Quintessential mountain views, adrenaline-pumping fun, and tons of relaxing ways to enjoy the Rockies make Breckenridge, Colorado a happening place. In fact, with so many things to do in Breckenridge throughout the year, you’ll find yourself coming back to this vibrant mountain town again and again.
There are a wide array of Breckenridge activities for every kind of traveler. Thanks to the easy access from Denver and other Front Range cities, Breck (as the locals call it) has everything you need for a mountain adventure.
I’ve lived in Colorado for over 13 years and I visit Breck multiple times a year. At just 30 minutes from my house, it’s practically my hometown. So if you’re looking to enjoy the best things to do in Breckenridge like a local, not a tourist, you’re in the right place.
About this Guide to Things to Do in Breckenridge
When it comes to the best Breckenridge activities, you’re in the right place. Here’s what you’ll find inside this guide:
- Local info about visiting Breck including the best time to visit Breckenridge
- Tips for beating the crowds at Breck
- The best things to do in Breckenridge year-round
- A seasonal look at the hottest Breckenridge activities
- Additional local Colorado travel resources
Is Breckenridge Worth Visiting?
If you’ve never been to Breckenridge, yes it’s absolutely worth a visit! In fact, Breckenridge is consistently rated as one of the best Colorado mountain towns, so skipping out would be a shame. What makes Breck so great is that there is a wide variety of things to do that cater to virtually every taste.
So if you want to get into the backcountry, you can. Or if you prefer to cruise Main Street and window shop, you can do that too. There are easy and challenging activities. Things well suited for kids, and intense mountaineering objectives for those that really love type 2 fun.
The Best Time to Visit Breckenridge
Breckenridge is an amazing spot to visit year-round, but there are definitely two distinct seasons. Summer (particularly July and August) is the busiest time in Breckenridge. But with good reason. Most attractions (aside from snowy ones) are open. Not to mention Breck blooms with wildflowers in July.
Winter is another popular time since Breckenridge offers some of the best skiing near Denver. Snowy activities focus on the 4 nearby ski resorts. For this reason, many people consider Breck one of the top ski towns in Colorado.
During summer and winter, Breck can be crowded – we’ll get to that in a second – and expensive.
Fall is another busy time, but not quite as bad as winter and summer. September tends to be busy with local travelers looking to enjoy the fall colors in Colorado. October and November are particularly quiet and a great time to enjoy Breckenridge activities if you want to beat the crowds.
Spring is generally quiet too. The long lift lines of winter are gone (with the exception of Spring Break), but it’s not quite warm enough to enjoy summer activities.
Local Tip: Snow doesn’t melt at the higher elevations in Breckenridge until early June, so plan accordingly.
Beating the Crowds in Breckenridge
Without traffic, Breckenridge is about an hour and 45 minutes from Denver. During the summer and winter months, traffic getting to and from Breck and be horrendous. It’s not uncommon to sit in an hour or more of traffic along I-70 during the weekends.
If you’re looking to beat the crowds, then consider visiting Breckenridge during the week, when local travelers are workings. Another option is to leave before 5 am from Denver and plan to leave Breckenridge no later than 10 am if you’re traveling eastbound on I-70.
Another way to avoid crowds is to start your activities early. A lot of the best Breckenridge hikes get crowded by 7:30 am, so aim to be at trailheads early to stay one step ahead of the crowds.
How Long Should I Stay in Breckenridge?
As one of the top places to visit in Colorado, Breckenridge can be done as a short, or long trip. In fact, it’s a popular weekend trip from Denver or one of the top stops along a Colorado road trip itinerary.
A weekend will let you do a few Breckenridge activities and get a feel for the area. With 5 days to one week in Breckenridge, you’ll be able to explore the area fully, including a few stops in nearby towns.
However, if you’re crunched for time, no worries. Known as one of the top day trips from Denver, you could spend just a day in Breck and still get a flavor for the area.
