Breckenridge, Colorado is one of the most popular destinations for a mountain vacation in the entire US. Whether you’re going for a ski vacation during the winter or you’re interested in exploring the miles upon miles of hiking trails right outside of town, Breckenridge is a haven for those who love the outdoors. Breckenridge is also one of the most authentic ski towns due to its history as a mining town during the Colorado gold rush.
If you’re looking to spend some quality time enjoying all that the glorious mountains of Colorado have to offer, Breckenridge is the perfect spot to start your journey! In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can plan your visit to one of the most adventurous towns in Colorado. Let’s get started!
General information About Breckenridge
|Area (Total)||6.047 mi2|
|Land Area||6.047 mi2|
|Water Area||0 mi2|
|Population Density||840 people per square mile|
|Temp in Winter||21.5°F|
|Temp in Summer||60°F|
Breckenridge’s history is steeped in western tradition. Settled in 1859, the town of Breckenridge served as a central hub for mining all sorts of minerals, including silver, lead, and zinc. But by and large, the majority of the people who flocked to Breckenridge during those days were after something much more valuable: gold.
At first, the majority of the miners were able to set up placer mines, which depended on water to help wash away silt and rocks to reveal the heavier gold that sat within the Blue River and the streams that cascaded through the trees, fed by snowmelt from the previous winter.
As more people flooded into the Blue River Valley to try their hand at striking it rich and the majority of the placer mining prospects dried up, people began digging into the mountains to continue their hunt for gold. Soon, Breckenridge was surrounded by deep mines that pulled millions of dollars’ worth of gold out of the mountain until the 1890s. By then, most of the gold had been pulled from the mountains and miners had to turn their attention to the other minerals like silver, lead, and zinc to stay in business.
After the majority of the mining activity ceased in Breckenridge by the turn of the 20th century, Breckenridge was very rapidly becoming a ghost town. The boom days of the gold rush were over and people no longer had a reason to try to eke out an existence where there was no more money to be made, especially with winters being so harsh and long.
Breckenridge got a new lease on life and avoided becoming a ghost town thanks in large part to the vision of the Rounds family. They saw the beauty of the Blue River Valley and the 10 Mile Range and felt that if they built cabins on the land where Breckenridge resort currently is today, that people would enjoy vacationing there in the summer months. With a post war boom produced from the increase in economic production from World War II, many had extra cash to spend on vacations.
The vision that the Rounds family had to create a tourist destination out of this old mining town paid off. By 1961, Breckenridge had opened as a ski resort for the first time with one 2 seat chair lift and one T-bar. A day pass for adults was only $4 and kids was $2.50. Not a bad price at all, especially compared to today!
Skiing saved the old mining community of Breckenridge from experiencing the same fate as hundreds of other mining towns across Colorado. And because of that, Breckenridge is one of the most authentic ski towns in the country due to the old buildings that still are in use today from the old mining days.
Breckenridge is located about 9 miles south of I-70. Once you reach the town of Silverthorne, you’ll travel south on Highway 9 to get to Breckenridge. Highway 9 becomes Main Street once you get to Breckenridge. All of the lifts, ticket booths, and ski rentals on the mountain are on the west side of Main Street.
Weather in Breckenridge
One of the best things about Breckenridge is that temperatures are always cool. It very rarely ever gets above 75°F due to the high elevation.
The biggest downside of being so high up is that winters can be long, dark, and cold.
Spring usually starts in April with the average high temperature topping out around 44°F and the low bottoming out around 16°F. Breckenridge still receives about 23 inches of snow during April, but as temperatures warm up going into May, snowfall begins to taper off quite a bit. May is when snow usually only falls at the high points on the mountain, but every now and again it will fall in town. It doesn’t stick around for long as May highs average around 54°F and lows average around 25°F. The constant thawing and freezing creates muddy conditions that are difficult to recreate in, so a lot of the activities slow down until summer.
