5 Breckenridge Lakes & Rivers: Breckenridge Fishing, Boating & Waterfalls Guide
The Town of Breckenridge is home to natural outdoor wonders and stunning views every season. Although the town is best known for skiing at the resort, Breckenridge lakes and rivers provide plenty of outdoor fun when the summer months bring warmer weather. Fly fishing, rafting, kayaking, and popular hiking trails can be found around the many beautiful lakes and rivers near Breckenridge. There's something about the fresh air in the Rocky Mountains and the sound of running water that make Summit County an extraordinary place to live. Many of the best Breckenridge outdoor activities await at these beautiful bodies of water!
It takes less than 10 minutes to drive to Dillon Reservoir from Downtown Breckenridge. Just head north on Colorado Highway 9, and you'll first encounter the Town of Frisco nestled on the banks of the reservoir. Dillon Reservoir covers about 3,300 acres of surface area and offers more than 25 miles of shoreline. Also known as Lake Dillon, the reservoir is bordered by the Keystone community to the east and Frisco to the southwest. The Silverthorne community and the Town of Dillon are located to the north.
Fishing is allowed from most of the 25 miles of shoreline unless signage indicates otherwise. Everyone aged 15 and up needs a Colorado fishing license. The reservoir has Arctic char and is restocked with about 50,000 rainbow trout yearly, making it an angler's paradise. Fishing is prohibited from the dam structure, boat ramps, or other marked areas.
The Frisco Bay Marina is home to the Frisco Rowing Center, where people can rent kayaks, paddle boards, fishing boats, and pontoon boats. The Rowing Center also offers canoeing tours of the reservoir, and residents are welcome to bring their small watercraft to launch from the marina. Sailboat tours depart from Dillon Marina.
Driving to the Blue Lakes trailhead offers some of the most scenic views near Breckenridge. Drive south from Breckenridge along Colorado Highway 9 until you reach Blue Lakes Road, located about 8 miles south of town. Visitors should then follow that road until they reach the Blue Lake area. Some obvious dirt parking lots exist right before the trailhead near the lower lake.
The area's beauty is a big draw people on Breckenridge vacations, so it gets busy and crowded at times. The best times to visit are on the weekdays, early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Cutthroat trout are the main targets of fishermen in Blue Lakes.
Visitors can hike from the lower lake downhill and follow the water to reach Blue Lakes Waterfall. The view is spectacular, and hikers can view an old mining structure along the way, left over from the area's mining boom days.
The Monte Cristo Gulch Trail from Blue Lakes is a much more challenging hike, so it's less crowded than the main trail to the waterfall. Just follow the creek from the west end of the upper lake, and be ready for some rocky terrain and elevation changes. Situated just below Quandary Peak, the mountain views in this area are hard to beat.
The Blue River is a long tributary of the Colorado River, which also happens to flow from south to north through Downtown Breckenridge. It's the only body of water where visitors can go whitewater rafting in Summit County. The river flows through several other notable bodies of water in and near Breck, such as the Goose Pasture Tarn and Dillon Reservoir, as it winds its way north to the Colorado River.
A scenic trail runs along the river for part of the way. The trailhead is in Breckenridge, just off Boreas Pass Road to the south of Little Mountain. It's an easy 3-mile out-and-back hike with about a 440-foot elevation change along the way. It takes a little over an hour and 15 minutes to make the hike, and leashed dogs are welcome to accompany their owners. For more challenging treks, check out the best hikes in Breckenridge.
Whitewater rafting tours of the Blue River feature Class II and III rapids, so novices to intermediate rafters can enjoy themselves. There are several Breckenridge outfitters that offer commercial rafting trips.
Fish species that anglers catch in the Blue River include mainly rainbow and brown trout and occasional brook trout or kokanee salmon.
Goose Pasture Tarn
The Blue River community is situated south of Breckenridge and is home to a private body of water called Goose Pasture Tarn. The lake is only accessible by homeowners in Blue River. Law enforcement patrols this mountain lake regularly, so it's essential to follow the rules. A "tarn" is simply a term referring to a small mountain lake.
The lake has been stocked with rainbow trout and British Columbian Kamloop trout. A fishing license is required, and no fishing is allowed within 45 feet of the concrete spillway. The hooks that fishermen can use here are restricted to single-bait, single-hook flies, and single-hook lures.
Boating and floating are allowed for Blue River property owners only. A permit is required for boating but is relatively inexpensive. Canoes and rowboats are allowed on the Tarn, and rowboats can be fitted with a small electric trolling motor. Prohibited activities on the Tarn include swimming, sailboarding, windsurfing, and operating a gasoline motor.
Mohawk Lake: Upper & Lower
The Upper Mohawk Lake and Lower Mohawk Lake near Breckenridge are perfect for truly adventurous hikers. Although it's one of the area's more difficult hikes, Mohawk Lakes Trail rewards visitors with views of some of the most stunning alpine lakes in the area and numerous breathtaking mountain peaks. Spruce Creek Road in the town of Blue River, just south of Breck, leads to the Spruce Creek Trailhead (parking is limited and first-come, first-serve). From there, it's a challenging hike to reach the Upper and Lower Mohawk.
The trail system leading to the lakes is moderately difficult and is open to hiking and horseback riding. Visitors can often see mountain goats, marmots, and other wildlife on the hike up to the lakes. The seasonal wildflowers during summer are another great reason to hike to Upper and Lower Mohawk.
The fishing in both Mohawk Lakes is great, and the area is much less crowded in terms of anglers than other fishing spots. The hike up to the Lower Mohawk from the trailhead is 6 miles, and the Upper Mohawk is a 6.8-mile hike. The Upper Mohawk features an elevation climb of 1,730 feet to reach the water. It's about a 4-hour round trip hike up to the lakes and back down to the trailhead.
One last thing to note about these lakes: Continental Falls can be viewed near the east end of Lower Mohawk Lake. It's beautiful and well worth seeing!
Explore Lakes, Rivers, & More in Breckenridge!
If you're looking for a day (or more) of outdoor fun, look no further than the lakes and rivers near Breckenridge. With plenty of activities to choose from – fishing, boating, hiking, and more – there's something for everyone in this stunning corner of Colorado. So get outside and explore all that these waterways have to offer! To round out your adventures, be sure to research the many other things to do in Breckenridge, too.