One of the most enjoyable hiking trails in Summit County is the Peaks Trail. I love it because it’s a long hike (10 miles), but it’s relatively easy, so you can do it at a leisurely pace. It’s one of Mark and Mary’s favorite trails too, because their little Chihuahuas, Buddha and Bella, can do the hike with them! It’s called the Peaks Trail because it stretches 10 miles from Frisco to Breckenridge along the 10 Mile Range. I always do the trail from Breckenridge to Frisco instead of vice versa, because (OK, I admit it) it’s mostly downhill when headed to Frisco.
As we’ve learned the past few years, before you head out on any hike (short or long), always prepare for anything. This is Colorado, and even if the trail is easy, the elements can always change. So, get up early. The earlier you get out there the better, because the weather systems often change in the afternoon. Eat a big breakfast and pack well. Ten miles at 10,000 ft. is a lot of activity, so you’ll want to fuel up right, and bring lots of water. My pack always includes an energy bar, nuts, and lots and lots of water. I also always remember to bring a rain jacket or some sort of water-wicking jacket. Once I’m packed and nourished, I jump on the bus and head to the gondola.
The Peaks Trail starts at the base of Peak 7 right to the north of the new Grand Lodge. There’s very little parking there, so the gondola is your best bet. Once you get off the gondola, you start the trail in what seems to be dense, wet trees, almost like a deciduous forest. But after about a quarter of a mile, it becomes more of the high alpine desert forest that we’ve all come to know in Breckenridge. The trail goes through meadows, along waterfalls, and over rocks and trees. It’s awesome. When you come to the last mile, there’s a big lake called Rainbow Lake. This is usually where Nugget jumps in and starts swimming laps, but for me it’s a signal that I’ve almost made it to the end!
The trail ends on the bike trail that runs from Breck to Copper and only a few blocks from the bus stop to Breck. If I’ve got Nugget with me, we can’t go on the bus, so we usually go to the marina and have a few celebratory drinks or swim laps while waiting for a friend to pick us up. Otherwise, the bus it is, and it’s just a free, 15-minute ride back to the base of the gondola. The next time you’re in the high country, you should really check the trail out. There are also lots of outlets too if you don’t want to do the full 10 miles. Just be prepared and have fun!