June kicks off summer in Breckenridge with highs averaging around 65°F and lows averaging around 32°F. Summer activities on the mountain begin depending on how much snow is still around from the previous winter as well as how quickly the mud from the spring melt dries out. The summer season goes from June until about the end of September.
October is when temperatures begin to noticeably cool off, transitioning Breckenridge from summer to fall. The average high in October is 52°F and the average low is 20°F. Due to the high elevation, fall is incredibly short. However, the aspen trees that line the mountains and streets of Breckenridge turn into stunning yellows and oranges during this time due to the temperature changes. A popular fall pass time in Breckenridge is to go “leaf peeping” by hiking or driving around the town.
After a short fall season, winter quickly sets in during the middle to end of November. Average highs in November are around 40°F with lows dipping into the 10°F range. By this time, snow is falling and will continue to fall from the middle of November until the beginning of April.
How to get to Breckenridge
The easiest way to get to Breckenridge is to fly into Denver International Airport (DIA). From there, you can rent a car, take a public shuttle, or charter a private shuttle to take you from the airport to Breckenridge.
Driving times from DIA to Breckenridge can vary. Snow, construction, and traffic all play a large factor in how long the drive will take. The total distance between DIA and Breckenridge is about 90 miles along I-70. On a good day, getting to Breckenridge will take about 90 minutes.
Another way to get to Breckenridge is by flying into Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) located in Gypsum, Colorado. Gypsum lies about 60 miles to the west of Breckenridge. Similar options exist for getting from the airport to town, including car rentals, public shuttles, and private shuttles. Keep in mind that when you come to Breckenridge from the west that you will end up driving over Vail Pass which frequently closes during the winter due to inclement weather.
Best Time to Visit Breckenridge
Many of the people who live in Breckenridge will tell you that they came for the winters but stayed for the summers. Breckenridge is more than just a ski destination. It’s a summer oasis! So the question really becomes, when is the best time to visit during the summer and during the winter.
The best time to visit Breckenridge during the summer is during the middle of July to the middle of August. Most of the snow from the previous winter will have melted from the trails and the tops of the mountains, so you’ll have plenty of places to hike and bike around town. The hottest it usually gets is around 68°F during July with an average low of 51°F.
The best time to visit Breckenridge during the winter is between January and February. By this time of year, the resort will have received a healthy base layer of snow, which means that most if not all of the ski runs and lifts will be open. Keep in mind that these months are also the coldest months of the year with highs never getting above 30°F, so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes!
Places to Visit in Breckenridge
With so many things to see and do, the challenge for anyone visiting Breckenridge is to narrow it down to the best places to visit! Check out our recommendations below to help you plan out where to visit when you get to Breckenridge.
One of the best things to do when you get to Breckenridge is to take a walk down Main Street. It’ll give you a good idea of what restaurants are around, the shops you’d like to visit, and it will help you acclimatize a bit to the higher elevation. Plus, it’s a beautiful area to explore!
Boreas Pass Road
Once you’re done taking your walk down Main Street and seeing what downtown Breckenridge has to offer, get a new perspective on the town and the rest of the Blue River Valley by driving up Boreas Pass Road. You’ll start by driving south out of Breckenridge and then taking a left onto Boreas Pass Road (also known as County Road 10). The drive goes up and over the Continental Divide which is the geographic boundary that divides where watersheds end up. You can follow the road all the way to Fairplay, CO if you decide to drive the full 22 miles. Or you can decide to turn around after you’ve gone halfway. The views from the top of the summit at 11,481’ are absolutely spectacular. 2WD low clearance vehicles are perfectly fine here, so anyone can make this drive with ease.
High Line Railroad Park
Take a trip back in time to see the main engine that drove the development of Breckenridge during its mining days, literally! High Line Railroad Park is an outdoor park where engine number 9 is proudly displayed for you to see. Families with little kids will love the interactivity of the park. Coupled with the picnic tables nearby, it’s a perfect spot to have a bite to eat while enjoying the sunny Breckenridge weather.
