Breckenridge trip
July 5, 2016 3:25 PM   Subscribe

I will be in Breckenridge, CO for a week. What should I do, where should I eat?

I will be in Breckenridge for a week later this month. The first few days will be spent with coworkers, but we will have some time for short hikes or other outdoor things, and I'd love some suggestions for low-key bars for the evening. We'll be staying downtown.

After that, I'll have three full days to myself and I decided to stay in Breck. I'll be staying here. Looking for suggestions for :

- hiking. I really want to get out into the mountains, see wildflowers, peaks, etc. But a bad knee means whatever I do needs to be relatively flat and easy-to-navigate (no scrambles or extended stairways, both of which are rough on my knee).

- rafting - I've never been and I'm a bit nervous about rapids, but it seems like a great way to appreciate the landscape, especially since I can't do serious hiking. Any suggestions on a good company and/or trip to pick for a newbie?

- hot springs - there don't seem to be any in Breckenridge but I'm willing to do some driving. Where should I go? Mt Princeton? Glenwood Springs?

- interesting offbeat or historical sites

- great places to eat or drink in Breckenridge (or nearby)

I will have a car and am willing to drive up to two hours for any of these things.
posted by lunasol to Travel & Transportation around Breckenridge, CO (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have breakfast at Butterhorn Bakery in Frisco. It's great!
posted by dawkins_7 at 3:46 PM on July 5, 2016

You can go to Alma and have a beer at the highest saloon in North America.

The Barney Ford House is worth a visit -- Barney Ford, formerly an enslaved person, became a civil-rights pioneer in 19th century Colorado.

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs is pretty awesome. On the same road, higher up, is the ghost town of St. Elmo.

Camp Hale, outside of Leadville, is where the 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II -- a lot of those guys returned to Colorado to start ski resorts after the war. There isn't a lot there, but there is some interpretation.

The Summit County Historical Society occasionally does historic "tours" of Dillon Reservoir. The Denver Water Board moved the town of Dillon to create the reservoir -- the tours involve going out on a boat and having the guide point at things that are now underwater.

Leadville is worth a trip. Breckenridge and the towns near it are a little fussy and cleaned up -- Leadville still feels like Colorado did decades ago (although it attracts a lot of tourists, too.)

South Park City in Fairplay is a kitschy replica of an Old West town.

Breweries that are in or within two hours of Breckenridge: Breckenridge Brewery, Dillon Dam Brewery, Pug Ryan's (Dillon), Baker's (in Silverthorne); Periodic (in Leadville); Eddyline Brewing (in Buena Vista); Amicas Brewing (in Salida), Elevation Brewing (Poncha Springs), Crazy Mountain and Bonfire (in Edwards) -- I'm sure there are others. There are also distilleries in Breckenridge, Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida.
posted by heurtebise at 4:50 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

For food, I like The Crown. And Rasta Pasta.. Hmm, does it still exist?
The Barge is nice if it is open.

Breck is pretty high up, so you might notice the altitude, even where you are staying. Stay hydrated and take it easy the first few days. (Also sunscreen!) Beer seems stronger up there too..

You can get a great view from the actual ski area because they run some lifts in the summer- you can mountain bike down, or hike down, or take the lift down. I don't know if you can hike *up* and take the lift down, but it would be easier on your knees.

There are some trails around town that are less up and down, but regardless of what hiking you want to do, hiking poles are the best. I won't go without them anymore. Mountain Outfitters right in town is my favorite gear shop in case you want to purchase a pair!

If you go to Glenwood you have to eat at The Pullman. Don't tell me how awesome it is, I'll be jealous. (Ok, I am kinda jealous anyhow).
posted by nat at 5:04 PM on July 5, 2016

I remember visiting in early June one time with skis, and nearly everyone else had a mountain bike with them. If trail riding / mountain biking is your thing, it's certainly got great scenery.

Most (all?) ski resorts will happily sell you a lift ticket to ride up to the top of the mountain and just look around. It seems hokey, but the views are pretty great.

I remember (vaguely) driving past keystone and A-basin up to the continental divide. It's been so long I honestly don't remember if there was anything good to look at besides a sign that said "continental divide".

Glenwood will eat up a lot of your driving time. I visited 2 hot springs there. One is a hot springs in a cave. If you like super hot and super humid hot springs, it was pretty cool. The other is a pool. Like... a regular swimming pool, but heated. There's also a smaller, hotter pool. It was a great way to relax and just enjoy the cooler alpine summer. I wouldn't recommend the hanging lake hike (which is on the way to Glenwood). It's super beautiful, but is basically 3 miles straight up. Very easy terrain, but a LOT of elevation gain.

