Stuck in the mud: Things to do in Summit County before the snow flies |

Stuck in the mud: Things to do in Summit County before the snow flies

Chan Zwanzig of Steamboat Springs navigates a stretch of the Lower Blue last fall.
Sebastian Foltz / | Summit Daily

With Arapahoe Basin’s white ribbon looking like the only ski option — at least until next week — it appears that mud season will linger just a little bit longer. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit around twiddling your thumbs and forlornly looking at your ski gear.

Mud season’s biggest secret might just be that there’s actually a lot to do while you’re waiting for the snow to fall. With more warm weather in the forecast, it looks like all of you who have been posting to Facebook about not being ready for winter got your wish. In related news, if you guys could start thinking and posting about snow the rest of us would appreciate it. In the meantime, we’re offering up a couple ways to pass the time before ski season starts firing on all cylinders.

Paddling and fishing seasons continue

You read that right, there’s still kayaking to be had and it’s right down the street on the Blue River. The Class III stretch of the Lower Blue — right below Green Mountain Reservoir — is still pumping out at around 700 CFS. That water level is enough to cover most rocks and keep it at a great splash level. A drytop and a nice warm base layer are necessities at this time of year. The Lower Blue section is a great stretch for beginner and intermediate paddlers, but be cautious of the two man-made diversion dams toward the end of the run. Both can be safely run through a line toward the center of the pour-over, and both are easy to portage.

The run takes you down an isolated scenic canyon behind Green Mountain, far removed from Highway 9. The short stretch can be run fairly quickly — and it’s a popular fly-fishing site, either from shore below the dam or by floating it with a small fishing raft. A recent trip down the stretch found our group of four joined by two other paddlers for a sweet morning paddling session. Access from below the dam requires navigating a steep slope to get to the river.

Another option is the popular Upper C stretch of the Colorado River, between Pumphouse and Burns, which is flowing at about 1,100 CFS.

Still time to ride

While this time of year is traditionally Moab season for avid mountain bikers, there are still a lot of options closer to home. The town of Breckenridge’s most recent trail conditions report describes most lower elevation trails in and around Breck as dry and rideable. It’s a good idea to visit the website for conditions before heading out, or take note of the muddy meters on certain trails. Also keep in mind, when encountering a muddy stretch, county officials encourage riders to ride or walk through it. Walking around can lead to unintentional trail widening.

If you find time to skip out of the county, a quick trip down to lower elevations in either Eagle or Fruita also are good options this time of year.

The trail conditions report is available at

Shred the new skatepark in Breck

The new Breckenridge Skateboard Park, which opened Oct. 8, continues to be a popular place to be this time of year. The completely overhauled park is now more than twice the size of the original. Breckenridge Recreation Center officials have reported a surprising number of area skaters taking advantage of recent warm weather. The park will remain open as long as conditions allow. It’s open to skateboarders and BMX riders. And if skating’s not your thing, it’s still worth checking out some of our county’s local talent shredding it up.

Get rad at Woodward

With the inevitable rain-snow mix on the way, there are indoor options worth looking into. Since finishing its remodel, Woodward at Copper has increased its focus on beginner programs and skill progression. The indoor freeski, snowboard training and skateboard facility has been trying to capitalize on a family-friendly environment while still catering to the avid big-air skiers and boarders looking to fine-tune in the foam. Try a beginner session and you might find yourself matched up with a family of four learning the basics on the trampolines and foam pits. Woodward is open on weekends until Copper Mountain opens for the ski season Friday, Oct. 31, then it will be open seven days a week. Check the website for first-timer deals and season-pass options

More information is available at

Climb to the top

The Summit County Climbing Gym co-op is another popular indoor option. The large facility, located behind Sears in Silverthorne, opened a year ago as a membership co-op and has been growing ever since. Prospective members need to pass a basic climbing certification in order to show they can tie the appropriate knots and have basic climbing experience. Personal climbing gear — other than ropes — is required at the gym. Monthly, six-month and annual memberships are available. Guests can also pay a daily rate.

Hours and other information are available at

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