Breckenridge is a world-class destination all unto itself but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore other parts of “Colorful Colorado” while you’re here. Its centralized location is just one of the many reasons to love Breck. Explore our town and then use it as a base camp for this assortment of delightful day trips.
1. Hot Sulphur Springs — No trip to Colorado would be complete without a soak in one of the handful of rejuvenating hot springs nearby. The relaxing and therapeutic waters of Hot Sulphur Springs is a must in any season and a perfect end to a taxing day on the trails or slushy spring slopes. The quick 1.5-hour drive north up Highway 9 affords magnificent views of the Gore Range and Green Mountain Reservoir en route to Kremmling. From there, follow the headwaters of the upper Colorado River east to the short, scenic 8-mile gorge of Byers Canyon before coming to the springs.
More than 200,000 gallons of natural hot mineral-rich water flow through the resort’s 21 mineral pools and baths every day at temperatures ranging from 95-112 degrees. The family-friendly springs are nestled in along a hillside overlooking the Colorado River. The resort has an outdoor swimming pool during the summer and also offers an assortment of massages, including hot stone and deep tissue.
Note: A bathing suit, flip-flops, a towel and plenty of water is essential. A robe is also a nice touch if it’s winter. The springs offer towel and robe rental for $2 and $6 respectively. The pools contain a high sulphur content. Simply rinse the minerals and scent away afterwards in the locker rooms before exiting.
2. Mayflower Gulch – It’s just a quick cruise on Interstate 70 before you exit onto Highway 91 and head up toward Leadville. The trailhead is located on the left side of the road less than 6 miles from Copper Mountain Resort.
The easy 2-hour, 5-mile round-trip jaunt follows an old jeep trail and is the perfect acclimation hike, providing spectacular views of the Tenmile Range en route to old mining ruins. Pack a lunch and soak up the spectacular scenery of the cirque that dwarfs the Old Boston Mine boarding house and cabins below.
Note: You can add length to this hike by climbing adjacent Gold Hill. If possible, hit the trail on a weekday to avoid the crowds. The gulch usually holds snow until late June or July in big snow years so bring along a pair of snowshoes if venturing out during spring.
3. Buena Vista – Just an 1.5-hour drive from Breck is one of the best and most rafted rivers in the country — the Arkansas. Head south on Highway 9, hang a right onto Highway 285 in Fairplay. Continue on 285 for 35 miles until you hit Highway 24. Turn right before driving a few miles north to Buena Vista.
BV has it all. Myriad rafting companies offering a wild day on the river no matter your paddling prowess, plus it sits just to the north of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range — some of the highest mountains in the Rockies and so named because several of the mountains are named for prominent universities.
Buena Vista is a mecca for whitewater rafting whether you’re searching for a scenic float for the whole family or a multi-day, adrenaline-pumping paddle through famed Browns Canyon, The Numbers and other well-known sections of the river. This is a must-do for any Colorado summer vacation.
Note: There are a slew of respectable operators that run the Arkansas, including KODI Rafting, Arkansas Valley Adventures and River Runners. Excursions vary from a quick half-day trip to overnight campouts along the water. Save some money and drive down yourself or go all out with to-and-from transportation, meals and more.
4. Boulder – Sure it’s back on the Front Range but that’s part of the beauty of Breck — easy access to all things Colorado. Drive I-70 back toward Denver. Take the Golden/Red Rocks exit before heading north on Highway 93. Follow 93 for nearly 20 miles. For a more scenic route, take Highway 119 through Clear Creek Canyon. It empties you out in Golden before meeting back up with 93.
With more than 300 miles of hiking/biking trails and 45,000 acres of open space — not to mention warmer temps during the spring — Boulder is the perfect town for outdoor exploration of any kind. Start your hike from the Chautauqua Park Trailhead to tackle the famed Flatirons. Want to take it easy? Boulder’s famed Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall has restaurants and shops galore. Plus, it’s perhaps the best place in all of Colorado for people watching.
Note: Take a relaxing drive up Flagstaff Mountain to get a bird’s-eye view of town. Numerous pull-offs provide great views and the perfect spots for a picnic.