As the summer days shorten, the light softens and the temperatures drop…the energy in the mountains noticeably shifts. There is a sense of urgency to get outside as much as possible along with undeniable excitement for the first snowflakes to fly in hopes of a banner winter to follow. The fall season comes early and can be fast fleeting at 9600 feet but while it’s here it is truly breathtaking and brilliant.
From scenic drives, to fall festivals, hiking and biking there is an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to soak in these magic moments. The leaves begin to change early to mid-September; so make a plan now with these local tips to create an unforgettable autumn adventure of your own.
The state slogan, Colorful Colorado starts to make a lot of sense as the aspens turn to gold, crimson and orange. These wonderful pops of color create a stunning contrast to the dark green pines and bright blue sky with the occasional dusting of snow to top it all off. There is no better way to enjoy this beauty than to walk, hike or bike in the golden glow of the aspen groves. There are endless miles of trails to explore around here, so here are a few local favorites to get you started.
Minnie Mine Trail & Reiling Dredge – Travel on foot or mountain bike on the Minnie Mine trail for a glimpse of the past as you weave through colorful aspen groves peppered with mining structures from the early days of Breckenridge. Make it a loop by adding the X10U8 and B&B trails to circle back to the Reiling Dredge historical site.
Pence Miller Trail – get your nature fix right in town. Head uphill through pines and aspen grooves taking in wonderful views of the town of Breckenridge and Baldy Mountain. Continue to Cucumber Gulch Nature Preserve for unobstructed views of Breckenridge Ski Resort. Keep an eye out for Moose in the wetlands underneath the gondola and soak in the mountain views.
Bike Path — Breckenridge to Frisco – pedal the paved Blue River bike path from Breckenridge to Frisco along the Blue River and the shores of Lake Dillon through colorful aspens and towering pines. Beer lovers can make it a biking brewery tour by customizing the ride with stops at Breckenridge Brew Pub, Broken Compass Brewery, Backcountry Brewery and/or Outer Range Brewery. Grab a ride on the Summit Stage back to Breckenridge or double back on the the bike path for a longer ride. Plan for 10 miles one way or 20 miles total if you take on the round-trip journey.
Scenic Drive – Boreas Pass
Boreas Pass is the quintessential fall experience, a captivating scenic drive that tops out at 11,481 feet — full of history, scenery, a trip across the continental divide, high alpine views and aspens galore.
Take your time on the drive and take advantage of the numerous opportunities to stop and stretch your legs, take pictures and take in the grandeur of this mountain pass. The views and historical sites are spectacular but the journey is the real attraction. The Section House marks the top of the journey and if you are ready for some fresh air — park the car and take a hike on Black Powder Pass or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at top of the pass.
Journey onward to Como to leave any traffic behind and take in more gorgeous foliage. From Como, head to Fairplay on 285 South and then connect to Highway 9 North. Continue over the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass to arrive back to Breckenridge. The route is suitable for low-clearance 2WD cars, although it does get a little bumpy in some areas, for the most part, it’s an easy, high-alpine drive.
Fall is festival season in Breckenridge without a doubt and there is a celebration for everyone. Labor Day kicks things off with the annual Summit Foundation Rubber Duck Race and Great Divide Art Festival, the famous Oktoberfest is set for Sept. 8-10, 2017 followed by the Breckenridge Wine Classic Sept. 14-17, 2017 and the annual Breckenridge Film Fest is back September 21-24, 2017 just to name a few! See a full list of fall events with details and descriptions here.
Grab a spiced chai or a pumpkin latte and take a casual stroll down historic Main Street. Wander in and out of quaint shops, follow the path along the Blue River up to Maggie Pond and be sure to stop for lunch at one of the many local restaurants and cafes. Enjoy happy hour and watch the sunset on the deck at the iconic Breckenridge Brewery, Kenosha Steakhouse, Twist or South Ridge Seafood Grill. Relax and take in the magnificent views of the mountains with a tasty beverage or après treat of your choice.