Breckenridge Unwrapped Blog - A Guide to Events, Skiing, Activities, Lodging, Vacation Rentals & Life in Breckenridg

Oktoberfest: Breckenridge’s Biggest Party of the Year!

Written by Jessica Hoover

The days are shorter and the morning air is noticeably crisper — it’s September in the High Country, and that means that Breckenridge’s annual Oktoberfest festival is right around the corner! Although Breckenridge is hosting its 20th Oktoberfest this September 12th – 14th, the Oktoberfest tradition began over 200 years ago in Germany. On October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony, the Bavarian royalty threw a huge party and invited all the citizens of Munich to attend. That first year, the big draw of the festival was a horse race — you got that right, no brewskis! Lack of beer notwithstanding, the newlyweds had so much fun that the celebration became a yearly event, and beer soon became a staple of the festival. By 1819, Oktoberfest became so large that the city of Munich took over organization of the event. Over the next few decades the festival grew —attendees could visit carnival booths, enjoy food, contests and of course, beer stands!

Photo credit:


A testament to just how much Germans love their beer, the tradition carries on today, two centuries later! Beginning in mid-September and lasting nearly two weeks until early October, Oktoberfest is now one of the world’s largest festivals. The small beer stands of yore have been replaced by huge beer tents capable of holding upwards of 8,000 happy drinkers. Rules dictate that beer served at Oktoberfest must conform to traditional Purity Laws which govern how beer can be made. The beer also has to come from local Munich breweries. Each year, the current mayor of Munich has the honor of tapping the first keg, and with a shout of “O’Zapft is!” (Bavarian for “Time to party!”), Oktoberfest officially begins.

In 2013, 6.4 million people attended Oktoberfest in Munich, and collectively they drank 6.7 million liters of beer. Although our Oktoberfest isn’t quite as big, we in Breckenridge still love an excuse to drink beer all afternoon! On average, attendees of Breck’s Oktoberfest drink about 8,000 gallons of beer – that’s roughly 30,300 liters. Not quite as much as the beer consumption in Munich, but no one’s ever complained of not having enough beer here in Breck! With an oom-pah band, traditional dancers, and plenty of soft pretzels to go around, Oktoberfest is a Breckenridge tradition not to miss. Dirndls (tradition German dresses) and lederhosen are not required, but always encouraged!

Photo credit: Robin Johnson,

Of course, enjoy Oktoberfest responsibly. Grab a bus schedule and take advantage of our free public transportation system. And if you find yourself a bit too sauced to drive home, you can leave your car parked on the town streets Friday and Saturday nights. You won’t be towed; just find a designated driver (or bus) to take you home.

For a full schedule of events and information about how to pre-purchase your 2014 Oktoberfest beer stein, please visit the Go Breck Insider’s Guide. Prost!

For lodging options in Breckenridge, check out our website at

The Top 5 Hikes in Breckenridge

Written by Jess Hoover

The view from my bedroom window peeks through towering pines and opens straight onto Peak 8’s now nearly naked Horseshoe Bowl. And, if the perfect bluebird days weren’t indication enough, the snowless slopes let us know that summer has finally arrived in the high country. Summertime in Breckenridge is just as wonderful as winter, and there are endless opportunities to get outside and play. From mountain biking to trail running and hiking, these days my greatest challenge lies in deciding which of my favorite activities to engage in. Yet, as I awaken each morning and gaze at the mountains, I feel drawn to slow my pace and hike, making sure to take the time to notice all the sights, sounds, and smells of the alpine environment.

Here in Summit County, we’re fortunate to have numerous trails for all ability levels, all within just a short distance from wherever you’re stationed. Here, I’ll list a few of trails that I daydream about when the snow is still deep and it seems like summer will never come. For each, I’ll provide a difficulty rating, total mileage, directions to the trailhead, and a brief description of the route. Keep in mind that many of these are out-and-back trails, which means if time and/or energy run short, you can always turn around and head back to civilization!