Do I Need a Car to Visit Breckenridge?
That answer really depends. If you’re planning on staying primarily in town and perhaps visiting a few nearby spots such as Frisco, Dillion, or even Copper Mountain, then you won’t need a car while you’re in Breckenridge.
The main town is quite walkable and there is a free bus that goes from town to town and stops in many of the neighborhoods in Breck. Just be sure to check a map first. The Colorado Mountain Express offers a shuttle to and from the Denver airport too.
However, from a local perspective, it’s worth it to have a car when you visit Breckenridge. Simply put, you have more freedom. It’s easier to access hiking trails, sunset views, and really get into the mountains.
Local Tip: In the winter and early spring, you’ll want an all-wheel-drive vehicle per highway regulations. But during the summer, a small car will let you get to most places (just not 4×4 roads).
Things to Do in Breckenridge Year-Round
Finally, it’s time to dive into the most amazing things to do in Breckenridge. These year-round activities are suitable whenever you’re visiting Breck. Summer tends to lend itself to more outside time – think beer gardens and outdoor dining, while winter creates tranquil scenes.
Cruise Main Street
Historic Main Street in downtown Breckenridge is home to stunning buildings, cute shops, and plenty of awesome eateries. You can’t visit Breckenridge and not take a cruise through downtown. This free Breckenridge activity is a great way to unwind after some time in the mountains.
Drive Hoosier Pass
Highway 9 or Hoosier Pass delivers easy scenic driving right outside of Breckenridge. The road winds south through Blue River until it reaches Fairplay on the other side of the pass. Plenty of hiking and camping options exist along the road.
Since the road is paved, it’s maintained over winter and rarely closes making it ideal any time of year.
Local Tip: Sunrise from the top of Hoosier Pass is a real treat.
Ride the Free Gondola
The BreckConnect Gondola is completely free, providing easy access from downtown Breck to the bases of Peak 7 and 8. In general, the gondola is open and free for all riders. However, it does close from the day the ski resort closes until mid-June and from mid-September until the ski resorts open for maintenance.
Local Tip: The Tenmile Range is the name of the mountains near Breck. The name comes from 10 peaks (Peaks 1 through 10). Peak 1 is in nearby Frisco and Peak 10 is just outside of Breckenridge Resort.
Pan for Gold
As one of the most popular things to do in Colorado with kids, panning for gold is a time-honored tradition in Breckenridge. In fact, the town is founded on gold mining back in 1859. Learn how to pan for gold the old-fashioned way at one of the many mines and mining museums in the area.
Yes, you get to keep what you find!
Local Tip: Not all mining spots are open in winter, so check before you go.
Enjoy a Spa
If the dry air and long hikes have you feeling sore and rough, then book a spa day in Breckenridge! There are several different spas catering to different budgets, but each provides lovely services to revive those sore feet and give a little RnR. Spas are an awesome thing to do in Breckenridge any time of year.
Sip on a Brew
There are 8 different breweries in and around Breckenridge. So if you want to sip on something local, then a brew tour of Breckenridge is the perfect way to make that happen. Be sure to check out the Breckenridge Brewery and Pub (classic), the Breckenridge Taphouse, and Broken Compass Brewery.
Enjoy the Backstage Theatre
The Backstage Theatre puts on an array of plays year-round in Breckenridge. From kid’s performances to Broadway classics, this theater has an awesome lineup of entertainment to choose from. Perfect for an evening in or something to do when you’ve had your fill of outside time.
Catch a Sunset
Watching the sunset over the mountains is one of the most quintessential things to do in Colorado. Breck has plenty of perches to watch the changing of the day. A few fan favorites include:
- Sapphire Point Overlook
- Boreas Pass
- Ski Hill Road
Top Breckenridge Activities in Summer
When it comes to things to do in Breckenridge in summer, you’re literally spoiled for choice. From some of the most epic Colorado wildflower hikes to family-friendly river tubing, there’s something for everyone in this adventurous mountain town.
