This Colorado Mountain Town Does Summer Right
Whether you’re looking for high-country singletrack, craft beverages, or family fun, Breckenridge has you covered
If you had to pinpoint the one thing that makes Breckenridge so awesome in the summer, it’d probably be this: choice. As good as the mountain biking, trail running, fly-fishing, and rafting are—and make no mistake, they’re world class—they’re just half of what makes the place so special. The town’s culinary and cultural scenes don’t take a back seat to its abundant adventure options—they ride shotgun. From morning adventures in the mountains to afternoon strolls through the Arts District, here are ten reasons to visit Breckenridge this summer.
It’s Got Great Events
From June to September, Breckenridge is abustle with a slew of themed events celebrating everything from bacon and bourbon to gold panning, arts, and music. If competition is what you’re after, Breckenridge had a brimming summer race calendar, too: from endurance bike and running races to fun runs, there’s an event for every level of competitor.
The Trail Systems Are Epic
The trail-mapping site MTB Project lists 254 miles of single- and doubletrack riding in and around Breckenridge. And that’s just a portion of the area’s sprawling multi-use trail network: lung-busting trail runners, peak-bagging hikers, and ambling families will all find a surplus of suitable options in the surrounding hills. For insider knowledge on the best trails, pop into the Welcome Center or one of the many bike shops in town and ask for advice, such as Mountain Outfitters.
There Are Tons of Ways to Cool Off
First off, life at 9,600 feet never gets unbearably sweltering. But even on the warmest days, or after a sweat-inducing adventure, it’s easy to feel refreshed in Breckenridge. Try paddleboarding on Lake Dillon Reservoir, the nearby Frisco Reservoir, or, fly-fishing in one of the nearby rivers. Want a bigger thrill? The surrounding region is brimming with all levels of whitewater rafting and kayaking, with the world-renowned Arkansas River a short shuttle trip away.
It’s Easy to Give Back
Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than riding or running a well-crafted trail is helping to make one. Mountain bikers looking to lend a hand should link up with Summit Fat Tire, which hosts trail days from April to September. If hiking and trail running is your thing, sign on for a work day with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado or the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. “You can expect to swing a tool and be instructed on how to dig in the correct way,” says Mike Zobbe, a board member with Summit Fat Tire. Of course, it’s not all work. “When we’re done working, we’ll often ride the trail or tailgate back in the parking lot.”
The Kids Will Not Get Bored
On Breckenridge’s namesake mountain, the ropes course, ziplines, trampolines, and alpine slide of the Epic Discovery can entertain the kids for days. Off the mountain, there are mellow rafting trips, tons of parks, and even an official scavenger hunt. There’s also spin-casting on rivers and ponds and guided horseback riding.
The Music Scene Is Surprisingly Diverse
Start with the Riverwalk Center, which offers everything from classical music to battle-of-the-bands throwdowns. (Insider tip: Catch the National Repertory Orchestra during its free rehearsals.) Later, check out a tiny concert or catch a regional act at The Brown. Perhaps the most “Breck” way to enjoy live music, however, is in the beer garden at Rocky Mountain Underground—a local ski manufacturer. “It’s our third season in the backyard beer garden,” says RMU’s Alicia Bergmann. “Our focus is to keep the music free and to celebrate local artists.”
You Can Go Carless
And that’s a big deal for anybody who deals with an automobile commute in their nine-to-five life. If you travel to Colorado via Denver International Airport, a handful of shuttle companies make the two-hour jaunt a breeze. And once you’re here, downtown is flat, making for easy cruiser bike navigation and old-school strolling. The Breck Free Ride bus service is hyper-efficient, and most of the lodging properties offer free shuttle services to dining and entertainment. Dubious about how easy it is to lose the car? Here’s a prebuilt strategy.
They Take Their Adult Beverages Seriously
Breckenridge Brewery’s Avalanche Amber Ale has been a favorite out West for decades. But that’s just the start. From Breckenridge Distillery’s award-winning spirits to newish Broken Compass Brewing, the craft beer and spirits scene is thriving here, with five craft brewers in town.
The Art Scene Is Very Hands-On
Many of the artists in Breckenridge’s walkable Arts District offer classes, while the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, held every August, has everything from workshops to nature walks with local artists. (Last year’s topics included balanced-rock sculptures and inflatable art, among other nature-themed events.) Or if you just want to look, that’s fine, too: swing by the Breckenridge Gallery, which has been celebrating the arts for 40 years.
You’ll See the Stars
Thanks to its progressive exterior light policy, the stargazing right in town is pretty darn good. For a more robust outing, drive 20 minutes south to Hoosier Pass and hike by headlamp about 700 vertical feet until you get above tree line. Bring along some lightweight camping chairs and a down coat—radiational cooling at 11-plus thousand feet is a real thing.