Burro Trail

Burro Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Total distance: Up to 7.8 miles

Getting there: This trail is easily accessed from downtown Breckenridge. Park downtown (the closets lot is F-Lot) and walk up Village Road towards the Beaver Run. After you pass under the overpass, turn left into the Beaver Run bus station. You could also take either the brown or yellow Breckenridge Free Ride buses and get off at the Beaver Run stop. From the bus stop, walk onto the slopes between the Beaver Run Chair and the Coppertop Restaurant. Keep straight across the hill, and look for the brown trailhead sign on the other side of the ski run.

The hike: The shady Burro Trail is marked with blue diamond blazes and meanders through pine forest alongside a picturesque creek. The trail is an out-and-back, so go as far as you’d like! The Burro Trail ends at Spruce Creek Road.



Lily Pad Lakes

Lily Pad Lakes Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Total distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip.

Getting there: From either Breckenridge or Frisco, head north on Highway 9 towards I-70 (from Breck, you want to drive towards Frisco). Continue straight on Highway 9 past the on-ramp to I-70 East and enter the roundabout. Take the 3rd exit (a dirt road paralleling I-70 W) and follow the dirt road until you reach the parking lot for the Meadow Creek trailhead.

The hike: Starting from the Meadow Creek trailhead, hike up steep switchbacks through Aspen forest. Just over a half mile into the hike, the trail splits. Follow the marked path on the right towards Lily Pad Lake. After a short distance, you’ll cross a bridge and enter the Eagles Nest Wilderness area. Here, the trail still trends upwards, although it winds much more gently through Aspen and evergreen forests and open meadows before finally ending at the aptly named Lily Pad Lake.


Peaks Trail

Peaks Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Total distance: Up to 16 miles

Getting there: From downtown Breckenridge, drive up Ski Hill Road towards Breckenridge Ski Resort. At the base of Peak 8, follow the road along a bend to the right and continue on Ski Hill Road towards the base of Peak 7. Just past the Grand Lodge, look for the trail head in the woods on the left. There is a small parking area on the left as well.

The Peaks Trail can also be accessed from Frisco! From Frisco Main Street, turn right onto CO Highway 9 (heading towards Breckenridge). At the following traffic light (intersection between Highway 9 and Peak One Boulevard), turn right. Continue on Peak One Boulevard approximately 100 yards and turn right. Almost immediately, the road ”Ts”; turn left onto Miner’s Creek Road. In about .3 miles, you will reach the parking area. Continue on Miner’s Creek Road on foot. When you reach a small stream crossing, you’ve arrived at the junction with the Peak’s Trail, a single track trail on the left hand side of the road. A brown sign post will identify the Peak’s Trail so you know you’re in the right spot!

The hike: The Peaks Trail is one of my go-to places for a great hike, run or bike ride in Breckenridge. A rocky and rooty wooded path with a few flat and mild sections, this trail is rife with the scent of pine, babbling streams, and beautiful vistas. It wanders up and down for about 8 miles between Breckenridge and Frisco. Set out for as long as you’d like, and when you’re ready, turn around and head back to the trailhead. The intrepid can walk the whole way to Frisco and take the bus back to Breckenridge (or vice versa). And for a truly great adventure, hike Breck to Frisco and back (or Frisco to Breck)!


Mohawk Lakes

Mohawk Lakes Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Total distance: 6.7 miles

Getting there: From Breckenridge, drive south on Highway 9 (heading away from Frisco/I-70). About 2 miles from the last light in town, just past Goose Pasture Tarn, turn right onto Spruce Creek Road (there is a sign on the right that says, “The Crown). The trailhead is located 1.2 miles from the turn-off. At the first “Y,” veer left. The road “Ts” shortly thereafter; keep left to stay on Spruce Creek Road. Drive approximately one mile on narrow, dirt road to the parking lot and trailhead. As you drive into the parking lot, the trailhead will be in the left-hand corner.

