Winter is a magical time of year to visit Breckenridge. With world class skiing and numerous other winter activities, the snowy landscape is sure to entertain and delight. One of the many great ways to enjoy the scenic mountains is going hiking or snowshoeing! With hundreds of named trails in the area, we’ve narrowed down a list to the best options for you to get outside and enjoy.
If you don’t have your own snowshoes, it’s super easy to rent some from local retailers. Some of the more packed trails would be more enjoyable with a small traction device like a microspikes. These can be rented in some places, or you can purchase your own.
Trail Suggestions for the Best Winter Hikes in Breckenridge
Distance: choose your own distance, up to 16 miles
Features: pine forest, some mountain views
The Peaks Trail is a great beginner, easy, out-and-back trail located right near the base of Peak 7. While the entire length of the trail is about 8 miles one-way, you can choose to make this an all day adventure or a short excursion by picking your own turn-around point. It goes all the way from Breckenridge to Frisco, the next town over, so if you choose to walk the entire length, you can take a public transit bus from Frisco back to Breckenridge.
Sallie Barber Mine
Distance: 2.8 miles
Features: mountain views, pine forest, mining history
Sallie Barber Mine Trail is another great beginner option for snowshoeing, although it’s a little more difficult than the Peaks Trail with just more elevation gain. I’ve rated this trail as moderate because it’s a steady uphill incline the whole way up that’s sure to get you a little sweaty, but I would lean towards the easier side of moderate. This trail does offer more robust mountain views though, and is worth the effort to see the sights. The mine itself was established in 1880 and the site has several interpretive signs describing it’s history and such. This is a great adventure for families, couples, and any mining enthusiasts.
Boreas Pass Road
Distance: up to 22 miles one-way – basically endless
Features: mountain views, pine forest, wide open trail
Boreas Pass Road is an amazing summer drive and hiking destination, but in the winter the road is closed and the route becomes open to winter travel such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and even snowmobiles. You can park at the main trailhead and walk along the road for however long you want, since the entire length of the road is 22 miles one-way. Within the first mile is the best mountain views of all the hikes on this list, then you’ll continue through aspen groves and pine forest with more mountain views scattered throughout. We highly recommend this trail since it’s flat and has the best views of the 10 Mile Range.
Pennsylvania Gulch / Creek
Distance: up to 4.5 miles
Features: south facing, pine forest, some views farther along the trail
Pennsylvania Creek Trail is a off-the-beaten-path, less traveled snowshoe track that’s actually an off-roading route in the summertime. It’s out-and-back, which means you can pick your own distance even though the entire length of the trail is up to 4.5 miles. One of the best parts of this trail is the south exposure, so it’s great for sunny days. The trailhead is small and parking is limited, so we wouldn’t recommend visiting on weekends.
Spruce Creek Trail
Distance: 4.3 miles
Features: wide open trail, pine forest, sunny exposure
In the summertime, Spruce Creek Trail is home to the trailhead for the popular Mohawk Lakes hike and Continental Falls. But in the winter, the backcountry road closes, and is a great option for snowshoeing or hiking. This trail is up to 4.3 miles roundtrip, and is the most difficult of the hikes so far with 984 feet in elevation gain. The trail is wide open though, with plenty of room and lots of side trails for exploring. The trail isn’t as well marked, so we recommend downloading the trail map before you go.
Blue Lakes Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles to first lake, 1.75 miles to second lake (one-way)
Features: wide open trail, pine forest, mountain views, alpine lakes
Just like many of the other trails on this list, Blue Lakes Breckenridge is an amazing summer destination that closes to vehicle traffic in the wintertime. You can hike, snowshoe, or cross country ski the road that you would normally drive in the summer time, and it takes you up into the Blue Lakes valley. It begins in thick pine forest with a wide trail, then opens up into some great mountain views once you get near the lakes. The alpine lakes are frozen over, which is a really cool sight. Please note that this area can be fun to explore in the summer, but you should stay on trail in the winter unless you research avalanche risk above you in this valley.
What to Wear on Your Feet
Besides the obvious of wearing hiking socks, liner socks for hiking, and waterproof, insulated winter hiking boots or shoes, we’re talking about what kind of traction devices you should use. A lot of the highly trafficked trails in Breckenridge don’t necessarily require any additional foot gear since they are typically packed down. It does make the hike easier if you have a micro spikes or crampons (or something similar) just to give you some traction on the slippery surface.
If it’s really snowy or you’re going on a less traveled trail, we recommend renting snowshoes from a local retailer. Even if you end up not needing them as much as you think, they’re still great for traction and are part of the winter adventure. If you want something even more extra, you could try your hand at cross country skiing or even backcountry touring. The best place to cross country ski is at one of the two local Nordic centers, where you can rent gear and use their groomed trails.
Before You Go
Hiking in the winter in Breckenridge can be magical, but it can also be dangerous. The temperatures can be severely cold, so it’s essential that you’re properly dressed and prepared for an outdoor adventure. Stay on popular trails and don’t venture off trail unless you are experienced or researched when it comes to avalanche risk, which is a real danger here. You should also take the proper precautions to keep your water bottle from freezing, bring the essentials, and dress appropriately.
You should also read up on all our tips for hiking in winter and cold weather. It’s essential that you’re properly ready so your fun adventure doesn’t turn into a disaster. Following these steps will help keep you safe, warm, and having fun.