Fall Adventure Activities Off the Slopes in Breckenridge, Colorado
You guys, Breckenridge, Colorado in the fall is a freak of nature. Generally, ski towns have always been one-dimensional to me. And as I mentioned in my Breckenridge photo essay, the Colorado ski towns have always especially been so. Kind of like Westerns, where once you’ve seen one, you don’t ever have to see one again. Right? Wrong! As it turns out, Breckenridge is off the charts in the fall. So today, to quote Bilbo Baggins, we’re going on an adventure, off the slopes in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Last week I wrote about hiking in Breckenridge, and did I ever have something to say about it because there are a lot of hikes. Breckenridge may just be the best hiking destination I’ve ever visited. There, I said it. One of the most popular hiking trails in Breckenridge is Boreas Pass (which I talk more about below), which is the place for fall foliage in Breckenridge, but also features great views of the town of Breckenridge and Tenmile Range.
Closer to Breckenridge, however, was my favorite hike, Spruce Creek Trail, which includes a hike to a number of lakes, Continental Falls, and the likelihood of seeing unique wildlife (while I saw a moose, you’re probably more likely to see a unicorn). Lastly, further afield is Hoosier Pass, standing at 11,542 feet (and that’s the elevation before you even begin hiking), which is located on the Continental Divide and includes several hikes, some of which meander down to lakes and others that summit 13,000-foot mountains, such as North Star Mountain.
Hike a 14er
It’s only appropriate that Breckenridge would have its own 14er, Quandary Peak, since it is located in a county called Summit County. Even better, it’s a great Colorado 14er hike for beginners, largely because of a relatively easy ascent. And if I would’ve had one more day, I would have summited it (or at least attempted to). Rated as Class 1 hiking with an elevation gain of 3,500 feet and 6.75 miles round-trip, this is one of the easier, more accessible 14,000-foot hikes in Colorado. However, do your research. Start early (as in well before sunrise) during the summer months, since you don’t want to be caught above the tree line during one of Colorado’s token afternoon thunderstorms. And take tons of water. While it may be a Class 1 hiking trail, it’s still 14,000 feet and not your everyday six-mile hike.
But if you think the hiking is good in Breckenridge, you should see the mountain biking. Many of my favorite hiking trails in Breckenridge doubled as great bicycling trails, such as Spruce Creek Trail, which isn’t great for biking at the higher elevations, but has great routes on the bottom section of the trailhead, weaving through thick forest but with views, too, of Continental Falls.
What’s great about the biking trails in Breckenridge is that many of them you can ride to from your hotel, such as some of the trails just off Wellington Road (which is off Main Street), including Reiling Dredge, Sallie Barber Mine, and Barney Ford, some of which pass by old mining ruins. Also convenient to the town of Breckenridge are the Upper and Lower Flume trails, which my fellow Breckenridge co-conspirators (or rather, awesome traveling writers and photographers), Laura Lawson Visconti and Amy Whitley, both rode down. The flume trail network is largely great for beginners, though the Upper Flume Trail is steep and could prove challenging.
No, there wasn’t any snow when I visited Breckenridge in the fall a couple weeks ago, but yes I dogsledded. Was it an illusion? No, and that’s because summer dogsledding is a thing. And it is awesome. It’s like downhill bicycling meets dogsledding, where you have a pair of Siberian huskies guiding your light scooter down trails deep in the cut of the Breckenridge mountains.
What I loved so much about dog sledding with Snow Caps was how much I got to experience their daily life and routine. It began with a tour of the dogs’ homes, where I got to meet all of the dogs (and there are a LOT), as they were finishing breakfast, including a number of pups that had been born in the last couple weeks. Siberian huskies require a large amount of exercise, and the warm-weather rides help fulfill that, while allowing visitors a unique way to see parts of Breckenridge that they’d otherwise not experience. Not to mention, it’s an adrenaline rush.
Bonus points, these dogs have a home for the rest of their lives, as Snow Caps has an adopt-a-sled-dog program. One of the many perks of their dog adoption program is that once you’ve adopted one of their dogs, if you’re going on vacation and can’t take them along, then you can simply drop them off at Snow Caps and they’ll take care of them for $10 a day. For those keeping track at home, that’s a steal!
Fall Foliage Drives
Naturally, I’ve always thought of the likes of New England and the Blue Ridge Parkway for fall foliage drives. And for good reason. But then I went to Breckenridge, Colorado in the fall. And to say that it’s beautiful in the fall would be an understatement. My first day took me to Hoosier Pass, which is in fact considered one of the most beautiful fall foliage drives in Breckenridge, in part because of the elevation changes. However, some of the best fall foliage in Colorado that I experienced was just beyond Hoosier Pass amidst some of the local communities and smaller rolling hills. The backdrop of small lakes and Lincoln Log-esque cabins were a bonus.
For a Breckenridge fall foliage drive that’s closer to town, there’s Wellington Road, which is just off Main Street. Here, you’ll pass suburban neighborhoods before meandering past rolling hills dotted with green, yellow, and orange aspens against the backdrop of the town of Breckenridge and Tenmile Range. The foremost fall foliage drive in Breckenridge, however, is Boreas Pass, where you drive through rocky cliffs and down avenues of brightly colored aspens, all while hugging the side of the mountain overlooking the town of Breckenridge and valley floor below. It’s like driving through a Bob Ross painting.
What are your favorite fall adventure destinations and activities?