From skiing and snowshoeing, to great places to eat and drink, these are the best things to do in Breckenridge in winter.
Winter can be a struggle, but beautiful views and fun experiences make it a little easier to deal with! If you’re looking for a fun escape in the states this year, how about a trip to Breckenridge in Colorado? This ex-Gold Rush town at the base of the Rocky Mountains comes into its own when the snow starts to fall. From heart-stopping action to tranquil encounters with nature, there are so many great things to do in Breckenridge in winter.
With average temperatures of 21°C / 70°F in summer and -2°C / 28°F in winter, the weather is just perfect for winter activities in Breckenridge. So, wrap up warm, grab your skis and let’s start planning the ultimate Colorado itinerary.
The best winter activities in Breckenridge, Colorado
Ski or snowshoe in Breckenridge
Some of the best winter activities in Breckenridge involve skiing and snowboarding on Breck’s (as the friendly locals call it) five peaks. Beginners and families should steer towards Peak 9, while intermediates can cruise down Peak 7.
For serious adventure, faster skiers will love Peaks 6 and 10. Everyone should experience Peak 8, however, the resort’s highest point and its original heart, where you’ll find trails for all levels.
If you’re more of a hiker, you could pop on some snowshoes and head off on one of the trails between the two Breckenridge Nordic Centres, where you’ll also see lots of people cross-country skiing. Within 2,000 acres of pristine forest this is one of the prettiest places to visit in Breckenridge in winter. Access is via the free Ski and Ride Shuttle or you can stroll from downtown.
Go on a winter adventure through the forests
Hiking with the sun in the sky and a crunch of snow underfoot has to be one of the more magical things to do in Breckenridge in winter. There’s a moderately easy route beginning at Carter Park in town, or you could also access longer and more difficult hikes nearby.
The Carter Park winter hike is popular as it’s short and provides great views of the Resort and Tenmile Range as you make your way uphill.
Hang out with the huskies
How adorable are huskies? If you love these beautiful creatures, how about booking a guided dog sledding tour which will take you six miles through the Swan River Valley.
Not only will you get to ride on board the dogsled, you can also take turns steering the dogs too! This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Breckenridge in winter.
See the sights from a sleigh
If the husky trip sounds a little too active, how about remaining seated with a guided sleigh ride instead? As horses dash you through the snowy terrain, you’ll get to enjoy picturesque mountain views while wrapped up in cosy blankets, sipping on piping hot chocolate. Top tip: ask your guide about ending your tour next to a fabulous local restaurant!
Appreciate some icy artworks
One of the most famous winter activities in Breckenridge has to be the International Snow Sculpture Championships. Imagine looking at some incredible artworks… the only difference being these ones are frozen solid!
This is one of the top places to visit in Breckenridge in winter as artists compete against each other with stunning, hand carved snow sculptures. If you’re visiting the area in January and February you’ll be in for a real treat.
Explore Main Street
With a reverent nod to the past, Main Street is one of the essential places to visit in Breckenridge in wintertime. Quaint and colourful buildings bring you back to the Gold Rush of the 1800s, but with plenty of modern touches too. Visit this area for restaurants, bars, locally-owned shops and even art installations.
Hit a few more beautiful trails on foot, skis or two wheels
Just 3.5 miles out of town, the Boreas Pass Trail is famed for views of downtown and the Tenmile Range. Cars are banned during winter and an adventure wonderland is created!
Hiking, snow shoeing, fat tire biking and cross country skiing all take over. Get here early to grab a parking spot as this is a popular spot, and enjoy the best winter activities in Breckenridge with stunning views!
Mix history and hiking
One of the more original things to do in Breckenridge in winter has to be the Sallie Barber Mine Trail. Mixing history and scenery, even beginners will enjoy this short hike (3 miles there and back) in winter.
The route follows an old mining road gently upwards through valley and forest, and eventually passes by the mine and the historic equipment used many years ago!
Best Bars and Restaurants in Breckenridge
All of these activities bring us straight to one of the most important things to do in Breckenridge in winter, which is to eat!
Canteen Tap House and Tavern
In one of the oldest premises on Main Street you’ll find Canteen Tap House and Tavern. Devour comfort food in a wood-panelled lodge with local Colorado beer on tap. Meat and fish are smoked on-site, the barbecue sauce is home-made and they’ll even let grownups order from the kids menu! With hearty American portions, this is always a winner!
Modis prides itself on innovative food and drink creations and even refers to the kitchen and bar area as ‘the science lab’. Spread over two levels, this is the go-to place for group dining experiences. Meat, fish and vegetarian options are available, as is the beautiful artwork on the walls! Imagine taking home a piece of art to remind you of your winter holiday in Breckenridge? That’s got to be the ultimate souvenir!
Vegan Piante Pizzeria
For heavenly plant-based pizzas, check out Vegan Piante Pizzeria. This restaurant is family owned and operated. They use seasonal ingredients from local producers, cook in a wood-fired kitchen and even make their own cashew cheese! Outside diners will enjoy eating in the new ‘alpenglobe’ pods―think chilled out observatory, but with Main Street people watching and great organic food!
You’ll be glad to know that a decent tipple is considered one of the many important things to do in Breckenridge in winter. At the Continental Divide Winery (also known as Breck Winery) their grapes are from California and Colorado. It’s also the highest altitude winery in the world which, quite literally, needs to be top of your list of places to visit in Breckenridge in winter!
If you fancy an award-winning bourbon or whiskey, go no further than Breckenridge Distillery. Book a place on their free shuttle bus to and from town and enjoy a taster session without worrying about driving. Lunch and dinner are served in their restaurant, where you’ll share floor space with darkly wooded whiskey barrels.
Where to Stay in Breckenridge in Winter
With hitting the peaks being one of the best things to do in Breckenridge in winter, convenience is vital. For the ultimate in ski in/ski out service, it’s hard to beat Crystal Peak Lodge. Located next to the Independence Super Chair Gondola at Peak 7, you’ve got an immediate connection to Peak 8 and downtown.
You can also use the onsite restaurant, fitness centre and hot tub. Or simply snuggle up to your loved ones after dinner made in your private kitchen, while basking in the glow from your apartment’s fireplace!
If you’d like to balance your adventure holiday with some quiet time, check out the gardens of Welk Resorts Breckenridge the Ranahan. This new ‘condo hotel’ sits on six acres alongside the Blue River. Downtown is accessed via a free shuttle bus but with these facilities and you may not need it!
After taking in the serene views from your balcony you can indulge in the onsite restaurant, or cook at one of the barbeque stations. You could even burn calories at the fitness centre or indoor pool. Nearby hiking trails might involve moose-spotting, which should be reason enough to visit this oasis outside the bustle of town.
You won’t need a car if you stay at Mountain Thunder Lodge. Location-wise, it’s hard to beat, being just five minutes into town and near the (free!) BreckConnect Gondola, which takes you to Peaks 7 and 8.
Amenities include their ski shuttle bus (every 15 minutes) barbecue nights, fitness centre, hot tubs and an outdoor pool. As town is on your doorstep there’s no onsite restaurant, but I’m sure the 24-hour front desk will have some excellent local recommendations for you!
Hopefully this fun list of things to do in Breckenridge in winter has given you some tips for planning your snowy break. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to read my detailed Colorado itinerary, plus my guides to visiting Denver in winter, Vermont in winter and New Jersey in winter.