Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always had an affinity for the mountains. While ski season is special in its own way, my favorite time of year to go up to the mountains has to be mid-September, right when all the leaves are changing. Even if you aren’t particularly outdoorsy, there’s plenty of beauty to see, and the crisp mountain air feels amazing after the summer heat. I compiled my tips for the best fall weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado to share with you all!
Hikes in Breckenridge
I am not a big hiker. I have never been, and while I appreciate most of my fellow Coloradans’ desire to get up to the mountains and walk 14 miles uphill, I firmly believe that the best hikes are 1) done in less than half a day 2) end with a Bloody Mary. As I was up in Breckenridge for the weekend, I went on two beautiful, but not overly challenging hikes.
Aspen Alley, and the most gorgeous leaves you’ll see on hikes in Breckenridge, can be accessed from the Breckenridge Sawmill Museum parking lot on Boreas Pass Road. This makes it a 1.3 mi hike each way. If you’re not into the “uphill”, you can have someone drop you off at the top of the trail off Boreas Pass Road, and walk down the 1.3 mi trail that ends in the parking lot of the Sawmill Museum.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can do what we did. Starting at Isak Heartstone, the Breckenridge Troll, we followed Illinois Creek Low to Southside back to the to the Illinois Creek Trail. After this, you’ll end up in a big clearing with gorgeous trees all around. Aspen Alley is the trail on the opposite side of the gate to the ranch. Since we didn’t feel like adding a TON of walking back to our hike, we just walked down the shoulder on Boreas Pass Road (maybe not ideal, but safe). This brought us to 6.5/7 miles round trip.
If you’re used to skiing in Breckenridge, you’ve probably passed Burro Trail many times! At the base of Peak 9, go into the trees just behind the “magic carpet” (beginner ski area) and you’ll find a trail off to the side of a stream. This trail is out and back, so you can bail whenever you feel like it. It’s definitely a different vibe than Aspen Alley, (and far less crowded), but the colors are nonetheless majestic!
I have been to Breckenridge so many times and have eaten at many, many different restaurants in the city. Choosing where to eat for only one fall weekend in Breckenridge means it is kind of a challenge to hit all of my fave spots! I’ve compiled my must-eats here, but seriously, let me know if you need more recommendations because I definitely have many more.
Breakfast and Lunch
For a quick post-hike Bloody, Breckfast has a lunch-time happy hour, and delicious brunch classics to go with. I had my fave, chicken and waffles, but there is lighter fare, sandwiches, and breakfast bowls on the menu for a super reasonable price (<$10).
La Francaise Bakery is the stuff of dreams. Seriously. They have every pastry you could dream of and their bread is to die for. If you’re looking for a sugar rush, their chai meringue makes my heart sing.
Cool River Coffeehouse and Cafe has been a favorite of mine since high school. They have creative coffee drink flavors like Blackberry Crumble and Macaroon Mocha. If you’re not as adventurous, all of their pastries and even their plain drip coffee is definitely worth the stop by.
If you’re in the mood for something heartier and don’t run exclusively on sugar like I do, Empire Burger has all of your typical “bar food” (think wings, nachos, etc). and a ton of patio space. The Kona Burger is a personal fave (as I am strongly Team Pineapple On Everything).
Breckenridge Distillery is probably worth the trip on its own. Chef David Burke is a two-time James Beard Award winner, and the only American to receive the French Diplôme d’Honneur of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. Aside from that, he makes really, really great food. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the duck breast (with foie gras dumplings) is divine.
To drink, their menu includes a variety of classics as well as some more creative libations. If you’re feeling like topping off your weekend in Breckenridge with something a little fancy, get your drink smoked, and your drink will be brought to you in a barrel.
Blue River Bistro is just beyond the primary stretch of Main Street, and is a great location for a date night or a dinner with loved ones. I’d recommend the Buffalo Short Ribs and the Bang’s Island Mussels, which are cooked in a coconut-lime broth.
Twist has an amazing happy hour. Their house-made Chex Mix is ridiculously good (seriously, I need to find a way to create it myself). $6 cocktails while overlooking the mountains isn’t half-bad either. I feel very passionately about their Duck Confit Poutine, and absolutely recommend Twist for a 5pm post-really-long-hike snack or an early dinner comprised of happy hour snacks (my favorite).
I hope you enjoyed my recommendations for a fall weekend in Breckenridge!
Let me know if you have any Breck faves, or if there’s anything I left off you’d like to try!