Most of the trails I’ve recommended for hiking near Breckenridge Colorado will be best to hike between late spring and early fall. However, these trails are typically open for use all year. Snow will definitely be an issue in the winter. In the middle of winter, all of these trails will be gorgeous and untouched but only accessible with snowshoes or an uphill ski setup.
Remember, whenever you’re hiking, make sure you are overly prepared. Always bring more water than you think you’ll need, an extra snack just in case, and appropriate clothing for the hike you are going to take on. Let’s dive into the list of hikes!
9 best hikes near Breckenridge Colorado:
1. Lower Crystal Lake (Moderate)
Lower Crystal Lake is a 4.6 mile out and back trail. It is rated as moderate because it can be fairly steep in some portions on the way up to the lake. But, the views looking up and around from Lower Crystal Lake are totally worth the tough uphill hike. This is easily one of the best hike and is located just south of Breckenridge. At certain times throughout the year, there could be water running off directly through this trail.
To find the parking lot, head south on US 9 then turn right onto Spruce Creek Road. Follow Spruce Creek Rd around and up until it dead ends at the trailhead.
Learn more about Crystal Lakes here.
2. Sawmill Reservoir (Easy)
Sawmill Reservoir is a 1.3 mile loop trail that takes visitors around Sawmill Reservoir. It is a fairly flat trail that can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill. This hike is great because it shows off much of the beautiful nature that Colorado has to offer.
During certain times of the year, this trail will be very crowded so take that into consideration when deciding where you want to go hike.
This trailhead is pretty easy to find. It is to the southwest in town just off of Four O’Clock Road.
You can find more information about Sawmill Reservoir here.
3. Burro Trail (Moderate)
Burro Trail is a 6.1 mile out and back trail near the south end of Breckenridge. You will encounter a couple of different creeks while enjoying Burro Trail which also follows a creek. There is beautiful foliage, and wildlife throughout this enjoyable trail. Burro Trail is especially beautiful and busy when the trees turn colors in the fall.
There is parking for Burro Trail near the south end of town off of Village Road.
Learn more about Burro Trail here.
4. Sallie Barber Mine (Easy)
The Sallie Barber Mine Trail is a 2.7 mile out and back trail. It is quite easy and fairly flat for the entire length of the trail. There are plenty of great views to enjoy while on this trail but the real gem of the Sallie Barber Mine Trail is the ruins of an old mine once you reach the end of the trail. The ruins of the mine are historic to the area.
Thankfully, the mine and other historic ruins are greatly preserved for visitors to see what life in the wild west when the area was predominantly used for mining.
The trailhead is located on the south east end of town off of French Gulch Road where is turns into Country Road 520.
Learn more about the Sallie Barber Mine here.
5. South Illinois Creek Trail (Easy)
The South Illinois Creek Trail is a 1.9 mile out and back trail and is very accessible to hikers of all skill levels. This trail barley has any elevation gain at all making it a nice trail directly connected to town that can be enjoyed anytime. The perfect trail for an afternoon hike after a day skiing. There is even an interesting wooden troll to see while on the trail as well as plenty of other views and scattered ruins.
The trailhead is located directly on the south end of town. It is directly east of Main Street and off of Boreas Pass Road. There is parking on the right hand side of the road just after you turn off Main St onto Boreas Pass Road.
There is more information about South Illinois Creek Trail here.
6. Spruce Creek Loop (Moderate)
Spruce Creek Loop is a 4.3 mile trail that takes visitors out to Mayflower Lakes in a loop. The views throughout Spruce Creek Loop are picturesque as is the lake you end up at. There is plenty of water flowing throughout the hike as well beyond just the lake at the end. You can even continue hiking a little bit further up to see the Lower Mohawk Lake and Mohawk Lake if you want.
Regardless, this trail is perfect to see wildlife and to enjoy the outdoors.
Parking for the Spruce Creek Loop is located a little bit south of Breckenridge. If you follow Highway 9 heading south, take a right onto Spruce Creek Road. From there, just follow the road around until it dead ends where the trail will start.
7. Baker’s Tank Loop Trail (Hard)
Baker’s Tank Loop Trail is a 12.2 mile loop trail that takes hikers all around the southern end of Breckenridge and the hiking trail network located there. There is also a Baker’s Tank Trail which is only about 5 miles out and back that the Baker’s Tank Loop Trail follows for a while but continues on from. There is nearly 2,000 feet of elevation on this trail so be prepared for some rigorous up and down.
