Best Hikes Near Breckenridge

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Situated in a valley up against the Tenmile Range, it’s easy to put together a list of the best hikes near Breckenridge. Breckenridge has loads of great hikes within 30 minutes or so.

All these great trail options makes it easy for me to recommend a list with varied levels of difficulty. This list spans all the way from easy day hikes to big-days summiting 14’ers and everything in between. As always I tried to find the trail less traveled while it still being a rewarding hike. It can be tough in a place as popular as Breckenridge but I think I found a few where you’ll be a little less crowded.

Per usual, you can find an interactive map below with all the trailheads marked. Clicking “more details” on the pin will jump you to that particular trail write-up. So with all that find a trail you like and get hiking!

Easy Hikes     Moderate Hikes     Difficult Hikes

    Gear You’ll Need          

Easy Hikes

Blue Lakes Trail

  • Length: 1.1 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 25 mins
  • Notes: Waterfall, Lake, No restrooms at trailhead

Nestled in a valley with Quandary Peak above, the Blue Lakes Trail offers big-time views in an easy and short trail package. With evergreens on one side, the wide trail skirts around a lake winding its way to a gentle waterfall at the end. Flat for the entire distance, this trail is a perfect way to find sweeping views without challenging terrain. Follow up the short hike with a drive just up the road to the Blue Lake dam. You’ll be greeted with a panoramic view of Blue Lake and the valley floor beyond. Truly one of the best hikes near Breckenridge.

A few logistical notes…the drive to Blue Lake can be a rocky ride for 2WD cars so I recommend going when the weather is nice if you do have a 2WD vehicle. There is a significant amount of parking available at the dam and the waterfall trailhead. However, it’s still a good idea to get there early since it’s so close to Breckenridge.

Sallie Barber Mine Trail

  • Length: 2.8 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 10 minutes
  • Notes: Aspens, Mine, Waterfall, No restrooms at trailhead 

Hidden in the evergreens, catch the last vestiges of Breckenridge’s mining past at the Sallie Barber Mine Trail. A gradual incline the entire distance, this service road and trail crosses a creek and then winds its way through the evergreens. You’ll break out of the trees when you reach the mine at the 1.5 mile point. The mine is situated on a tree-less knoll and you’ll have sweeping views across the surrounding hills and mountains. Snap a few pictures of the old mine shaft (don’t enter!) and then head back down the way you came.

This hike is ideal for those with small children or young kids. Nothing difficult or dangerous with the bonus of fewer crowds. Additionally, being only a short distance from Breckenridge, this is a great place to see Aspens turning color during the fall. There’s a bunch of them just across the valley from the mine. The road to the trailhead is dirt but is passable for a 2WD car in good weather.

Hoosier Pass Loop

  • Length: 2.8 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 20 minutes
  • Notes: Mountain Views, Wildflowers, No restrooms at trailhead 

If you want those sweeping mountain views in an easy hike I would head straight to the Hoosier Pass Loop.  The beginning of the trail quickly sneaks through some evergreen trees before bursting out into unobstructed views. These views last the rest of the loop until you reach the fork in the trail again. When you do reach the trail fork after the first quarter mile I highly recommend going left to avoid going up a steep section. Going right will result in a 800 ft climb in about 1.1 miles. Overall, the altitude of this trail makes it a great conditioner if you want to attempt another trail a little higher or difficult.

There’s plenty of parking at Hoosier Pass so I would not be too worried about finding parking. If worse comes to worse there is more parking available just south on the side of the road. Just 20 minutes south on US-9 this hike is lightning quick and simple to reach from Breckenridge.

Gold Run Gulch Loop

  • Length: 2.7 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 15 minutes
  • Notes: Forest, Mine, No restrooms at trailhead 

A moderately trafficked hike, the Gold Run Gulch loop is a great place to get the kids out into the woods. All 2.7 miles of the trail wind through the woods and since it’s a loop you won’t have to see the same area twice! You won’t find sweeping vistas on this trail but you may see the mountains poking out behind the trees. However, you’ll face much smaller crowds during your hike. Breathe in that fresh mountain air and take it easy as you meander through the woods. Stop by the run-down mining cabin on your way out.

The trailhead has a limited amount of parking so be aware of that as you head out on those weekend days. This can also be a popular area for mountain bikes or ATVs so please stay aware of others on the trail.

Gear You'll Need

For the best hikes in Breckenridge you want to make sure you’ve got the right gear! The hikes in this list vary from very short day hikes to big days in the mountains. Because of this it is important to be prepared with the appropriate gear. Conditions can change quickly in the mountains so I do have some essentials that I recommend bringing along.

