the Santas
Dec – Ullr Fest
Dec – Winter Dew Tour
Jan – International Snow Sculpture Championships
Jan – Craft Beer Festival: Big Beers, Belgians, and Barley Wines
All Summer – National Repertory Orchestra
July – Fourth of July celebration with a parade and fireworks
July – Breckenridge July Art Festival
July – Breckenridge Summer Beer Fest
July – Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival
Aug – Breckenridge Main Street Art Festival
Here are additional towns near Breckenridge worth exploring:
Have you visited Breckenridge? Tell us about it in the comments below.
We’d love to hear all about your experience in Breckenridge. What you liked, didn’t like, etc. Additionally, we welcome any feedback, questions, or comments about anything in the post!