The Breckenridge Troll
One of the quirkiest things to see in Breckenridge is the Breckenridge Troll. Standing at an impressive 15’ tall, this scrap wood and recycled materials made friendly giant sits to welcome visitors at the end of the Trollstigen Trail. You’ll find the Trollstigen Trail that leads you to the Breckenridge Troll on the southeast corner to the parking lot for Illinois Gulch Trailhead.
Best Hotels in Breckenridge
- Residence Inn
- Address: 600 South Ridge Street Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Cost per night: From $293
- Stars: 3
- Key feature: Complementary breakfast and pool
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge
- Address: 550 Village Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Cost per night: From $255
- Stars: 4
- Key feature: Bar and lounge, breakfast buffet, free shuttle service
- BlueSky Breckenridge
- Address: 42 Snowflake Drive, Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Cost per night: From $206
- Stars: 3.5
- Key feature: Ski-in/ski-out access to Breckenridge Ski Resort
- The Ranahan by Vacation Club Rentals
- Address: 557 Stan Miller Drive, Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Cost per night: From $349
- Stars: 4
- Key feature: Game room, pool, bar and lounge
- Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center
- Address: 620 Village Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Cost per night: From $215
- Stars: 3
- Key feature: Ski-in/ski-out, shuttle service, bar and lounge
Activities in Breckenridge
Things to do in Breckenridge in the Summer
As we mentioned earlier, Breckenridge is a paradise not only in the winter, but in the summer as well. Temperatures rarely ever top 75°F, so playing outside is a breeze. Here are some of our favorite activities to do in Breckenridge during the summer!
- Mountain Biking
Whether you decide to take the gondola up or you choose to shuttle to one of the local trails, there are literally hundreds of mountain biking trails in Breckenridge to explore. From beginners to advanced riders, there’s sure to be something you’ll love cruising down on two wheels.
One of the best ways to explore Breckenridge is by finding a hiking trail to immerse yourself in. Nothing gets you more familiar with the area or more at peace with yourself than a dirt trail and a pair of boots. Plus, the views are pretty spectacular too!
- Visiting a Brewery
In case you haven’t heard, Colorado is the place to be for craft beer lovers as there are tons of microbreweries all around the state. Breckenridge is home to 3 microbreweries that serve all sorts of new and exciting craft beers. Pull up a stool and sip an IPA or two as you enjoy a perfect summer evening.
- Fly fishing
Nothing really compares to the magic of hooking your first trout on a fly rod. Breckenridge is fortunate to be located so close to the Blue River, which has some of the best fly fishing opportunities in the state. Charter a guide and you’ll be sure to get on some of the best fishing you can find in Breckenridge!
- Boating at Lake Dillon
Just 9 miles north of Breckenridge is the enormous Lake Dillon. When you first get into the Blue River Valley, you’ll see it sprawl out from I-70 with white tipped sail boats peacefully cruising across the surface. Boat rentals are available at the Dillon Marina during the summer. Choose from a pontoon boat or a sailboat. The only catch with sailboats is that you do need to take a certification class at the Dillon Marina before you are allowed to rent a sailboat.
Things to do in Breckenridge in the Winter
Breckenridge is legendary for its winters. The snow creates a winter wonderland that people from around the world come to enjoy. Here are our top favorite things to do in the winter when visiting Breckenridge.
- Skiing and Snowboarding
The main reason why Breckenridge exists as a town today is for skiing and snowboarding. Breckenridge is one of the best places to go skiing close to Denver due to its access to a wide variety of trails. With over 30 lifts and over 2000 acres of skiable terrain, you’ll smile ear to ear every time you get out on the slopes.
Have a need for speed? Then you absolutely must go rent a snowmobile and tear up some track! Snowmobiling is one of the fastest and most fun things you can do off of the mountain. And with the surrounding passes, there is no shortage of alpine wonderlands to explore on the back of a sled.
- Taking a sleigh ride
Remember that magical feeling you got when you were a kid around Christmas? Well, if you ever want to rekindle that feeling, you gotta go take a horse drawn sleigh ride through Breckenridge. You’ll sit in the back of an open sleigh as the driver guides the horse down the trail. You’ll be laughing all the way as you hear those sleigh bells ring!