The hike: Start out on the Spruce Creek Trail. This is wooded path that leads gently upwards. Fair warning: In early July there were still a few muddy patches, but hiking shoes were made to get dirty! After a while, you’ll come to a rather large pond – a great place to take a break. Continuing on, you’ll come to a gravel road. Turn left and follow the road around a bend. You’ll see the Spruce Creek Diversion straight ahead. Look for the trail on the right. The trail continues upwards for another half mile before it splits. The tail towards Mohawk Lakes continues to the left; Mayflower Lake is just a short walk down the path to the left. This is another good rest spot. From here, the trail begins its ascent in earnest! There is some fun (and easy) rock scrambling that kids (or your own inner child) will love. Reach the old mining cabin, and turn around for a great view. Keep on keepin’ on as you ascend higher and higher, stop to check out the waterfall, and finally top out at another mining ruin. From here, it’s hard to find the exact trail, but look for cairns (piles of rocks) which act as trail markers. After this point, I ran into a few lingering patches of snow and had to gingerly cross a run-off stream, but you’re almost there! Lower Mohawk Lake is just a few hundred yards away. If you want, follow the trail around the left-hand side of the lake and in another half mile, you’ll reach Upper Mohawk Lake. It’s worth the breathlessness, I promise!


Eccles Pass

Eccles Pass Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Total distance: About 10 miles

Getting there: From either Breckenridge or Frisco, head north on Highway 9 towards I-70 (from Breckenridge, you want to drive towards Frisco). Continue straight on Highway 9 past the on-ramp to I-70 East and enter the roundabout. Take the 3rd exit (a dirt road paralleling I-70 W) and follow the dirt road until you reach the parking lot for the Meadow Creek trailhead.

The hike: Although strenuous, this is one of my favorite hikes in the area. The views at the top of Eccles Pass are breath-taking (that is, if you have any more breath to give away after the hike up!), the trail passes by mining relics, and in late summer, high mountain meadows are filled with wildflowers. Begin the hike at the Meadow Creek trailhead. After hiking up steep switchbacks through Aspen forest, the trail splits. The Meadow Creek trail heads left and up through pine forests before finally giving way to open meadows. Navigate a few stream crossings, and don’t forget to turn around occasionally for spectacular views of Lake Dillon. When you get to the junction with the Gore Trail, you’ll see Eccles Pass ahead of you to the right. Follow the Gore Trail as it switchbacks up to the Pass. At the top, catch your breath, and take in the panoramic views of the Gore Range and the 10 Mile Range. Descend the same trail to the parking lot.

What to Know Before You Go

Before embarking on any of these hikes, make sure you’re prepared! Always carry water with you, and for longer excursions, definitely take along some food — you never want to bonk on the trail. But make sure you bring along a trash bag so you can pack-out trash you generate while one the trail (yes, even the occasional tissue you use as emergency toilet paper). Our forests are beautiful because we take care of them. As trail conditions are variable, it’s a great idea to wear sturdy hiking boots or sneakers with good soles. And because we’re at high altitude, the sun is particularly strong, and sunscreen is essential even on cloudy days. However, even though we’re accustomed to blue-bird sunny days in Summit County, it’s not unusual to have a brief afternoon thunderstorm in the summertime. Take a raincoat with you, and be ready to turn around if threatening weather rolls in.

It’s also a good idea to know your limits! Unless you live at altitude, what may seem like a relatively easy hike might be more strenuous than you anticipated. Again, make sure you drink plenty of water, and know the symptoms of altitude sickness. If you or anyone in your party begins to feel ill, don’t be afraid to turn around. The trails will be here the next time you visit!

Many people recommend taking a compass just in case you get lost, but it would also be beneficial to pick up a trail map! The Breckenridge Welcome Center sells trail maps which show trails in and around the town of Breckenridge. You could also buy a hiking book – The Summit Hiker is a terrific option for folks who want to get out and explore more of the hikes in the area! It’s available for purchase at The Next Page Bookstore in Frisco (409 Main Street).