McCullough Gulch Trail near Breckenridge
Arguably one of the most famous hikes in Breck, this breathtaking 6.4-mile hike is a must-do. With 1,607 feet of elevation gain, you’ll feel the altitude on this hike. For the uninitiated, this will be a challenging adventure. However, by Colorado hiking standards, it’s a moderate day out.
Hike to Mohawk Lakes
Known as one of the top Colorado hikes, Mohawk Lakes needs to be on every hiker’s bucket list. Passing by 4 incredible alpine lakes, this challenging trail will certainly get your heart racing. At 8.4 miles round trip with just over 2,100 feet of gain, it’s a lung buster!
Local Tip: The trailhead will fill up by 8 am on weekends, so plan accordingly.
Summit Mount Quandary
Only avid hikers with plenty of mountain hiking experience should try and tackle the famous Mount Quandary. At 14,271 feet above sea level, this is one of Colorado’s famous 14ers, or mountains over 14,000 feet tall.
Quandary has the reputation of being one of the easiest Colorado 14ers, but don’t be fooled. Nothing about this exceptionally challenging hike is easy and out-of-towners get rescued here every year.
Be in the know before you go with the right way to hike your first 14er. You’ll want to start very early in the morning – think before 4 am – to avoid dangerous afternoon thunderstorms.
Local Tip: As one of the most accessible 14ers near Denver, this trail gets mega crowded. You’ll need to reserve an advanced parking permit or opt to take the shuttle (very crowded), in order to reach the trailhead.
Check Out the Peak 8 Fun Park
For a high-altitude adventure the whole family will love, spend the day at the Peak 8 Fun Park. Featuring all sorts of exciting adventure opportunities you can get a rush by:
- Riding a mountain coaster
- Enjoying a bungee trampoline
- and more!
Go Mountain Biking
Breckenridge is a hot spot for single-track rides that you don’t want to miss. Some of the top mountain biking trails in Colorado can be found in and around Breck. Although riding in the mountains is a real challenge, there are options for all abilities. A few fan favorites include:
- Peaks Trail: Easy
- Boreas Pass Road: Easy
- Galena Gulch: Challenging
- Colorado Trail: Challenging
- Breckenridge Flumes: Challenging
Try Fly Fishing
Another popular summer pastime in Colorado is to hit the river and fish for trout. You can take fly fishing lessons or opt to pick up a fishing license and try some of the top honey holes in the state. Lessons last anywhere from a few hours to a full day and often include equipment rental.
Backpack the Colorado Trail
As one of the top backpacking routes in Colorado, the 486-mile Colorado Trail winds its way from Denver to Durango. What makes the Colorado Trail so special, is it’s the highest thru-hike in America.
Fortunately, the hike is divided into segments, making them more accessible for those that don’t have a month to hike across the state.
Segments 6 of the Colorado Trail and Segment 7 skirts Breckenridge, making them an ideal option if you want to spend a few days putting miles in on this iconic hike. The segments meet up along the road into Breckenridge, with a convenient shuttle stop along the way.
Spend Time on the Blue River Recpath
A 7.5-mile path that goes between Breckenridge and nearby Frisco, this lovely paved route offers stunning views, access to the Dillion Reservoir, and a chance to dip your toes into the (cold) Blue River. It’s an easier bike ride – the preferred method of travel – so be sure to pack a few snacks and hit the trail.
Camp Under the Stars
Spend the weekend relaxing in the mountains at one of the many campgrounds near Breck. As a favorite Breckenridge activity, pitching your tent is a great way to get into nature. The peak One Campground, Windy Point Group Campground, and Prospector Campground are closest to Breck.
Local Tip: There are plenty of awesome places to find free camping near Breckenridge if you know where to look.
