Things to do during Summit County’s slow seasons
Mud season. The name says it all. While the sloppy trails keep some tourists away, the spring off-season is actually a time to break out and try some new adventures. After most of the resorts stop spinning their lifts in April, there’s a quietness around Summit County where residents have a chance to recharge and enjoy the season before summer hits.
While we call it the off-season, there are still plenty of activities and things to do around the county. In fact, it’s one of the best times of the year to find deals at local eateries and businesses. It’s also one of the best times to get outside and revel in the solitude.
Hike along Lake Dillon (free)
While most of the trails are a muddy mess, the Summit County recpath system is a great option to stretch the legs. The recpath has plenty of routes to choose from with a variety of difficulty levels. For pathway locations, rules, regulations, etiquette guidelines and ADA accessibility information, go to: SummitCountyCo.gov/1130/Recreational-Pathway
Road biking (free with your own bike)
Bring your bike and cruise along the recpath system or on the roads. For a challenge, ride the 18-mile, 1,100-foot climb around Lake Dillon. The route has one significant climb and descent over Swan Mountain Road on the south side of the lake. A round trip from Breckenridge will extend the ride even further, for 31 miles with 1,600 feet of climb.
Bike and ski (free/$)
Bike and ski all in the same day by packing your gear and riding eastbound up Highway 6 to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, the resort in Summit County that stays open the longest. Expect A-Basin to be open through at least May, but depending on snow conditions it sometimes stays open through the month of June. In a really good snow year, you might even be able to ski into June or July, making a ski-in-the-morning, golf-in-the-afternoon day possible.
Guided bike tours ($)
Discover Breckenridge on a bike with a guided tour from Breck Bike Guides (CycleBreck.com) or Colorado Adventure Guides (ColoradoAdventureGuides.com). Kick it up a notch and take a guided fat bike beer and distillery tour with Ridden Breckenridge (BreckenridgeBikeTours.com).
Ski and music (free/$)
Ski during the day or just come for the free music on Saturdays at Arapahoe Basin. The ski area’s Shakin’ at the Basin Spring Concert series begins April 27 with music from 1–4 p.m. in the Mountain Goat Plaza base area. For more information, go to ArapahoeBasin.com/events/
Take the Summit Stage from Keystone or town, visit SummitStage.com for route information and times.
Guided fly-fishing on the Blue ($)
While the spring runoff can make the temperatures in the Blue River downright chilly, those willing to suit up and brave the water will be rewarded. Water temperature fluctuates from February through March or April, and the bugs begin to hatch, according to the crew at Cutthroat Anglers. Fish such as rainbow trout and cutthroat trout are very active this time of year feeding on the bugs before they start to spawn.
“You definitely want to wear waders, that’s the main difference,” a Cutthroat Anglers manager said about fly-fishing in the spring compared to the summer. “Don’t hesitate to get out and give it a try.”
Don’t have your own gear or just want to find the best fishing holes? Check out these local shops for guided trips:
Cutthroat Anglers: 400 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne. 970-262-2878
The Colorado Angler: 249 Summit Place, Silverthorne. 970-513-8055
Mountain Angler: 311 S. Main St., Breckenridge. 800-453-4669
Trouts Fly Fishing: 309 Main St., Frisco. 970-668-2583
Breckenridge Outfitters: 101 N. Main St. B, Breckenridge. 970-453-4135
Early season rafting ($)
May can be a fantastic time to go rafting: river flow is high, there are less people on the water and some outfitters offer early season discounts. Weather does play a part in early season rafting and May in Colorado is unpredictable, said Lauren Swanson, marketing and relations manager for Performance Tours Rafting.
“Weather in Colorado varies minute-by-minute and sometimes mile-by-mile,” she said. “We recommend getting the gear to prepare for colder water and changing conditions. Opt for the wetsuit, splash jacket and bootie rentals. You can also bring additional layers made from quick-dry outdoor materials like wool, fleece, micro-fleece, polyester and waterproof layers.”
While bigger spring flows equal more excitement, they aren’t always for beginners. Check with your local rafting company on river flows, which can vary from day to day in May. Swanson said sometimes they will raise the minimum age on specific trips or pull off some of the class 4+ sections during peak flows for safety.
“We will always communicate these changes with our guests and offer alternative options customized to their experience and expectations,” she said. “Because we are able to make these decisions for the safety of our guests, we are confident that early season rafting is a great experience for all skill levels and abilities.”
Escape rooms ($)
The weather in the spring can be variable, with warm temperatures and sunny skies one day and dumping snow the next. For those looking to stay indoors but still be entertained, check out Summit County’s escape rooms. The game involves getting a group of players together to solve puzzles and riddles using clues hidden around a room in order to “escape” within the allowed time.
“Escape Rooms are such a unique experience for all ages — everybody can have fun,” said Nicolette Cusick, owner of Escape Room Breckenridge. “They are a great way for family, friends or co-workers to work together and bond. It is also great during mud season because it is indoors so weather is not a factor.”
Voted “best indoor activity” in the Summit Daily’s annual Best of Summit contest, Escape Room Breckenridge was the first escape room to open in the county. EscapeRoomBreckenridge.com
Brewery tour ($)
There are an abundance of breweries in Summit County, requiring a designated driver and multiple days to try them all. Here’s the list by town:
Broken Compass Brewing: 68 Continental Court Unit B-12
Breckernridge Brewery & Pub: 600 S. Main St.
HighSide Brewing: 720 Main St.
Outer Range Brewing Company: 182 Lusher Court, Frisco
The Bakers’ Brewery: 531 Silverthorne Lane
Angry James Brewing Company: 421 Adams Ave.
Pug Ryan’s Brewery: 104 Village Place
Dillon Dam Brewery: 100 Little Dam St.
Recreation Center ($)
Get a day pass at either the Breckenridge or Silverthorne recreation centers and let the kids run loose. The recently remodeled Breckenridge Recreation Center offers all the traditional workout spaces plus a gymnasium, racquetball court, indoor rock-climbing wall and aerobic/dance studios. The aquatics area features lap and leisure pools, the Summit Plummit water slide, coed sauna, and indoor and outdoor hot tubs. 880 Airport Road. 970-453-1734.
The Silverthorne Recreation Center has a large aquatics area, gymnasium, indoor track, fitness equipment and offers classes for all levels. The rec center also offers on-site child care for parents using the facility. 430 Rainbow Drive, Silverthorne. 970-272-7370.
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