Easy Hikes

  1. Good pair of athletic shoes – you won’t need hiking boots but I do recommend a sturdy pair of shoes in case the trail is uneven
  2. Layers – always recommend layers to dress up or down depending on the temperature
  3. Rain jacket – especially in summer  you never know when a storm can pop up
  4. Water bottle – recommend at least 1 liter of water per person especially in hot summer conditions
  5. Sunscreen & Sunglasses – protect those eyes and skin!

Moderate & Difficult Hikes – The list above plus…

  1. Hiking boots – I wouldn’t recommend doing these hikes in athletic shoes. You’ll need something with good ankle support and toughness
  2. Hiking Pants – Keep the rocks out of your shoes and protect your legs against abrasion
  3. Water bottles – Recommend at least 2 liters of water per person
  4. Food – throw a few cliff bars or a sandwich in to make sure you’ve got an energy boost
  5. Trekking Poles – You can get by without them, but they definitely help save the knees on significant declines

Moderate

McCullough Gulch Trail

  • Length: 4.6 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 25 minutes
  • Notes: Lakes, No restrooms at trailhead 

The great thing about the McCullough Gulch Trail is that it’s a dial your own difficulty type of hike. The whole out and back trail is 4.6 miles which will net you all three beautiful mountain lakes and two waterfalls. 2.6 miles out and back will net you 2 lakes and a waterfall. Three quarters of a mile out and back will get you to the first lake. However, any way you do this trail it’ll be a beautiful hike through the varied terrain of McCullough Gulch.

The hike is generally a consistent incline all the way up with a few steeper sections here and there. Some easy scrambling may be required later. The later sections of the trail can also be difficult to follow since it is over mostly rocky terrain. Keep heading down the center of the gulch and you’ll find your way.

There’s a fair amount of parking along the sides of the road near the trailhead. But, the later you show up the further you have to walk on the road to get to the trail. Remember to drive past the Quandary Peak trailhead and stay left at the fork 1.5 miles afterward. Overall, being only a moderately trafficked hike, the rewards of this great hike near Breckenridge are gained without fighting too many crowds.

North Tenmile Creek Trail

  • Length: 6.5 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 20 minutes
  • Notes: Aspens, Creek, Forest, No restrooms at trailhead

Narrowly wedging its way down a steep-walled valley, the North Ten Mile Creek Trail will hit all your trail needs. It follows the North Tenmile Creek all the way back into the valley until you intersect the Gore Range Trail. The trail starts off following the creek through the forest but soon passes through lightly wooded meadows. There are plenty of aspens around so earmark this hike for a fall day. A slow incline the entire way you’ll feel like you’re climbing right into the mountains. The steep and rocky valley walls on either side provide the sights for the first portion of the trail. In the later sections of the trail you’ll have great views of a couple surrounding mountains.

The only logistical difficulty of this hike is that parking is somewhat limited at the direct trailhead. Depending on how people park there’s roughly a maximum of about 20 spots. However, you can also park in a lot just down the road and walk to the trailhead. Since this trail starts right in Frisco it can have higher than usual usage. However, don’t let that deter you from heading out on the North Tenmile Creek Trail.

Black Powder Pass Summit

  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 50 minutes
  • Notes: Mountain Views, Wildflowers, No restrooms at trailhead

Flanked by Boreas Mountain and Bald Mountain, the Black Powder Pass trail shoots up between them with all the views you may expect. The trailhead starts off at some rustic, old cabins which you can actually rent! (Section House and Ken’s Cabin) From there you’ll head through sparsely filled meadows as you make your way up. Be sure to stop and take a look behind you as Quandary peak and the Tenmile range stretch across the view.

Once you reach the top of the pass you’ll have a great view out onto the high plain of Park County. If you’re feeling sporty you can climb higher on the flanks of Boreas or Bald Mountain to get a better view. I’d highly recommend coming up here when the Aspens are turning. The road up Boreas Pass Rd. has a ton of close up views of turning Aspens.

FYI…the road to the trailhead (Boreas Pass Rd) is a dirt road and closed for the winter months of the year. It generally opens around the June time frame. I’ve done it in a 2WD car but the ride will be pretty rocky. Don’t let it deter you though. I came here for peak Aspen season and there was barely anyone else on the trail.

Mayflower Lake and Lower Mohawk Lake

  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 15 minutes
  • Notes: Lakes, Forest, Waterfall, No restrooms at trailhead

Perched up into a valley just south of Breckenridge you’ll find the Mayflower and Lower Mohawk Lake hike a strenuous but rewarding endeavor. On a steady incline you’ll spend the first 1.5 miles strolling through the forest below the looming mountains. Reaching Mayflower Lake at the 2.3 mile point should be no problem, but that’s where the difficulty starts to ratchet up.

Lower Mohawk lies on a “shelf” above the lower portions of the trail. Put on your scrambling shoes as it’s a 500 ft climb in just over half a mile to reach Lower Mohawk Lake. Completely worth it as that “shelf” gives you impressive views across the shallow, glassy lake and out of the valley mouth behind.