Enjoy the Epic Discovery Park
For a real rush, book a day at the Breckenridge Epic Discovery Park. Popular during the summer months, this above treeline adventure park features plenty of controlled obstacle courses the whole family will love. You’ll be able to enjoy activities like:
- Zip Line
- Climbing wall
- Alpine challenge course
- alpine slide
- and more
Things to Do in Breckenridge, CO in Fall
Fall in Colorado is truly a magical time – especially when the aspens are changing colors. If you’re looking for incredible options to enjoy the color displays, look no further than Breckenridge.
Drive Boreas Pass Road
Boreas Pass Road is a 22-mile stretch of dirt road that winds its way through the Rockies from Breck to Como. Open from June through October, this fantastic Colorado fall drive is a must-do.
Of course, you can make the trek in summer, but during September you can cruise through stunning aspen groves. Not to mention some of the best free camping in Colorado can be found along the way.
Hike the Peaks Trail
As one of the most popular fall hikes in Colorado, the Peaks Trail is an excellent option for hikers who want all of the mountain beauty without the intense efforts of high elevation gains.
At 13.8 miles round trip, it’s a moderate jaunt if you choose to do the whole thing. However, with only 435 feet of elevation gain, it’s flat. So if you go only a little way, it can be an easy way to stroll in the aspens.
Enjoy the Sawmill Reservoir
An easy 1.3-mile loop trail takes you to the scenic Sawmill Reservoir. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch at the tranquil waters. Or you can fish (catch-and-release) under the stunning mountain scenery. There are lots of places to stop and rest too.
Go on a Ghost Tour
Get spooked by learning about Breckenridge’s haunted past. Perfect in October when the eerie winds roll in, take a haunted tour to the famous Briggle house, and more.
Things to Do in Breckenridge in Winter
Winter is the second high season in Breckenridge. There are plenty of things to do in Breckenridge in winter that you won’t want to miss out on – even if you don’t hit the slopes.
Ski and Ride at Breckenridge Resort
Breckenridge Resort delivers over 2,900 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski resorts in Colorado. There’s plenty of terrain for beginners and experts alike. However, Breckenridge Resort is no secret! Expect long lift lines and crazy traffic on weekends.
Go Cross Country Skiing
The Breckenridge Nordic Center is a mega-huge cross-country skiing area. Boasting over 108 miles of trails, you could spend days here skating across beautiful alpine scenes. Lessons and rentals are available for newbie skiers. Not to mention, there are even a few dog-friendly routes.
Attend the Ice Sculpture Competition
The International Snow Sculpture Championships happen in Breckenridge every year. In fact, as one of the best Breckenridge activities, it’s almost a rite of passage for a Colorado resident to check out the show.
Happening in late January through early February (2023 dates have yet to be announced) you can walk these amazing works of art.
Go Snowshoeing in Breckenridge
One of the best things to do in Colorado besides ski is to strap on your snowshoes and hit the trails. With plenty of options for snowshoeing in Breckenridge, you can learn the ropes or get out on a fulfilling day in the snow.
Local Tip: Avalanche hazards are real and kill snowshoers every year, even on mellow trails. Be sure to understand avalanche risks and assess terrain before you head out.
Hike to the Top of Peak 9
Okay, so technically you can only do this in winter if you are skiing at Breckenridge Resort, but if you’re an advanced skier and rider read on.
Hike to the highest point in the resort and ski from the top of a 13,000-plus foot peak! Put those skis over your shoulder and make the schlep to the top of the mountain for 360-degree views and one heck of a ride back down.
Good Times Adventures Dog Sledding and Snowmobiling
For a truly unique winter experience, book a dog sledding tour or opt to go snowmobiling. The Good Times Kennel offers an incredible chance to learn about mushers and their dog teams. You’ll even get a chance to play with the dogs and drive the sled.
If dog sledding isn’t your thing, they offer motor-powered snowmobiling tours too.
