Hiking in Breckenridge
Barney Ford Trail
4.8 miles/ vertical 780 ft.
This hike actually follows three trails: Carter Park, Moonstone, and Barney Ford. The majority of the hike is on the Barney Ford Trail, which was built along old mining trails and ditches past mine ruins and plenty of glory holes. Except for the first grunt uphill on the Carter Park Trail, the hike through coniferous forest is fairly gentle and gorgeous. Enjoy the crisp mountain air as you hike through the abandoned mines.
2.2 miles/ minimal
This easy hike along the edges of Cucumber Gulch provides not only great views of the Tenmile Range, but also glimpses of a fen wetland that is considered prime habitat for the endangered boreal toad. Hike in the early morning or evening when the wild inhabitants come out. Moose, bears, beavers, foxes, coyotes, ospreys, bald eagles, and various duck species might be seen, so be careful. The Town of Breckenridge has designated Cucumber Gulch a wildlife preserve because of its sensitive natural resources. Trails do not enter the fragile gulch, but travel its edges and please do not enter the gulch as to protect these endangered species. To experience Cucumber Gulch, hike first to the overlook near Shock Hill, which provides a great view of the entire gulch and its various ponds nestled in the forest.
Hoosier Pass Loop
3 miles/ vertical 700 ft.
This is the perfect hike for those who want the exhilaration of hiking above tree line without the lung popping elevation gains often required to get there. You begin your hike at the sign board in the parking lot. A couple four wheel drive roads lead from the sign or directly above (north) it. The hike gives you awesome views of Mt. Lincoln and other perks to being above the tree line. Cairns and a faint path mark the way until you begin your descent to complete the loop. This is an arduous hike, so be prepared and bring some buddies to make it a perfect hiking day.
Spruce Creek Loop
4 miles/ vertical 690 ft.
Follow the Spruce Creek trail through a lush evergreen forest for about 1.8 miles to the intersection with Wheeler Trail. This junction is a good place to admire the views on your right as you continue on for about .3 mile to where the Spruce Creek Trail emerges from the forest and crosses the 4WD Spruce Creek Rd. This is a great early season hike or a spectacular winter snow shoe adventure. If you hike in the winter, snow may obscure the roadway so stay left at the first junction that appears shortly after you started down. This is also a popular area for cross country skiers. Spruce Creek Loop is a beginner hike, but a bit long so take plenty of water and enjoy this awesome area!
1.2 miles/ vertical 310 ft.
The Iowa Hill Hydraulic Placer Mine is explored along this historic interpretive trail. The hikes takes you back 145 years in history to the days when miners panned for gold then developed techniques using water cannons, called hydraulic giants, to wash the sides of gulches into sluice boxes to capture gold particles. Mining History News rates this trail as “one of the best hydraulic mining exhibits in the world.” A restored two-story log Miners ’Boarding House on the trail can be toured by appointment. This is a gorgeous and interesting area and is great for the whole family.
7 miles/ vertical 1700 ft.
If there’s one intermediate family hike that encapsulates everything wonderful about Summit County, it is the Mohawk Lake trail. From sweeping vistas, historic ruins and ore cars to waterfalls and close-up views of massive, rugged peaks, the Mohawk Trail is a great, 7mile trail that should not be missed. Kids will enjoy exploring a private cabin located near the settlement ruins that is available for use as a storm shelter. From Mayflower Lake it is a steady climb of about one mile to the old mill, the falls, and the lower Mohawk Lake. The trail will eventually climb upward to Mohawk Lake.
Crystal Lakes Trail
8 miles/ vertical 1500 ft.
Crystal Lake Trail is a long arduous climb, but well worth it. Here, you encounter close up views of 13,852′ Mt. Crystal and interesting mining ruins. A short scramble from the lower (eastern) end of Upper Crystal will reward you with spectacular views of Lower Crystal & Goose. There are a lot of switchbacks and uphill so be prepared for a taxing climb.