There are a few nice streams to see on this trail as well as plenty of great views of the Rocky Mountains. Hikers also get to see Baker’s Tank and other old mine ruins while on the trail.
The trailhead and parking for the Baker’s Tank Loop Trail is located on the south end of town on the right side of the road just after you turn left from US 9 onto Boreas Pass Road.
Learn more about Baker’s Tank Loop Trail here.
8. Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse (Moderate)
The Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse is a 6.1 mile out and back trail. This trail is perfect for seeing the Colorado wilderness in all of its beauty. The trail sends hikers up a gulch that gives great mountain views throughout with peaks looking right down on you including Fletcher Mountain and Atlantic Peak.
There are plenty of old mine and settlement ruins as well as a few streams in Mayflower Gulch. There is also amazing wildflower blooms throughout the spring and summer that you will certainly not want to miss. Keep in mind, the Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse has over 1,500 feet of elevation gain making it fairly difficult and not totally accessible for everyone.
The trailhead for the Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse is located off of highway 91 on the opposite side of the mountains to the west of Breckenridge. You’ll have to drive north to Frisco then south on 91 to get to this hike but it is well worth the effort.
There is plenty of information on the Mayflower Gulch Grand Traverse here.
9. Quandary Peak Trail (Hard)
Quandary Peak Trail is a 6.1 mile very difficult hike that takes you up to the summit of a 14’er, better known as a peak 14,000 feet above sea level. Quandary Peak Trail has over 3,000 feet of elevation gain so get ready for your legs to be sore the day after the hike. But obviously, the views throughout this trail and from the peak make up for any tiredness you will almost certainly have.
You’re also certain to see some mountain goats once you get above the treeline.
I’d definitely recommend this hike if you think you have the stamina and want to get on top of one of the highest peaks in the area. Make sure you are prepared when you set out on this hike with plenty of water, extra snacks, and appropriate clothing for rain and a little bit of cold weather.
If you’re really interested in bagging Quandary Peak, you should check out our article here on a couple of other 14’ers in the same area that can all be climbed in one shot.
The trailhead for Quandary Peak Trail is on the right hand side of the road a couple miles south of Breckenridge. Just follow US 9 until you take a right onto Blue Lakes Road. Then immediately take another right onto McCullough Gulch Road and parking is right there.
Learn more about Quandary Peak here.
Breckenridge Colorado is well known for its incredibly beautiful snow capped mountains which make it one of the premier ski destinations in the world. But, throughout the spring, summer, and fall, Breckenridge is one of the best places in the world to go hiking too.
If you are staying in Breckenridge during the off-season when there isn’t snow, or even just to ski a few last minute spring days, you should also get out for a hike while you’re there on vacation. I’d highly recommend going hiking to explore the area in and around Breckenridge. The beautiful natural landscape preserved in the Rocky Mountains is second to none and the perfect place to get active and outside.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that Breckenridge sits around 9,600 feet above sea level. Make sure you get acclimated to the altitude sooner by starting with some easy hikes and progressively working your way up to more difficult ones.
Altitude sickness is no joke so drink plenty of water and get an altitude sickness medication from a professional if you think you might need it. Better to get medication and not use it than to get to Breckenridge and realize you’re going to be sick for the first day or two of your vacation.
Also, remember that the weather in the heart of the Rocky Mountains can often be very unpredictable. One moment the sun will be beating down on you and the next a heavy storm cloud could roll in. Check the weather online before you take off on any hike near Breckenridge to know what is coming.
You don’t want to be 3 miles down the trail from your car as a bad afternoon storm or early season snow fall starts to come down.
If you’re gonna spend any amount of time in Breckenridge Colorado, getting out for a hike to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains is something you need to do. There are plenty of hikes that start in Breckenridge itself and even more that set out from trailheads all around the area. These 9 are simply some of the best local favorites for you to consider.
Do some research on your own and you’re sure to find a hike that suits your ability and hopefully, pushes you to be stronger and take on higher difficulty hikes. I hope to see you out on the trail soon!
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Cameron is a freelance writer with a focus on hiking, fishing and photography. He studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Colorado Boulder and now calls Chicago, Illinois home.