12 Breathtaking Hikes Near Breckenridge

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by foxintheforest

If sprawling mountain vistas and pristine alpine lakes are your jam, look no further than this list of the best hikes near Breckenridge. These incredibly scenic hikes near Breckenridge give you picture-perfect mountain scenery complete with waterfalls, lakes, and wildflowers.

Located a little less than 2 hours from Denver, Breckenridge makes for an excellent escape into one of Colorado’s most beautiful mountain towns. Littered with hikes for every ability, Breck is a must-stop for any avid hiker.

When it comes to hikes around Breckenridge, I’ve practically hiked all of them. In fact, over the past 7 years, I’ve climbed nearly every mountain in the Tenmile Range. As a local Colorado hiking expert, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on these jaw-dropping trails.

About this Guide to Hikes Near Breckenridge

When it comes to finding hikes near Breckenridge, Colorado look no further than this post! I’ll give you the local insights into fabulous hiking trails in this iconic mountain town. Here’s what you’ll find in this post:

  • The best time to hike in Breckenridge
  • 12 of the most scenic hikes near Breckenridge
  • Quick tips for hiking in Colorado
  • Additional Colorado hiking resources
hikes near breckenridge

The Best Time to Hike Near Breckenridge

Of course you can hike near Breckenridge year-round. However, snowshoes and avalanche safety knowledge are a must-have if you plan on hiking in Breckenridge during the winter months.

Typically, the best time to hike in Breckenridge is from late June through mid-September. July marks wildflower season and the mountains are lush and beautiful. However, don’t expect to find much solitude.

Start early (like before 7 am) to have the trail to yourself. If you’re hiking to the top of a mountain, then start around 5 or 5:30 am to beat crowds and dangerous storms.

The 12 Best Hikes Near Breckenridge

One of the best things to do in Breckenridge is to hit the trails! For seasoned hikers and beginners alike, there’s plenty of beautiful hikes near Breckenridge to get excited about. This list is in order of difficulty, with the toughest trials listed last.

1. Blue Lakes Trail

This easy hiking trail pays off with big views. Located near Blue River, you’ll get 2 beautiful alpine lakes and dramatic views of the Tenmile Range.

Hike up the hill into a lush mountain valley that features waterfalls, wildflowers, and plenty of relaxing streams.

  • Round Trip Distance: Less than 1 mile, you can continue upwards another 1.1 miles (about 2.5 miles round trip total) to a gorgeous basin with waterfalls
  • Elevation Gain: 108 feet, an additional 600 feet of elevation will lead to the lower part of the falls.
  • Difficulty: Easy, more moderate to the falls, but take your time and you can make it.
  • Estimated Time: 45 minutes around the lake or 1 hour and 30 minutes to the falls
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.
best hikes in breckenridge

2. Illinois Gulch Trail

This is one of my favorite easy hiking trails in Breckenridge simply because you get a little bit of everything. The forested trail wanders up to a beautiful lake, but doesn’t require the elevation of some of the bigger butt-busters on this list.

Local Tip: This trail wanders through private property, so please stay on the trail so it continues to remain open to visitors.

  • Round Trip Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 328 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Dog Friendly? yes

3. Sallie Barber Mine Trail

If you’re into mining history and sweet mountain views, check out the Sallie Barber Mine Trail. With plenty of mining equipment and a little placard to explain the history of mining, it’s one of the best trails in Breckenridge for history buffs.

Local Tip: A local reader informed me recently that one of the trailheads for the Sallie Barber Mine currently has a lot of construction nearby, making parking a problem, so be sure to check trailhead conditions before you head out.

  • Round Trip Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 393 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.

4. The Burro Trail

There might not be a grand finale on this hike, but the shady trail with epic bursts of mountain scenery make this a must-hike trail in Breckenridge.

I often use this trail to reach other destinations and find myself traveling along it quite often. Combine with a trip to Lower Crystal Lake for a full day out.

  • Round Trip Distance: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 9187 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.

5. McCullough Gulch Trail

Forget the crowds of Mayflower Gulch, hike to McCullough Gulch instead. This trail terminates at the backside of Mayflower Gulch, giving you the same dramatic views. You’ll get great alpine views, lakeside scenery, and a lot of amazing wildflower blooms.

Oh and bonus points for passing three alpine lakes along the way.

Local Tip: This trailhead still sees a lot of traffic, so be sure to arrive early for solitude.

  • Round Trip Distance: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,578 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.

6. Hoosier Pass Loop

One of my favorite winter hikes in Colorado and a beautiful little jaunt that takes you around the top of this famous pass, Hoosier Pass is a must-visit.

Come here for sunrise and to bask in the alpenglow. You can use this trail to head up to the peak of Northstar Mountain too!

  • Round Trip Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 688 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.

7. Crystal Lakes Trail

Okay, so the first part of this burly hike is a 4×4 road (which can by bypassed hiking the Wheeler Trail instead, but it’s well-worth it. In fact, this is one of the best lake hikes in Colorado. Lower and Upper Crystal Lake are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Local Tip: This is also the approach trail for Father Dyer and Crystal Peak.

