Top summer picnic spots in mountain towns near Denver
Who wants to eat meals inside when you are surrounded by gorgeous scenery, such as we have here in Summit County? That is, unless you have a window or deck with views. For those of us who don’t, or those of us who just prefer to spend as much time outside as possible, the below list covers some of the best picnic spots in our area. Whether you are looking for a place close to town or a getaway to catch complete solitude, Summit County has you covered.
• The field outside of the Riverwalk Center, called The Blue River Plaza, is a great option for those looking to picnic close to town. This open space offers plenty of room to spread out a blanket and relax to the sounds of the Blue River, which runs right by the Riverwalk Center. This spot’s close proximity to downtown Breckenridge allows you to grab food to go from a restaurant for your picnic. Take a break, catch a bite to eat and catch great views of the slopes by the river.
• Want to get a glimpse of Colorado history and killer views from a mountain pass? Boreas Pass Road, at the southern end of Main Street, takes you up old rail line for about 6 miles, part of which is dirt road. At the top of this pass are forests of pine and aspen, blooming wildflowers, abandoned mining structures and old locomotives. Views into Park County and Breckenridge village are accessible, too. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic at high elevation.
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• From Second Avenue in downtown Frisco, Rainbow Lake is a 0.75 mile walk through lodge pole pine and aspen groves. This pristine alpine lake is a great picnic companion. Want to make this picnic spot even more remote? The Miner’s Creek Road and Peaks Trail, among others, are accessible from the lake for those that want to venture even farther out. Pick up a sandwich from Deli Belly’s or something quick from Whole Foods to enjoy on this beautiful walk in the woods.
• The Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area offers a wide array of picnicking opportunities. If you are heading towards Breckenridge (south) on Highway 9, turn at the traffic light for Recreation Way, then onto Crown Point Road. Trails from here wind through the alpine forests and along Lake Dillon’s shores. There are designated picnic areas, fields to set up a blanket in, and plenty of sandy lakeshore to picnic. Get lost on the Peninsula trails and find yourself a perfect picnic spot.
• Sapphire Point Overlook Trail is an easy jaunt accessible from Swan Mountain Road, adjacent to Highway 9. Directly off of Swan Mountain Road there is a parking area. From here, the short loop begins beside the bulletin board. You can follow this loop along Sapphire Point, where there are numerous opportunities to view Lake Dillon and the Tenmile Range. As you continue traversing the loop, past the first overlook spot, there are a couple picnic tables to use. Talk about a great place to enjoy a sunset dinner!
• Lower Cataract Lake is an easy out-and-back trail that is about 25 miles northwest of Silverthorne. To access this spot take Highway 9 north for about 16 miles, and a series of smaller roads lead you towards the lake. Parking is a 0.5 mile walk from the lake itself, and to completely loop Cataract Lake is 2 miles round trip. Although this spot is quite remote, the views of wildflowers, waterfalls and mountains are worth the drive. With easy access to the lake from your car, this is an ideal place for a picnic stop.
• Officers Gulch Pond is an easy exit from I-70 (east of Copper Mountain and west of Frisco), and is about 4 miles from downtown Frisco. Once you take the Officer’s Gulch exit, there is an obvious parking lot near the pond. Surrounding the pond are a series of trails that lead to secluded fishing and camping spots, as well as ruins from an old mining settlement. Along the pond’s perimeter are plenty of large rocks and grassy knolls to enjoy a picnic on. From every angle in the gulch there are incredible views.
• Looking to have a secluded picnic? As you travel east on Highway 6 toward Keystone turn right onto Montezuma Road. Follow the road for about 4.5 miles until you see a red flag hanging on the left-hand side of the road. This will be your signal to turn onto Peru Creek Road. As you follow Peru Creek Road you will see plenty of picnic spots. There are a few picnic tables scattered about, and grassy knolls to spread out on. Here you are unlikely to see another soul, but mountain views are guaranteed.
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