13 free things to do in Breckenridge
Looking to explore Breckenridge? You’re in luck because there are so many ways to explore the community without spending a dime. Here is a taste of what the region has to offer.
Visit the Breckenridge Troll
Your visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Breckenridge Troll known as Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge’s most popular outdoor art exhibit. The Troll is a 15 foot tall wooden sculpture created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. To find it, locate the Trollstigen Trailhead near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead. There is parking near the trailhead, or you can visit GoBreck.com for instructions on how to walk downtown.
Visit the main street
There is so much to do along Main Street that your trip will undoubtedly take you to this hot spot. The stretch is full of shops, restaurants and more. Pro tip: If you’re not in the mood for the streets, take the Breck Free Ride trolley for a free ride for residents and visitors. Visit BreckFreeRide.com for information on timetables and routes.
Visit the Blue River Plaza
Stop at the Blue River Plaza to take in the views and visit the Breckenridge Visitor Center. The staging area is a popular location for events, and people are welcome to splash around in the water. There is also a sandbox and a mini playground for the little ones.
Go on a scenic route
When in doubt, driving in the area is the best way to get multiple viewpoints. One way to do this is to take a trip down Boreas Pass Road, a historic railway line that has been converted into a road for cars. The climb takes visitors to the Continental Divide and offers stunning views. As well as Boreas Pass Road, it’s worth getting out of town a bit and taking Swan Mountain Road, which connects Breckenridge to Keystone.
Take a hike or a walk
Hiking is another way to experience the epic views of Breckenridge. There are tons of trails in the area, but some of the more popular trails are McCullough Gulch, Mohawk Lakes, and Rainbow Lake. The Blue River Recpath, Blue Lakes Trail, and Indian Gulch Trail are also great for beginners.
Visit a local park
Breckenridge is home to some worthy parks for a few hours. Carter Park & Pavilion has a ton of amenities like tennis courts, dog park, pickleball courts, beach volleyball courts and more. Those who enjoy skateboarding should visit Breckenridge Skate Park and – for even more thrills – Kingdom Park has a whitewater kayaking park.
To ride a bike
The hike is great, but if you want to cover more miles, hop on your bike and take trails like the Lower Flume or the B&B Trail. While you’re at it, test your ATV skills along the Colorado Trail or the Wheeler Pass. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Explore Summit Bike guide for information on the trails in the area.
Explore the Breckenridge Arts District
If admiring artistic creations is more your style, then a visit to the Breckenridge Arts District is a must. The focal point of the area is the Arts Campus which frequently hosts events and workshops. The neighborhood has a few historic buildings, all with a variety of art studio equipment and tools. Before you go, be sure to walk around the Old Masonic Hall for the latest gallery exhibits.
Ride in a gondola
If you’re trying to make the climb without straining your legs, then take a ride on the BreckConnect Gondola. Carriers carry passengers from Breckenridge to Peak 8 and offer splendid mountain views. Once at the top, visitors can hike or pay to enjoy the zipline, ropes course and more.
Mosey through the Breckenridge Sunday Market
Perhaps one of the best ways to get to know a city is to visit its local farmers market. Held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., this market is splendid, even if you don’t spend any money. Visitors can shop among the many vendors selling skin care products, food products, clothing, gifts, jewelry, art, specialty food items and more.
Soak up a bit of history
Did you know that there are tons of free museums and centers to visit in the area? Breckenridge is home to many exhibits and museums like the Barney Ford House Museum, which features the story of a prominent black Colorado businessman born into slavery. Visitors can also explore the Edwin Carter Discovery Center, which is dedicated to a man who worked to preserve various Rocky Mountain species. Visit BreckHeritage.com for details on additional museums and for information on hours.
entertain the children
If you have children during your visit, try to take them to Peak-A-Boo Toys. The toy store has a free play area. Additionally, families should visit River Park and Playground for an “artificially designed” playground for children ages 5 to 12. Out of energy? Then take them to the South Branch of the Summit County Library at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, story time for preschoolers. The library also offers crafts to take away.
Visit a local mine
Breckenridge got its start as a mining town, and some of that culture can still be learned today. Visit the Country Boy Mine grounds as you stroll around the pond, read its history, and descend its ore slide. (Note: Other field activities are chargeable.) Visitors can also explore the Washington Mine Site and the B&B Grinding and Mine Exhibit at the B&B Mine Trailhead.
This story was previously published in the summer edition of Explore Breckenridge & Summit County magazine.