If you’re a first-time visitor to Breckenridge, you may want to map out every sight and stop. But, I’ve found that the best way to discover a new place is simply to explore, sans agenda. That said, there are some Breck gems and local secrets you don’t want to miss. Let this be your checklist of in-the-know suggestions that will help you get the most out of your trip. Breck is one of the most popular vacation spots winter and summer. It’s worth it to check out the “must do” activities but make sure to spend some time exploring the local favorites off the beaten path.
What to do:
1. Ski/Snowboard like the locals
If you’re visiting between November and April, you must hit the slopes. Whether you want to ski or snowboard, rentals are easy to come by in this mountain town. Try Christy’s, Breck Sports or Base Mountain Sports (across from The Village Hotel). If you’re experienced and adventurous, don’t miss the incredible terrain on recently opened Peak 6. And make sure to get a picture at the top of Imperial, the highest chairlift in North America.
2. Breckenridge Distillery Tour
Like many ski towns, Breckenridge moonlights as a party town, especially in peak season. However, not all ski towns can boast of having the world’s highest distillery. The Breckenridge Distillery offers tours Tuesday-Sunday from 11am to 6pm, on the hour and half hour. Or drop in anytime during business hours for a complimentary tasting of their small-batch bourbon, spiced rum, and vodka.
3. Hike Quandary
Feeling ambitious enough to tackle a 14er? Then hike Quandary Peak, the highest summit in the Tenmile Range. Quandary is an easier hike than many other 14ers, making it an accessible way to experience life at 14, 265 ft. That’s not to say the ascent is any sort of picnic. But you’ll be rewarded with unbelievable views and proximity to mountain goats and other wildlife of the White River National Forest.
4. Breckenridge Cruisers
This isn’t your average bar crawl. Thursday nights all summer, Breckenridge Cruisers ride bikes from bar to bar, often in costume. Each ride has a theme. This summer’s lineup includes Shark Week, Christmas in July and Disco Fever. Participants in this free event usually hit three bars per week. So rent a bike and have a beer with some of Breck’s rowdiest locals.
5. Tour Country Boy Mine
Experience a bit of Breck’s history as a Gold-Rush mining town by touring Country Boy Mine, a historic restored mining site. The 45-minute tour will take you over 1,000 ft. into a mountain, where you’ll explore the tunnels and pan for gold. Founded in 1887, Country Boy Mine produced gold and silver through much of the 20th century. However, the mine is most famous for the amount of lead and zinc it produced for use in the first two World Wars.
6. Hike Mohawk Lakes
This 6.7-mile hike is a perennial favorite of locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. Mohawk Lake and Lower Mohawk Lake are nestled in a glacial valley amid waterfalls and long-abandoned log cabins. Take the Spruce Creek Trail to Continental Falls, the largest waterfall in the area. From the trail you’ll see old mining ruins and the restored Continental Cabin, where hikers can rest or get out of the rain.
7. Trivia Tuesdays at Motherloaded Tavern
I’d argue that Motherloaded hosts the best trivia night in town. Get a group together or join one there, and test your smarts. Trivia starts at 9pm, but get there early. From 8-10pm it’s “$2 Tuesday”: $2 draft beers, well liquor drinks, and house wine. Don’t even think about looking up the answers on your phone; there are prizes on the line. You can even win a bottle for having the best team name.
Where to eat/drink:
1. Get 2 for 1 martinis at Blue River Bistro
Blue River Bistro has not one but two happy hours daily. Go from 3-6pm or 9-12pm for 2 for 1 martinis and appetizers. On the weekends, there’s live music.
2. Eat a burger at The Canteen
The Canteen opened in December and has quickly ascended to #1 in Breck. They are best known for their burgers. Try “The Hoss” (bacon, cheddar, and house BBQ topped with a stack of onion rings), or the fan favorite “Honeydew” (fire-roasted green chiles, cream cheese, honey, and yellow mustard). Reservations are recommended, and are a must on weekends.
3. Bottomless mimosas at Cool River Café (weekends)
For many of us, brunch is the meal that tops all others. Do brunch right this weekend with bottomless mimosas at Cool River Café. Enjoy your mimosa(s) with a riff on Cool River’s hangover-busting Egg Man and Bacon Man sandwiches.