Breckenridge, CO Activities Perfect for Spring
Spring is a slow season for things to do in Breckenridge. Most of the thrill of winter is long gone, but the snowy trails and closed roads make summer exploits a little tough. That isn’t to say it’s not worth a visit – spring is quiet and you won’t find a lot of traffic along I-70 so it’s still an ideal time to visit.
During the earlier months of spring, you can still get your turns in at one of the 4 ski resorts near Breckenridge. Diehards are still sending hard, while backcountry enthusiasts are getting out into the high country with more stable conditions.
No matter how you ride, you can still enjoy awesome spring skiing. In fact, it’s one of the top things to do in Breckenridge this time of year. The best part? Ski traffic and lift lines aren’t quite as much of a nightmare.
Visit the Breckenridge Troll
Take the whimsical Trollstigen Trail from the Stephen C West Ice Arena parking lot to meet Breckenridge’s most interesting resident. The Isak Heartstone troll lives along this easy, kid-friendly hike. Made from recycled materials by artist Thomson Dambo, this fun forest creature is worth saying high to.
Local Tip: You can visit the troll year-round, but spring is the least crowded time. Plan on hiking over snow and pack out all of your trash.
Spend Time at the Breckenridge Rec Center
This 69,000 square foot community space has plenty on offer if the weather doesn’t play nice. Enjoy indoor tennis, an indoor pool with slides, a dance studio, and more. Not to mention there are several outdoor spaces including soccer fields, a lit skate park, and more. The rec center is open to everyone, but a fee is required.
Skate at the Stephen C West Ice Arena
The Stephen C West Ice Arena boasts year-round access to all things ice sports. Completely open to the public, this arena has rentals, lessons, free skate time, programs, and more. Be sure to check out their calendar in order to book your day on the ice.
Go on a Fat Bike Ride
Largely known as a winter activity, early spring fat biking is actually better. Why? Because the snow has compacted a bit with the warmer temperatures. This means when you step off your bike, you won’t sink to your waist in the snow (speaking from experience here).
Rent a fat bike and hit up some of the easier fat biking trails right near Breck this spring. It’s a great way to spend the day and try something new.
Local Tips for Visiting Breckenridge
When it comes to visiting Breckenridge like a local. There are a few important things you should know.
Practice Leave No Trace. No one comes to clean up after you here. Always follow all signs and ranger instructions. Pack out your dog poop (carry it with you). And bring a small baggie to pack out trash, toilet paper, food wrappers, and fruit peels in any outdoor space.
Adjust to the altitude. Breckenridge is 9,600 feet above sea level. Be sure to acclimatize to the altitude properly by drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol for 24 hours, and moving slowly.
Follow all fire bans. Fire bans, including campfires and charcoal grill use, are quite common in and around Summit County during the summer months. Every year, people start fires in Colorado and it devastates our landscape. Read up on current fire bans before heading out.
Watch out for storms. July is the monsoon season in Breckenridge. Meaning violent, quick thunderstorms move through the mountains almost daily anytime after noon. These storms trap hikers and lightning strikes are common. Plan to be below treeline (where the trees still grow) by 11 am if you’re hiking at high altitude.
Plan for traffic. I-70 traffic is real from June through September and December through March. If you’re traveling on a weekend, delays can be anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours (yes, true story). Bring water, snacks, and blankets for the car.
Okay, So How Do I Spend a Day in Breckenridge?
Now that you know all of the amazing things to do in Breckenridge, what do you do if you just have one day? The answer largely depends on the time of year you’re visiting.
To make the most of one day in Breckenridge, plan one early-morning activity such as a hike, a day on the slopes, or some type of tour. Then afterward, head downtown for something to eat or drink.
Local Tip: If you’re traveling on a weekend, it will probably be best to wait until 6 or 7 pm once the traffic starts to clear.
Additional Local Colorado Travel Resources
Wanna experience the best of Colorado like a local, not a tourist? Here are a few locally-curated resources for you.