13 free things to do in Breckenridge
You don’t have to spend money on expensive excursions to get to know Breckenridge. Instead, take advantage of these activities
Looking to explore Breckenridge? You’re in luck because there are tons of ways to explore the community without spending a dime. Here’s a taste of what the area has to offer.
Visit the Breckenridge troll
Your visit wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Breckenridge troll known as Isak Heartstone, the most popular outdoor art exhibit in Breckenridge. The troll is a 15-foot tall wooden sculpture created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. To find him, locate the Trollstigen Trailhead near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead. There’s parking near the trailhead, or you can visit GoBreck.com for instructions on how to walk from downtown.
Visit Main Street
There’s so much to do along Main Street that your trip will undoubtedly lead you to this hot spot. The stretch has tons of shops, restaurants and more. Pro tip: If you aren’t in the mood to walk up and down the street, catch the Breck Free Ride trolley bus for a ride that is free to residents and visitors. Visit BreckFreeRide.com for schedule and route information.
Visit the Blue River Plaza
Stop by the Blue River Plaza to take in the views and visit the Breckenridge Welcome Center. The gathering area is a popular spot for events, and people are welcome to splash in the water. There’s also a sandbox and mini play area for younger kids.
Go for a scenic drive
When in doubt, driving around the area is the best way to get multiple vantage points. One way to do that is to take a trip up Boreas Pass Road, a historic rail line that was converted into a road for cars. The climb takes visitors up to the Continental Divide and offers stunning views. In addition to Boreas Pass Road, it’s worth it to head a little outside of town and drive Swan Mountain Road, which connects Breckenridge with Keystone.
Go for a hike or a walk
Hiking is another means to experience Breckenridge’s epic views. There are tons of trails in the area, but some of the most 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 a couple of parks worthy of a few hours. Carter Park & Pavilion has a ton of amenities like tennis courts, a dog park, pickleball courts, sand volleyball courts and more. Those who like to skateboard should visit Breckenridge Skate Park and — for even more of a thrill — Kingdom Park has a whitewater kayak park.
Hop on a bike
Hiking is just fine, but if you want to cover more miles, then hop on your bike and take to trails like the Lower Flume or B&B Trail. While you’re out there, test your mountain biking skills along the Colorado Trail or Wheeler Pass. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Explore Summit Bike Guide for information about trails throughout the area.
Explore the Breckenridge Arts District
If gawking at 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 that frequently hosts events and workshops. The district has a few historic buildings, all of which have a variety of amenities and art studio tools. Before you leave, make sure to wander into the Old Masonic Hall for the latest gallery exhibitions.
Ride the gondola
If you’re trying to make the climb without wearing down your legs, then take a ride on the BreckConnect Gondola. The carriers transport passengers from Breckenridge to Peak 8 and provide splendid views of the mountain. Once at the top, visitors can hike or pay to take advantage of the zip line, ropes course and more.
Mosey through the Breckenridge Sunday Market
Perhaps one of the best ways to get to know any town 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 window shop the many vendors selling skin care products, produce, apparel, gifts, jewelry, art, specialty food items and more.
Soak up some history
Did you know 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 history of a prominent, Black Colorado businessman who was 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 more details about additional museums and for information about hours.
Entertain the kiddos
If you’ve got children in tow during your visit, then try taking them to Peak-A-Boo Toys. The toy store has a free play area. Additionally, families should visit River Park and Playground for an “artfully designed” play area for kids ages 5-12. Running out of energy? Then take them to Summit County Library’s south branch location at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays when there’s storytime for preschool-age children. The library usually has to-go crafts, too.
Visit a local mine
Breckenridge got its start as a mining town, and some of that culture can still be learned today. Visit Country Boy Mine’s grounds by walking around the pond, reading about its history and taking a ride down its ore shoot slide. (Note: Other activities on the grounds do come with a fee.) Visitors can explore the Washington Mine Site and Milling Exhibit and the B&B Mine at the B&B Mine Trailhead, as well.
This story previously published in the summer edition of Explore Breckenridge & Summit County magazine.
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