- Ice skating
For those who love spending time on the ice, Breckenridge is home to several different rinks to skate on. From September through the middle of April, you can find a spot to lace up those skates and glide across glassy ice as you take in the beauty of the snow capped peaks that surround the valley.
- Snow tubing
Want to get on the mountain, but you’re afraid to learn how to ski or snowboard? No worries! Snow tubing is the next best way to experience the thrill of cruising down a snow-covered hill. While Breckenridge resort doesn’t offer any snow tubing opportunities on the mountain, you can easily go tubing at nearby Frisco Adventure Park, Copper Mountain Tubing Hill, or Adventure Point at Keystone Resort.
Restaurants in Breckenridge
Breckenridge is home to some of the best food you’ll find in the Blue River Valley. It’s definitely not hard to find a good bite to eat! The toughest part is narrowing down your list of places to eat at in the amount of time you have to visit Breckenridge. Be sure to check one of these amazing restaurants out on your next visit.
- Crepes a la Carte
- What type of food: Sweet and savory crepes
- Prices: $12-$16
- Average check total for family of 4: $64
- Aurum Food and Wine
- What type of food: American fine dining
- Prices: $40-$60
- Average check total for family of 4: $200-$300
- Breckenridge Tap House
- What type of food: Mexican/Southwestern
- Prices: $5-$20
- Average check total for family of 4: $80-$120
- Hearthstone Restaurant
- What type of food: American contemporary cuisine
- Prices: $28- $46
- Average check total for family of 4: $120-$200
- What type of food: American
- Prices: $16-$58
- Average check total for family of 4: $120- $240
- Columbine Cafe
- What type of food: American Breakfast
- Prices: $10- $19
- Average check total for family of 4: $80-$100
- Blue Moose
- What type of food: American Breakfast
- Prices: $5-$18
- Average check total for family of 4: $70-$90
Nightlife in Breckenridge
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down in Breckenridge. Whether you’re finishing off a day of hiking in the summer sun or getting off the mountain for some choice apres-ski drinks and apps, the bar scene here is enough to keep you going all night long. Here are a few of our favorite places to get a drink and hang out after a day of fun in the mountains.
Address: 113 Main Street
Best feature: Located centrally in downtown Breckenridge, beautiful views, relaxing atmosphere.
Address: 106 E. Adams Ave.
Best feature: A nice mix of new age cocktails, classic cocktails, wine, as well as a full dinner menu.
The Briar Rose
Address: 109 Lincoln Ave.
Best feature: Offers cocktail flights to get a well-rounded tasting of several cocktails.
The Gold Pan Saloon
Address: 103 N. Main Street
Best feature: Restaurant turns into a loud and wild dance floor around 7PM when they stop their dinner service.
Cecilia’s Martini Bar and Nightclub
Address: 520 South Main Street
Best feature: Excellent DJ playing fun and exciting music every night. Open until 2AM for all night dancing.
Skiing in Breckenridge
As one of the closest of the Epic Mountain Pass resorts to Denver, Breckenridge attracts most of its visitors each year for the champagne powder that people love to ski down. Here are some basic stats about the mountain before we jump into the details on how to plan out your ski trip to Breckenridge.
|Location||White River National Forest|
|Number of ski runs||187|
|Longest run||The Four O’Clock Ski Run 3.5 miles|
|Number of beginner runs (green)||26|
|Number of intermediate runs (blue)||58|
|Number of expert runs (black)||103|
|Average amount of snowfall||300 inches|
|Best month to ski||February|
|Number of lifts||35|
|Is there night skiing?||No|
Breckenridge Ski Peaks
In total, Breckenridge has 5 ski peaks. They are called:
- Peak 6 (mostly intermediate and advanced runs)
- Peak 7 (mostly intermediate runs)
- Peak 8 (mostly intermediate runs)
- Peak 9 (mostly beginner runs)
- Peak 10 (mostly advanced runs)
Breckenridge Ski Map
Breckenridge Shuttle Schedule
Breckenridge offers a free shuttle service throughout the town. The shuttle schedule changes based on whether it’s the summer season or winter season. Hours change based on staffing and the season. Below you will find links to the summer schedule for 2022. The winter shuttle schedule for 2022 is not currently posted but can be found on the same website that is linked below.