If you've never done white water rafting, I recommend it. Class 2/3 is pretty tame, and the guides guides keep you very safe. I did it near Basalt, but I suspect there's something in summit county as well.
posted by Phredward at 5:07 PM on July 5, 2016

Breckenridge Distillery
Can't say I've ever been there, I just like their bourbon a lot.
Distillery (tours): 1925 Airport Rd
Tasting room & : 137 S. Main
posted by artdrectr at 5:47 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite low key bar downtown is the Blue Stag. Good food too.
posted by bwanabetty at 7:08 PM on July 5, 2016

Just an FYI about Glenwood Springs: I-70 going through the canyon has had only one lane open both directions due to a large rock fall incident, and depending on traffic and road work it can be slow at times, and don't know if the status will change by the time you get here.

I like Leadville, too - there's a great coffee place on Main Street. If you would like to go to Mt. Princeton for hot springs, a neat little trip might be a loop trip through Alma-Fairplay-Buena Vista, down to the springs, and then back to Breck via Leadville and 91 (past a HUGE mine, the Climax Mine, at Fremont Pass). Or the opposite way (there's a great little coffee place on the Leadville Main Street). Not only will you see numerous 14ers, you will also see Mt. Elbert, the highest. But map it out first to see if that's not too much driving for you. If you like burgers, fries, and shakes, then K's Dairy Delite in Buena Vista (on the main drag, next to the Shell station) is delicious with a fun vibe, and a great little park to eat your food in adjacent. There's some light trekking along the lakes near Leadville - I'm fond of Twin Lakes myself.

Eating and drinking: Prost in Frisco for a Bavarian experience, the Gold Pan for a touristy but fun vibe experience, and for a special breakfast treat, the Arapahoe Cafe in Dillion overlooking the lake (try to sit outside). The Canteen is one of my favs in Breck for food and beer. I also like Empire for burgers but it is not cheap even for Breck.

It's hard to recommend a bar in Breck without knowing what kind of bar you like - they have all kinds! You'll see many just walking along the main drag. I've never had a bad experience in any of them. Lately I've been enjoying Apres. However, the best places IMHO are those that have some kind of patio or place you can sit outside. :)

There is a wonderful walking/biking path along the Blue River north of town - fairly flat, and it starts in Breck, but you can also drive and park near certain sections if you want to get out of town a little.

I'll think a little bit about some good hikes in the area for you - there's a few trails around Buffalo Mountain that might fit the bill if you don't go too far in. Also want to offer if you'd like a hiking buddy, memail me! (I also have a 4WD.)
posted by barchan at 7:35 PM on July 5, 2016

McCullough Gulch Trail - don't miss it. I took kids, a dog, an old dude, and a very overweight person up it. everyone fared pretty well. i don't know the altitude you normally live at - save this for week's end when you are mx-acclimatized.

Go super early - the road and trail and parking will get shitty busy very quickly.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:38 PM on July 5, 2016

A friend of ours works for the tourist board in Breckenridge and writes about a ton of stuff to do on the town blog.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:44 AM on July 6, 2016

Response by poster: Go super early - the road and trail and parking will get shitty busy very quickly.

McCullough Gulch sounds perfect! What does super-early mean? 7:00 am? 9:00 am?
posted by lunasol at 11:23 AM on July 6, 2016

- rafting - Any of the main outfitters you see advertisements for will be fine. If you're nervous, do one of the class III trips -- Brown's Canyon is a classic and highly recommended.

- eating and drinking - Hearthstone in Breck is good for fancy dinner out; so is the Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:04 AM on July 21, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for all the tips everyone! Breckenridge was beautiful, though the combination of the altitude and some serious allergies made the trip a bit more low-key than I'd been planning.

One day I did a variant of the loop barchan laid out, and that was great: started in Leadville in the morning, walked around a bit of Turquoise Lake, then on to K's Dairy Delite for lunch (really good!) and then Mount Princeton for the hot springs. That was a bit too family-friendly for me, but the river feature was really cool, and the water was very relaxing.

On the way back, I passed Hoosier Pass (continental divide), and it was so beautiful I decided to hike the loop the next day. It was amazing. The loop is short (3 miles) but I definitely struggled with the altitude there! Totally worth it for the views though.
posted by lunasol at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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