One glorious summer my family was lucky enough to spend the entire month of July in Breckenridge, CO. My husband and I, along with our sons aged 7, 12, and 14 drove from Atlanta, Ga. to Breckenridge. We rented a condo at the base of the mountain and spent four weeks exploring. Here are our five favorite things to do in summer in Breckenridge. It was hard to keep this list to just five, so if you want to read about all the other things we did too, check out is article on Exploring Breckenridge in Winter and Summer on my site 365 Atlanta Family.
Mountain Bike School. Breckenridge is known as one of the most bicycle friendly communities in North America. Atlanta is not. We never ride bikes in Atlanta. In fact, our family bike rides consist of peddling on flat paved sidewalks during our beach trips to St. Simons Island.
My husband had done some mountain biking on local trails, but no one had ever looked over the handlebars down a 12,000+ foot mountain. Mountain Bike School was the perfect introduction. We learned how to navigate various terrains. We were able to make sure our bikes were up for the task (not all our bikes had the required front suspension). Then, we got comfortable with the trails on a guided ride.
Breck Bike Week. Biking turned out to be one of our favorite past-times. We took the paved Blue River Trail from our condo to downtown almost every day. Breck Bike Week got us even more excited about biking. We found the free Breckenridge Pump Track, and did a tour of town via bike.
My husband and older boys participated on a 10-mile Poker Ride, while the little guy and I did a Go Fish Ride. The 12-year-old was a bit skeptical that he could finish the 10-miles, and felt quite accomplished when he did. I thought the Go Fish ride would be a short course in a parking lot, but it was a real adventure along the Blue Ridge Trail. The party afterward was a fun way to feel a part of the community.
Hiking the McCollough Gulch Trail. We did quite a bit of hiking in Breckenridge. My youngest enjoyed the Iowa Mine Trail because it was short and had lots of old mine equipment to inspect along the route, and we learned about the friendly fir and the spikey spruce on a guided Sawmill Trail hike.
Our favorite however was the McCollough Gulch Trail. The 2.8 mile out and back led us past sculptured mountains to a glacier lake and water fall. We saw marmots and pikas within the rocks. The mountains all around made us feel small and insignificant and coming upon the waterfalls and lake was like discovering a paradise lost. My middle son took more than 100 pictures wearing out the battery in my iPhone. This is one hike we are determined to revisit again.
The Alpine Slide. Speeding down a cement track on a plastic sled with a simple lever for a break was the best part of our day at the Breckenridge Fun Park (now called Peak 8 Base Camp as part of Epic Discovery). It was the sense of controlling your own destiny and the ever-present danger of wiping out that made everyone want to go again and again. Years later, the Alpine slide is still the topic of family lore. Now Peak 8 Base Camp is just part of a larger Epic Discovery program where you can zip line, rock climb and more.
Explore Downtown Breckenridge. Whether it was meeting friends at Kenosha for happy hour, browsing through my favorite shop Marigolds Funk and Junk, taking a ghost tour with Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, or decorating bikes for the 4th of July parade, what makes Breck special is that it’s a real town, not just a tourist destination. And even though I love to ski, I think I like summer in Breckenridge best.
Author: Sue Rodman
Managing Editor and Business Development at 365 Atlanta Family, LLC