Gray Route North This route runs from 6:20am to 11:00pm
Gray Route South This route runs from 6:25am to 10:55pm
Purple Route ‘A’ This route runs from 6:15am to 3:15pm
Purple Route ‘B’ This route runs from 3:45pm to 11:15pm
Black Route Express This route runs from 6:15am to 11:15pm
Breckenridge Snow Reports
|Ave. Snowfall in inches||21.8”||23.3”||21.7”||21.5”||23.6”||23.2”||10.7”|
Breckenridge Lift Tickets & Ski Passes
Breckenridge lift ticket prices vary depending on the day that you plan on skiing as well the number of days you plan on skiing. If you plan on buying single day tickets, you can expect to pay between $80 to $150 per day. Keep in mind that holidays will be more expensive to ski as more people will be on the mountain during those days.
There are discounts available to those who purchase their tickets in advance of when they plan on skiing, as well as discounts for kids, military personnel, and seniors.
You can also save money by bundling your ski passes with your dining, ski rentals, and lodging.
The best way to save money on your ski passes is by purchasing an Epic Pass. If you plan on skiing more than 4 days at Breckenridge, buying an Epic Pass is the best value. You not only get to ski as many days as you’d like at Breckenridge, but also at any one of the Vail Resort owned mountains across the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In addition to having unlimited access to Breckenridge, owning an Epic Pass also gets you discounts on ski rentals, on mountain food and drinks, and discounts at Epic ski and snowboard shops.
Breckenridge Ski Rentals
Ski rentals can be made at Breckenridge Ski Resort in advance of your trip or on the day of. We highly recommend that you reserve your rentals well in advance of your trip though, as many people end up renting from the resort.
Rental costs vary based on the type of skis you want to use. There are options for beginners, intermediates, and advanced skiers. When you go to reserve your rentals, you’ll be able to indicate what level of skier you are to help the ski technician quickly set you up with the right set of skis for the day.
Another way to save some money is to check out one of the shops in town for rentals. Christi Sports, the Epic Shop, and other small rental companies are everywhere between Silverthorne and Breckenridge, so finding rentals shouldn’t be a big issue for you.
Plan on spending between $80 and $150 per day for your skis, poles, boots, and helmet.
Average Budget for Skiing in Breckenridge
One of the toughest things about visiting Breckenridge is that it can get pretty pricy pretty quick. For a family of 4, you should plan on budgeting at least $7,500 for a 7-day trip. This includes your food, lodging, transportation, ski passes and rentals, and other incidentals you may come across on your trip.
The key to maximizing your budget is to plan ahead. For those who book their ski tickets at least 7 days in advance, you can save up to 20% on the day passes. And when you bundle your hotel and gear rentals, the savings can be even more.
Visiting Breckenridge is one of the best ways to melt your troubles away. With all of the things you can do year-round, the spectacular weather, and the fantastic restaurants, there’s something that everyone is going to love about visiting this charming mountain town. On a scale of 1 to 5, we rate Breckenridge on the following areas:
How far from Denver International Airport: 4
Kid Friendly: 4
Parking Access: 3
FAQ About Breckenridge
Why is Breckenridge so Popular?
Breckenridge is one of the best places in Colorado to go skiing for pretty much every skill level. Beginners and intermediates love the wide-open runs and progressively steeper terrain, while advanced skiers can find steep mogul runs with ease.
Breckenridge is also incredibly popular because of where it is. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, Breckenridge is nestled in the Blue River Valley and gives spectacular views all around.