  • Round Trip Distance: 8.4 miles along the Crystal Creek Road. A 4WD vehicle can make it up to the Spruce Creek Wheeler junction cuts about 1.8 miles out of this loop.
  • Elevation Gain: 2,568 feet or about 1,500 feet from the Spruce Creek Wheeler Junction
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Estimated Time: 4 hour 30 minutes
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.
beautiful hikes near breckenridge

8. Mowhawk Lakes Trail

This used to be a little-known trail that’s blown up in recent years, and for good reason! As one of the most beautiful hikes in Breckenridge, the steep trail leading to five (!!!) fantastic alpine lakes is a must-see.

  • Round Trip Distance: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,080 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed.

Local Tip: Pssst, this is one of the top snowshoeing trails in Breckenridge!

9. Mount Quandary Trail

If you’re up for a real butt-busting challenge, try your luck at one of Colorado’s easiest 14ers. Mount Quandary is no secret, but hiking to the top of this iconic peak is somewhat of a Colorado rite of passage.

Keep in mind, no mountain climb is easy so be prepared for your 14er hike. Start before 6 am to avoid storms.

Local Tip: As of July 30th, 2021 you must have an advanced permit reservation (this includes a shuttle reservation) to hike Quandary Peak.

  • Round Trip Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,339 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed, but be sure to protect their paws.

10. Fletcher Mountain Trail

If the crowds on Quandary don’t sound like your thing, then hike up to Fletcher (practically a 14er at 13,958 feet) instead. You can spot the crowds on Quandary from the top. Not to mention, this peak offers up some of the most gorgeous scenery from the Blue Lakes trail.

  • Round Trip Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,194 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours
  • Dog Friendly? yes, leashed, but be sure to protect their paws. Some scrambling required to reach the Fletcher Quandary saddle
hiking trail snear breckenrdige

11. Northstar Mountain Trail

If you love a good ridge run, then check out Northstar Mountain. It’s about as Class 2 as it gets until you need a helmet. As one of the best 13ers near Denver, Northstar is a must-hike.

Keep in mind you’ll wander nearly a mile along the ridge until you reach the true summit, but the effort is oh-so worth it!

  • Round Trip Distance: around 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,945 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Estimated Time: 4 hours
  • Dog Friendly? You are allowed to bring your dog, but there is a 2-mile section of tallus hopping and walking.

12. Father Dyer to Crystal Peak

Father Dyer to Crystal Peak offers up some of the most beautiful scrambling and hiking near Breckenridge. With low exposure, the East Ridge of Father Dyer is an excellent beginner scrambling route. Known for its solid rock and killer views, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Round Trip Distance: 6 miles, add another 1 to 1.5 miles for Crystal Peak
  • Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet, add another 500 vertical feet for Crystal Peak
  • Difficulty: Difficult, helmet required
  • Estimated Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Dog Friendly? no. Class 3 terrain
best hikes in breckenridge

13. Willow Lakes Trail

Best hiked between June and October, Willow Lakes Trail is tucked away inside the Gore Mountain Range and is a challenging, rugged trail (yes, you will probably burst into tears) that features an array of fins and spires for you to enjoy. Use the Willowbrook Trailhead near the Raven Golf Course at the end of Willowbrook Road and continue along the trail for impressive views of the Zodiac Spires along the way.

Pro Tip: If you can, park at the Boulder Creek trailhead and then spend the night so that you can watch the sunset here.

  • Round Trip Distance: 11.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,718 feet (most of it is in the last 3 miles)
  • Difficulty:
  • Estimated Time: 6 to 7 hours depending on how often you stop
  • Dog Friendly? yes

Quick tips for Hiking in Breckenridge

When it comes to hiking in Breckenridge, you want to be prepared. Mountain weather is unpredictable and quick, unexpected thunderstorms are common in the summer.

Here are a few quick Colorado hiking tips to help you stay safe:

  • Have the right hiking gear. Mountain hiking is demanding. Bring sturdy footwear, plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection. Always bring a rain layer and puffy layer in case the mountain weather turns on you.
  • Start early. Trailheads fill up quickly and you will want to beat summer thunderstorms.
  • Check the weather, up to the day of your hike. Every year people need to get rescued because they get caught above treeline in a thunderstorm. If the trail you’re hiking goes above 11,000 feet in elevation, be sure to be back in the trees by noon to avoid storms.
  • Leave it better than you found it. Take your dog poop with you as you hike and pack out all of your trash (this includes toilet paper). Stay on marked trails, don’t trample wildflowers, and follow all fire restrictions.

Where to Eat After Your Breckenridge Hike

Do you often dream of food after a big hike (raises hand)? There’s nothing more satisfying than having a guilt-free bite to eat after a big day wandering in the mountains.

Here are a few tasty places to grab a bite post-hike:

  • Ollies Bar and Grill
  • Relish
  • Smokin’ Yards (located in Idaho Springs, but a great option if you’re traveling from Denver)

This list of the best hikes in Breckenridge is sure to bring you the most breathtaking mountain scenery around. So strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails!

Let me plan your perfect Breckenridge hiking weekend

Wanna experience Breckenridge like a local, not a tourist? Let me do the heavy lifting with my fully customizable Breckenridge Hiking Weekend Itinerary.

You’ll get local hiking trail recommendations for all abilities, secret camping spots, fun-filled activities, and more in one grab-and-go digital itinerary.

Additional Colorado Adventure Resources

Wanna get more out of your Colorado adventure? Check out these amazing resources for all things adventure travel in Colorado:


Picture of Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

Hi There!

Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.