From the trailhead ensure you go left and follow the Spruce Creek Trail. Going to the right will keep you on the access road requiring you to avoid cars and endure the boring road walk. I highly recommend trekking poles for the descent as that 500 ft climb down from Lower Mohawk can be tough on the knees.

Difficult Hikes

Mt Victoria Peak Trail

  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 20 minutes
  • Notes: Mountain Views, Summit, Restrooms

Now this is the kind of hike that gets me excited. With a big elevation gain and a fairly long trail you won’t feel like a slouch after you summit Mt Victoria. It just adds to the enjoyment that you’ll have incomparable views as you huff and puff your way to the top. It really is no question one of the best hikes near Breckenridge.

You’ll start out by snaking your way around Mt Royal before heading up. Switchbacks up the side of Mt Royal will allow you to gain the Tenmile Range ridgeline. The TV antennas will mark the start of the ridgeline.  Follow the ridgeline and its many false summits until you finally attain Mt Victoria’s peak. Revel in your effort but remember you’ve still got a steep way down! For those seeking an even bigger challenge continue on past Mt Victoria until you get to Peak 1.

As this is a higher elevation hike you’ll likely need to wait for the snow to melt by July or August before attempting. In 2019 there was a huge avalanche in this area so I would be extremely cautious if you don’t have avalanche training. Poles are also essential on this trail to mitigate the steep conditions while coming down. If the scramble to the top gets difficult listen to your instincts and remember the trail will always be there tomorrow.

Quandary Peak Trail

  • Length: 6.7 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 20 minutes
  • Notes: Mountain Views, Summit, No restrooms at trailhead

With Quandary Peak so close to Breckenridge there was no way to avoid putting this great hike on the list. A full up 14’er, Quandary Peak will challenge you but the reward is equal to the effort. The hike is fairly straightforward and the path well-worn. The trailhead starts off in the forest but after about a mile you’ll break above treeline. With views for miles you’ll continue on up along the ridgeline with the summit ahead. After 2 miles and some scrambling at the end you’ll achieve the summit and have a magnificent view up and down the Mosquito-Tenmile Range.

Remember that you are going up to 14,265ft so the altitude will be a significant factor. Listen to yourself and take breaks as needed. Additionally, ensure you have all the right gear for the hike. Weather can change quickly so don’t get caught. Also, this is an extremely popular 14’er so you will not be alone but on the bright side it will make it easy to keep the trail. 

If you’re going hiking on a summer weekend make sure you are at the trailhead by 6:00-6:30am. It gets pretty full after that. Also be aware to park either on the 851 road or at the overflow lot at the start the 850 road. Don’t park along the side of the 850 road. Lastly, with no restrooms on the trail and this being a long hike I’d highly recommend making a stop at a gas station near Breckenridge.

Wheeler Lake

  • Length: 6.9 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 30 minutes
  • Notes: Lakes, Wildflowers, No restrooms at trailhead

A low trafficked trek up into the mountains the Wheeler Lake hike can be a good diversion from the popular high-trafficked mountain trails. The trail follows along diverse, rocky terrain under the shadow of Mt Lincoln. It’s really a great feeling, walking along a valley meadow trail with sloping mountain peaks to both sides. At the end Wheeler Lake awaits, placidly overlooking the valley floor and it’s running stream.

The trail is tame for most of the distance until you hit the last mile. On the last mile you’ll be climbing 600 ft to find Wheeler Lake nestled in a corner of the valley.

Do be aware that this trail also doubles as a 4×4 trail so keep your eye out for Jeeps. However, unless there’s a rally there’s not usually more than one or two out at a time. It is a dirt road to the trailhead so be aware of that if you have a 2WD vehicle and the weather is poor.

Mohawk Lakes

  • Length: 6.7 miles
  • Distance from Breckenridge: 20 minutes
  • Notes: Lakes, No restrooms at trailhead

With 9 total lakes you can see on the Mohawk Lakes trail this one is for all you lake junkies. As beautiful as it is challenging the Mohawk Lakes trail is one of the gems of the Breckenridge region. Going just after the snow melts is ideal as the lakes will be full and blue, reflecting the mountains around. You may even catch some marmots and wildflowers along your way.

On the trail you’ll have two big steep sections. One for the climb to Lower Mohawk Lake and the other to Mohawk Lake. However, once you’re up at Mohawk Lake you’ll really feel like you’re in the backcountry as you journey to the further lakes.

For those with 4WD cars you can cut off almost 2 miles if you take Spruce Creek Road until it ends at the trail. 2WD cars will have to park at the main trailhead and take the Spruce Creek Trail in. The pin for this hike on the Google Map at the top of this page marks the 2WD trailhead.

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