In addition to that, Breckenridge gives off the vibe of a true-blue mountain town that has been adapted to be a stellar ski resort. Remember that Breckenridge was first founded during the Colorado gold rush days in the 1860s, which means that many of the buildings are authentic to those days. It gives the town an authentic feel that people love to explore.
Is Breckenridge, CO Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Breckenridge has something for practically everyone. Whether you’re into going for a beautiful scenic hike, an adrenaline filled day on the mountain, or you’re more interested in taking it slow and going shopping, Breckenridge has something that practically everyone will enjoy.
What is Breckenridge Known For?
Breckenridge is best known for its amazing mountain resort. The over 2,900 skiable acres combined with the over 3,000 feet of vertical drop leave people smiling from ear to ear at the end of every day during the ski season.
Is Breckenridge a Walkable Town?
Yes! Breckenridge is incredibly walkable, especially compared to many other ski resort towns in Colorado. You can walk from downtown to the lift in practically no time at all. And when you’re all done playing on the mountain for the day, you can easily find a great bite to eat or go shopping within a few minutes of the bottom of the mountain.
Is Skiing Better in Aspen or Breckenridge?
It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your experience. Advanced skiers may enjoy Aspen more due to the larger number of expert trails and steep mogul runs. Beginner to intermediate skiers may enjoy Breckenridge more due to the wide-open runs that allow for a more gradual learning curve.
How Many Days Do You Need in Breckenridge?
At least 3. Spend a day on the mountain skiing. Spend another day in downtown Breckenridge checking out the food and shopping scene. And then take the last day to go back and spend more time skiing or shopping, depending on what you enjoyed doing the most!
Do you Need a Car to Get Around Breckenridge?
Nope! Breckenridge is a very walkable town. And for areas that you aren’t able to walk as easily, there is a free shuttle to help get you around town.
Do I Need a 4WD to Drive to Breckenridge?
At the very least, your vehicle should be front wheel drive and have a set of snow tires as well as a traction enhancement device like chains, cables, or snow socks. Oftentimes 4WD and AWD vehicles are the ones that get stuck or wreck due to the fact that they give drivers a false sense of security.
If you do drive a 4WD or AWD vehicle in Breckenridge during the winter, just remember to take it slow and that your vehicle’s drivetrain is not going to help you brake slower or turn on icy spots. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to go and take it slow.
Is There a Downtown in Breckenridge?
Yep! Downtown is lined up all along Main St. Restaurants, bars, and shops abound!
Where do you fly to get to Breckenridge?
The most common airport that most fly into to get to Breckenridge is Denver International Airport (DIA), which is located about 90 miles east of town. The next closest airport is located about 60 miles to the west in Gypsum. Most people fly into DIA due to the larger availability of flights as well as the larger availability of quality shuttles that take you from the terminal to the mountain in comfort and style.
Will I get Altitude Sickness in Breckenridge?
It depends on where you are traveling from and how active you are when you first get to town. If you’re traveling from a state with a significantly lower elevation than Breckenridge (anything below 3000’), definitely take a day or two to get adjusted to the altitude.
In addition to taking a little extra time to adjust, be sure that you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Due to the elevation, Breckenridge is much drier than lower areas. Staying hydrated will help stave off altitude sickness.
If you do feel yourself getting dizzy or nauseous, be sure to take a seat for a bit and when you’re ready, try to get to a lower elevation than where you’re at. If symptoms persist, it might be a good idea to get down in elevation by returning to Denver as altitude sickness is incredibly uncomfortable to experience.
Is Breckenridge Ski Resort Expensive?
Yes. For a 7-day trip, solo travelers should budget a little over $2000 and a family of 4 should budget around $7,500. Hotel costs, ski passes and rentals, transportation to and from Breckenridge, and food costs all are factors to consider when budgeting for a trip to Breckenridge.
Keep in mind that you can save money by visiting Breckenridge during non-peak parts of the season. Holidays and weekends tend to be much more popular times to visit, so you can expect lodging costs to be higher during those times than during the middle of the week or non-holidays.