Where to hike in Breckenridge with kids

Think Breckenridge, Colorado is only a winter ski destination? No way! This mountain town is a great pick for summer and fall travel as well, offering historical significance, museums and culture, great dining, and, our personal favorite, excellent hiking for families.

Breckenridge-hiking

When families arrive in Breck, they’ll find maps with literally dozens of hiking trails accessible right from town. Many of these hikes will include mining history built in, either the form of signage explaining historical significance or historical structures or mining equipment that remains behind. Here’s where to hike in Breckenridge in multiple categories:

Easy hikes:

reiling-drudge

  • Burro Trail: Accessed directly in town, the Burro Trail has a gentle grade (it was literally the trail burros used to haul gear). The first half mile is easy-breezy, perfect for young kids, and then it keeps going for miles, all the way out of town to high elevations. Families can connect to the Spruce Creek Trail and Wheeler Trail further afield.
  • Sawmill Creek: This 1.5 mile loop starts just below and west of Snowflake Lift, which is close to Four O’Clock Road and Kings Crown Road. It has minimal altitude gain, and there’s plenty of shade along the way. The trail leads up to a beautiful reservoir: bring a picnic lunch!
  • Reiling Drudge Trail: This trail, located at the top of Reiling Road, connects to several top-notch mountain biking trails. It’s multi-use, but an easy, short hike to the Reiling Drudge. This remnant from the mining era is impressively intact, and shows how this type of mining impacted the environment (you can see the piles of rock and ore still left behind, though the scenery is still very pretty). Historical markers tell hikers more about the site. If you want a longer hike, continue from the drudge trail to the Minnie Mine Trail. Here, you’ll see more plaques and remains of mining buildings.

river-walk-breckenridge

Kids don’t want to hike? Head to River Walk Park, where kids can wade in the Blue River in summer and fall and play on the playground in all seasons. 

Harder hikes:

lower-mohawk-lake

  • Mohawk Lakes: This series of alpine lakes can be tackled in an eight mile loop, or families can simply hike to the first few. From the trailhead, it’s just over three miles to Lower Mohawk, which sits in a bowl with Upper Mohawk just out of sight above it. They’re followed by several more lakes along a chain. The path can be steep at times, but the way is broken up by lots to look at: kids will love the historic mining remnants still cluttering the landscape, and snow melt waterfalls such as Continental Falls. Get to the trailhead by heading out Hwy 9 and turning right on Spruce Creek Road. Park at the trailhead 1.2 miles up.
  • Bakers Tank Loop: While most of this five mile loop trail is intermediate, there are a few climbs to be had. The trail follows an historic railroad line and has Western mountain views. Start at the Bakers Tank Trailhead on Boreas Pass Road. The first three miles are along Boreas Pass Road, heading south.
  • Black Powder Pass: At 3.4 miles (roundtrip) with an elevation gain, this hike is solidly in the intermediate range. From Boreas Pass Road, go up to the top of Boreas Pass, and take the trail just before the Section House. Families get above the tree line without a long hike, but remember, you’ll be at over 12,000 feet, so take your time. Look for views of the Tenmile Range.

Hardest hike:

crystal-lake

  • Crystal Lakes: Get above the tree line hiking to the Crystal Lakes. These small, high alpine lakes sit at over 11,000 feet, and the way is very steep in places, and mostly exposed. Access these lakes from the Burro Trail or drive partway up Spruce Creek Road or Crystal Lake Road (4×4 driving essential). Look for picas (like small rabbits that make a high pitched call) and mountain goats.

mining-cabin

Tip: Want to get a taste of mining history in the area without hiking to it? Head to the Country Boy Mine, where kids can go inside mine shafts and pan for gold. This historical site has very good, though realistic, tours. Young kids may be frightened when the lights are turned off and hydraulic machinery is turned on to stimulate how it would have felt and sounded like in the mine in bygone eras.

Note: No matter where you hike in Breckenridge, you’ll feel the significant elevation. Get tips on dealing with high altitude!

Have you hiked in Breckenridge? Where do you recommend?

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  1. Colorado just looks amazing. Must get there soon!

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