best fall hikes near Breckenridge Are you looking to surround yourself with the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds of fall?  Do trails winding through Aspen trees make you feel at one with nature?  Well then, head to Summit County.  These must-do fall hikes in Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Keystone, Copper, and Silverthorne are sure to make your fall experience complete.

Fall comes and goes fast in Summit County.  This year (2018) it started August 30th and Winter arrived October 8th.  For the best in fall colors, aim for the second or third week of September.

Fall Hikes Near Breckenridge

McCullough Gulch

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

Hiking McCullough Gulch is one of the best fall hikes near Breckenridge.

The start of McCullough Gulch has gorgeous patches of aspen trees, but it’s the view of the aspens across the valley near Breckenridge that I enjoyed the most.  

Distance RT: 6.2 miles
Total elevation gain:
1,578 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trailhead:
 McCullough Gulch Trailhead 
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

Baker’s Tank/Boreas Pass

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

You can hike or drive the gorgeous Boreas Pass for great fall colors and views of Breckenridge below.

A great fall hike very close to Breckenridge is the Baker’s Tank and Boreas Pass road.  Park at the Baker’s Tank trailhead and when you arrive at the tank, walk back on the road for some gorgeous views of the surrounding Ten Mile Mountain Range and Blue River Valley, plus tons of aspen trees along the road.  Go early so there is less traffic when you walk back on the road as it can get dusty.  Option: you can skip the hike and just drive all 20 miles of Boreas Pass.  

Distance RT: 5.1 miles
Total elevation gain:
882 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trailhead:
 Baker’s tank trailhead 
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash


Booking.com

 

 

Fall Hikes Near Frisco

Rainbow Lake

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

Gorgeous fall colors surrounding Rainbow Lake

One of the easiest and most bang-for-your-buck hikes is the easy trek to Rainbow Lake.  This hike starts a few blocks off Main street in downtown Frisco.  There is a large dirt parking lot at the trailhead (enough room for a motorhome to turn around but don’t take a trailer in there).  

Distance RT: 2 miles
Total elevation gain:
232 feet
Difficulty:
Easy
Trailhead:
 Rainbow Lake Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

Meadow Creek to Lily Pad Lake

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

Another easy hike where you are surrounded by yellow and orange Aspens is the hike to Lily Pad Lake.  This is a fairly easy hike and good for the whole family.

Distance RT: 3.4 miles
Total elevation gain:
770 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trailhead:
 Meadow Creek Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

Mount Royal

Pretty fall colors surround the steep trail up to Mt Royal

We did this hike as part of our epic Peaks Traverse (See the YouTube video of this crazy hike here).  The colors on the way up were incredible, but pale in comparison to the insane views you get of the surrounding mountain sides when you reach the peak.  Looking down on Frisco, Copper, and Silverthorne was the highlight of all the fall hikes we did this year.

Distance RT: 3.9 miles
Total elevation gain:
1,374 feet
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Trailhead: 
Mount Royal Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

North Ten Mile Creek

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

Danny running the Ten Mile Creek Trail

If you are want a hike that’s a little more than Rainbow Lake and Lily Pad Lake, but not quite as hard as Mount Royal.  North Ten Mile is a popular trail.

Distance RT: 6.5 miles
Total elevation gain:
889 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trailhead:
North Ten Mile Creek Trailhead
Dogs Allowed:
Yes on leash

 

Fall Hikes Near Silverthorne

Rock Creek to Bross Mine

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

Gorgeous fall colors surround the valley floor on the way to Bross Mine

There are a few different trails to choose from at this trailhead.  We choose this one because of the amount of time we had to hike, but there are other hikes to Kettle Ponds and Boulder Lake that looked fun to do from this trailhead.  It’s a dirt road to get to the trailhead.  Our RV might have made it, but parts are pretty bumpy so we choose to park a mile away and hike to the trailhead.  A regular car would have no problem getting here.  The drive to the trailhead is also gorgeous with fall colors.

Distance RT: 4.3 miles
Total elevation gain:
807 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate
Trailhead:
Rock Creek Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: No

Lower Cataract Lake

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

There are three great hikes from this area.  If you want an easier hike out in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, give Lower Cataract a try.  If you are up for a bigger challenge, there’s a 6.5 mile round trip hike to Surprise Lake or 7.4 to Eaglesmere Lake.  

Distance RT: 2.3 miles
Total elevation gain:
223 feet
Difficulty:
Easy
Trailhead: 
There’s a parking lot right after Surprise Lake Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash


Booking.com

 

Ptarmigan Trail

This is a popular hike in Silverthorne area that many locals rave about.  Start by first hiking Angler Mountain Trail #29 and then turning left when you reach the Ptarmigan Trail.

Distance RT: 11.7 miles
Total elevation gain:
3,800 feet
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Trailhead:
Angler Mountain Road (39.654706, -106.065810)
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

 

Fall Hikes Near Dillon/Keystone

Tenderfoot Mountain

This wouldn’t be one of my top picks, but it is an easy hike and has beautiful views of Dillon Reservoir.  

Distance RT: 2.6 miles
Total elevation gain:  
574 feet
Difficulty:
Easy
Trailhead:
Tenderfoot Mountain Trailhead
Dogs Allowed: Yes 

Fall Hikes Near Copper Mountain

Wheeler Lake

Best Fall Hikes To Do In Summit county Colorado

The orange hillside is the trail to wheeler lake

The best time to do this hike is in the fall since the trail up to Wheeler Lakes takes you through large groves of Aspens.

Distance RT: 6.7 miles
Total elevation gain:
1,568 feet
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Trailhead:
 Right off the I-70 by Copper (GPS coordinates 39.517816, -106.146669)
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash

If you are looking for a backpacking adventure with amazing fall colors, try the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop near Aspen.

Related Blog: Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop.  

Also, one of the best parts of Summit County is how easy it is to get around to many of the trailheads by using the free bus system.  Click here to read tips for Summit County Bus System (coming soon).

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