For lodging options in Breckenridge and Frisco, visit!

Happy Trails!

US Pro Cycling Challenge … Why the Heck Not?

Written by Jamie Goswick


Imagine the Tour de France … in America. That’s pretty much what the US Pro Cycling Challenge is, and it will be making its way through Summit County once again this year. On Friday, August 22, Breckenridge will play host to the end of Stage 5. The riders will start about 80 miles away in Woodland Park, head toward Fairlplay, climb over 11,542-foot Hoosier Pass and 11,481-foot Boreas Pass, then end on Main Street. The race will include some of the biggest names in the sport of cycling. Intimidating, huh? Don’t worry, you can leave the hardcore stuff to the professionals and come cheer them on!

Even if you’re not that into cycling, it’s still a pretty cool event. Our friends at the Breckenridge Resort Chamber made sure of that! Make sure you check out Festival Village, where there will be demos, free live music, food and even a massive Jumbotron so you can watch the cyclists’ trek from Woodland Park to Breck. The town will be full of bicycle enthusiasts. In fact, you’ll see a lot more spandex than you ever imagined. If you want to wear yours, go ahead. If not, then feel free to leave them at home.

Here’s a look at Friday’s events:

Friday, August 22

12 – 6 p.m.                 Festival Village Open – Tiger Dredge/Riverwalk Parking Lot

12 p.m.                      Strider Challenge – Main Street

1 p.m.                        Breck Outdoor Ed Adaptive Ride – Main Street

1:30 p.m.                    Funkadelic Pond Crossing – Dredge Pond at The Dredge

3:45 p.m.                    Pro Cycling Challenge Finish – Main Street

4 p.m.                        Awards Ceremony – Festival Village

7:30 p.m.                    Free Concert-Big Head Todd & The Monsters – Riverwalk Center

Breckenridge Bike week will also being going on, August 20 – 24. It will include high-end bike demos, led group rides, trail building, lectures, clinics, free bike tunes, kids’ races and more! To see the entire schedule, click here.

For lodging options, visit

Here are a few pictures I took last year during the Pro Cycling Challenge.


To read more about the US Pro Cycling Challenge, click here.





First Snow in Breckenridge! – September 17, 2012

A view of Breckenridge Mountain from Boreas Pass

Clouds clearing off, showing some of the white stuff left behind

A view during the storm from the top of Breckenridge's Peak 8

A view from Breckenridge's Horseshoe Bowl during the storm

That's about an inch at Breckenridge's Peak 7 Warming Hut

Snow at Keystone Ski Resort

Snow at Loveland Ski Area

Snow at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Snow at Copper Mountain Resort

Snow on top of the Ten Mile Range

The Honey Hole

Summit County Beauty

Everyone has a place they go to unwind, and mine, currently, is a spot on the Blue River that I have dubbed the “Honey Hole.” The name comes from a place that I once visited with my father when I was extremely young. So young, in fact, that it is one of those memories that is barely a memory at all; not much more than a couple of mental snapshots hanging on the edge of the abyss of forgetfulness. This memory is so blurred that I might even need to double check with my father at some point to confirm that it even happened. In any event, my memory of the honey hole comes from Missouri where I spent the first few years of my young life. It was a wooded area, there were old, rustic cabins scattered about, and most importantly, there was a creek. Within this creek, there was a deep hole where many fish, their type unbeknownst to me, gathered. I recall using small pieces of pink bait, shaped something like an oversized fish egg, and that’s about it. I do not know how long I was there, or whether or not my father and I even caught any fish, but I do know that this place was the honey hole, named as such for the abundance of easily landed fish.

My present honey hole is much more memorable.

