In winter, Breckenridge CO is a skier’s paradise. However, during the summer in Breckenridge, this historic mining town transforms into a family vacation destination, especially for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. Hiking is an easy and inexpensive way to get the family outdoors, all ages can participate and it requires no additional gear. Here are five family friendly hikes we’ve found in Breckenridge
Iowa Hill Mine Trail
The Iowa Hill Mine Trail is an easy 1.2 mile loop and a favorite of my eight-year-old. The trailhead is easy to find, right off Airport Road. The trail itself contains remnants of different types of mining equipment. Signage along the route tells the story of the mines and miners who worked there. Younger kids will enjoy discovering the old equipment and finding the miner’s cabin. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance leads a guided historic hike here for those who want to enter the miner’s cabin or just want more information than is available on the markers.
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Sawmill Creek Trail
The trailhead for the Sawmill Creek hike starts at the beginning of a ski-lift on Sawmill Road just off of Main Street. This easy 1.5 mile hike culminates at a mountain top reservoir where people fish and do stand up paddle boarding. We took a guided hike with the Breckenridge Recreation Center that focused on the flora and fauna along the trail. I especially loved talking with Rich, an ex-high school science teacher from Ohio who now lives in Breck. He told us how to differentiate between the fir, spruce and pine tree. The “friendly” fir is soft and the needles cannot be rolled. The “spikey” spruce’s needles roll. The pine tree needles come in pairs. Rich’s descriptions helped my three boys and me remember the difference. We used that information on subsequent self-guided hikes.
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Boreas Pass Trail
Boreas Pass is a roadway that used to be a railroad path. The paved road turns to dirt outside of the town of Breckenridge and is only open in the summer months. Once you hit dirt, it’s another six miles to drive before you get to the trailhead, which is also along the Continental Divide. We waited out a storm in the car at the pass. When we got out, my son watched the puddles running both east and west. There is a path on one side, but you blaze your own trail on the other. It’s a fun place to visit, even if you just go by car. You’ll pass an 1800’s water tower for the trains that road the pass and there is a box car and ranger station at the top.
Preston Ghost Town Trail
The Preston Ghost Town Trail is a bit hidden and starts off Tiger Road between Breckenridge and Frisco. There are no markers along the route, so to really learn about the history of the area, take the guided hike through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. Along the way are abandon mines and of course the town of Preston Mill. Most of the buildings in the town have fallen down, but you can still see the remains and get a feel for the heyday.
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McCollough Gulch Trail
The McCullough Gulch Trail is a bit longer (2.8 miles) and more strenuous, however, it’s worth it. According to my oldest, all hikes from here on out will be compared to this one. The path leads past sculpted mountains to a glacier lake and waterfall. We saw marmots and picas within the rocks and what we determined was an active miners cabin along the route. The pictures of this hike don’t do it justice. The mountains all around make you feel small and insignificant and coming upon the waterfalls and lake like discovering a paradise lost. My middle son took more than 100 pictures wearing out the battery in my iPhone.
– Explore more at Fieldtrips with Sue, a blog about things to do in metro Atlanta and beyond.