Hiking on the Wheeler Trail
Hiking trails radiate from every town in Summit County and provide miles of off-road experiences from easy to difficult walks. Varieties of goals: views, shade, sun, peaks, lakes, rivers, come in different degrees on each hike, so a little advice helps.
Hiking in the Breckenridge area:
Breckenridge is located at the base of Peaks 6 through 10 of the Tenmile Range and everywhere you look from town there are high peaks surrounding you. Where can you go for a great hike?
The national forest lands that are the slopes of the Breckenridge Ski Resort in winter are gateways to more public land in summer. The improvements of lifts and roads can be a great help to the summer visitor. A great way to get a head start on the climb up Peak 8 or 9 is to ride the lift. From town, hikers can take the gondola or a free bus to the base of Peak 8, and then ride a lift to the Vista Haus, gaining 1,000 feet and putting you at an altitude of 11,500, only 1339 feet from the summit of peak 8. The Wheeler Trail will cross the Tenmile Range in the saddle below Peak 9, and continues all the way down this side of the ridge to Tenmile Creek. Across that creek and the highway to Leadville is Copper Mountain. It's a long day hike from the in-town BreckConnect Gondola to Copper Mountain, but it's a fun trip if there is afternoon music in Copper's Burning Stones Plaza. The resort runs buses throughout Copper if your feet are tired so you don't have to walk back. Summit County runs the free Summit Stage from Copper to Frisco, and to Breckenridge which will return you close to the gondola base.
Find a Trail in Summit County: Best Hiking Websites
You won't find a better comprehensive source for hiking trails in Summit County than right here! There are several websites that can help with varying degrees of detail.
- Summit County's Interactive Trails Map
- Breckenridge's Open Space & Trail Map
- Forest Service Maps
- White River National Forest List of Trails
- AllTrails records trails all over the U.S. Here's the page for Breckenridge on AllTrails.
- Peak Finder is a fun app that hones in on your location and shows you the mountains 360 degrees around you through a mobile app. Online, check out Breckenridge Peak Finder.
Radiating from the center of Frisco, major trails lead off into diverse public land and offer connections to some of the most popular trails in Colorado. The Miner's Creek Trailhead is on the south side of town near the Summit County Library. The trail goes to Rainbow Lake, connects to trails to Masonville and other locales near downtown, but also joins the Peaks Trail, sometimes called the Freckenridge because it links Frisco to Breckenridge. It also joins the Wheeler Trail on its way to Copper Mountain, and the celebrated Colorado Trail in the section called Gold Hill.
The Colorado Trail hike goes from Denver to Durango, in the southwest corner of the state. Parking is available for this section, the Gold Hill Trail, off Highway 9 near Summit High, which is located between Frisco and Breckenridge. After Gold Hill meets the Peaks Trail, the Colorado route continues to Copper. But if you wanted to head in the direction of Denver, this route is taken up on the east side of Highway 9 and makes the most efficient path through the national and local public lands in the Swan River drainage.
Swan River - North Breck to Keystone
Several trails extend through the public lands accessible off Tiger Road - the road to the Breckenridge Public Golf Course. One interesting trailhead leads to, and becomes part of the Colorado Trail, takes hikers through a designated winter wildlife habitat, has several loops for bikers and hikers of all abilities and eventually will arrive at Keystone Ranch. The trailhead is called Tiger Dredge (or Horseshoe Gulch) because the parking area is marked by the dredging boat remains of a mining operation on the Swan River. Miners left in the early part of the 20th century, but the boat remains as an eroding memorial. In summer, or under the snow in winter, the first part of the trail is built on rock piles that the dredging boat mounded up like a slug path.
No matter where you choose to live in Summit County, you'll will find access to the mountains. Give us call at (970) 453-2200 or contact Breckenridge Associates online.