Blue River Trout

The Blue River, stemming from the Blue Lakes, runs right through the heart of Breckenridge. At its source, it’s nothing more than a creek, tumbling over rocks, weaving through fields of willows, wildflowers, and tall grasses, and at one point taking a brief hiatus in a large pond. By the time it reaches town just 9 or 10 miles later, it’s a full sized stream, finding its way around mountain homes and businesses. At the north end of town, the Blue slows down a touch and meanders through a long stretch of completely restored trout habitat. Shallow pools, each roughly a long cast in length, are connected by short waterfalls.

Halfway through this restored habitat, there is an area where the stream splits. It is not, however, a noticeable fork in the stream. From one of the deeper pools, water percolates through porous gravel and pops out again, like a spring, a short ways off course from the main flow. It reminds me of the “Business Loop” one might see branching off of a major interstate. This side creek is much smaller in volume than the main stream. It, too, babbles through a series of much smaller steps and pools, crashing through dense stands of willows and shrubs. The vegetation in most parts of this side stream is so impenetrable that fishing is largely impossible, unless you think you have the wits to grab a trout with your bare hands. At the very end of this detour, the water picks up speed and tumbles through an even thicker stand of vegetation. The willows form a sort of tunnel over the stream where little light penetrates, and the water runs black. Many insects buzz around the tangled branches, and many of them end up being swept down stream.

Then, as quickly as the new creek started, it flows from the dark tunnel and dumps into a small, sunlit pool. This is the honey hole. The water slows rapidly to a crawl and widens to about 15 feet. At it’s center, the honey hole is maybe knee deep. Fry, the tiniest of trout, dart in and out of small rocks in the shallows, while smaller adults swim lazily near the rear of the pool. Moving upstream from one end of the pool to another (a total of roughly 50 feet), the fish get bigger and bigger. On occasion, I have snagged my fly rig on willow branches near the mouth of the pool where the water rushes from the tunnel, turning from black to crystal clear again. Wading cautiously towards that transitionary spot to remove the fly from the tree, I have seen several monstrous trout hunkered down under low hanging branches, in the dark, preying on insects that get trapped in the current further upstream. Most nights that I visit the honey hole, I spot many fish, though most of them are quite small.

Not once have I approached this spot to find another fisherman already taking up the space. It’s a small haven on a heavily fished section of water.

Caught with a midge!

For a time, the honey hole got on my nerves. When I first started fly fishing and discovered the spot, I had no waders. I would timidly waltz into the hole, positioning myself to cast upstream towards the far end, while my feet quickly turned numb and took on a mild blue hue. To further aggravate the situation, I was nowhere near talented enough to avoid getting snagged on the willows that closely hugged the water. Each trip somehow ended in mild bursts of frustration, even if I caught a couple of trout. Eventually I mastered casting through the small trees. I usually stand near the center of the honey hole with about twenty feet of line extending from the tip of my rod. Lifting my arm sends the line soaring backwards up over my head. For what feels like an extended second, the line continues to float away from me, downstream. When I feel it go taught, a quick flick of the wrist brings everything whizzing forward, cutting through the air next to my ear. The line forms a tight loop, and my fly floats through the air, just above the water and just barely below the scraggly branches, before plopping effortlessly at the head of the honey hole and floating slowly, naturally, back towards me. Sometimes the process is repeated a seemingly indefinite number of times before I might eventually feel a trout on the end of my line.

Regardless of how long it might take to land one, if at all, the honey hole always makes me feel refreshed. And even though I don’t always catch one of the numerous fish, the picture is always the same: the sun sets over the 10 Mile Range to the west, and cold, crystal clear water curves around my calves while beautiful trout coast slowly by.

My Honey Hole on a typical Breckenridge Evening!

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Breckenridge Unwrapped 2011
111 Ski Hill Rd. P.O. Box 1618 Breckenridge, CO 80424
Office: 970.453.7370 | Fax: 970.453.4041 | Toll Free: 800.383.7382