The Breckenridge Troll Hike: Isak Heartstone & the Trollstigen Trail

Isak Heartstone, the Breckenridge Troll

Breckenridge, Colorado, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting stunning trails and views. However, nestled amidst the pines and aspens, a unique attraction awaits discovery—Isak Heartstone, the beloved Breckenridge Troll! Whether local or a visitor, this comprehensive guide will lead you to this charming giant—one of the most unique outdoor adventures in Breckenridge

Let's embark on a journey to uncover the magic of the Breckenridge Troll!

Learn the Tale of Isak Heartstone

The Breckenridge Troll, also known as "Isak Heartstone," is a larger-than-life wooden sculpture created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Located off one of the best hiking trails in Breckenridge, this whimsical troll has become a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. 

The sculpture is constructed from recycled materials, a hallmark of Dambo's work, which emphasizes sustainability and environmental awareness. Standing about 15 feet tall, Isak Heartstone captures the imagination with his friendly demeanor and intricate design, inviting visitors to explore and appreciate the natural surroundings in which he resides.

Thomas Dambo, the creative force behind the Breckenridge Troll, is renowned for his large-scale installations made from reclaimed wood and other recycled materials. His artistic journey began with graffiti and street art, eventually evolving into creating sculptures that blend seamlessly with their environments. Dambo's works often convey messages of environmental stewardship and the beauty of repurposing discarded materials; this message is further emphasized by the short hike required to reach the Troll. 

Through projects like Isak Heartstone, he aims to inspire communities to engage with art in a way that promotes sustainability and fosters a deeper connection with nature.

Parking Tips for Finding the Troll

Finding Isak is designed to be an adventure! The Town of Breckenridge strongly encourages visitors to walk, bike, or use public transit to reach the troll. The most accessible in-town paid parking options are the South/North Gondola Lots and the F-Lot. However, during peak skiing seasons, these lots often fill up before mid-morning. 

For a more convenient and cost-effective experience, visitors can park in the free Satellite Lot located on the way into town via I-70 and ride the Breck Free Ride bus into Breckenridge. It's important to note that parking on the street is prohibited, and $50 tickets will be issued to cars parked illegally.

How to Get to the Breckenridge Troll Without a Car

Breckenridge prides itself on being a pedestrian-friendly town, and the local government actively promotes car-free travel. Luckily, two Breckenridge public transportation options are the perfect alternatives:

Breck Free Ride: Hop on the Gray Route of the Breck Free Ride shuttle service, which provides a direct and complimentary ride to the Trollstigen Trailhead. 

Main Street Trolley: Board the free Main Street Trolley for a charming journey to the trailhead. It's a delightful way to experience the town's atmosphere while reducing your carbon footprint.

The bus and trolley operate frequently, ensuring a convenient and eco-conscious way to reach your tourist destination!

The Breckenridge Troll Hike

Don't let the word "hike" intimidate you! The journey to Isak Heartstone resembles a stroll through an enchanted forest. The trail is relatively short and easy, making it perfect for people of all ages and abilities. 

The Trollstigen Accessibility

The Trollstigen (Troll Trail) leading to Isak Heartstone does not meet ADA standards as it is neither 36 inches wide nor smooth throughout. This backcountry route consists of stones placed and a compacted road base material between them. It includes a 6-inch-high step on the return trail. People using wheelchairs or pushing strollers are always welcome to use the trail, but assistance is highly recommended. Note: the trail is not maintained during Winter, but it’s always one of the top summer activities in Breckenridge. 

When to Visit the Breckenridge Troll

Isak Heartstone is a year-round resident of Breckenridge, meaning there's no wrong time to pay a visit! The trail is always open, allowing you to experience troll magic in any season. 

Isak looks majestic when adorned with a fresh coat of snow, but be sure you’re prepared for a wintertime trek. You might encounter icy patches, snow drifts, or muddy sections. If you're up for an adventure and have appropriate gear, visiting in the winter can be a magical experience. However, the warmer months are ideal if you prefer a more predictable and well-maintained trail.

What to Bring on Your Breckenridge Troll Hike

  • Camera: You won't want to miss capturing the memories of your encounter with Isak Heartstone. Bring a camera to snap photos and selfies with this gentle giant. 
  • Water and Snacks: Even though it's a short hike, staying hydrated and energized is always a good idea, especially on warmer days or if you plan to explore other trails in the area. 
  • Appropriate Footwear: Wear comfortable walking shoes that provide good traction, especially if you visit during wetter or icy conditions. 
  • Leave No Trace: Remember to pack out all your trash and leave the area as pristine as you found it. Respecting nature is essential for preserving the beauty of this magical place.

Please note that no restroom facilities are at the trailhead, so plan your bathroom breaks accordingly.

Other Activities Near the Breckenridge Troll

Aerial Shot of Breckenridge in Summer with Ski Slopes in Background

While Isak is undoubtedly a star attraction, the surrounding area offers many activities to enhance your Breckenridge experience.

Downtown Breckenridge

A short walk from the trailhead will lead you to the heart of Downtown Breckenridge, where you can immerse yourself in the town's lively atmosphere. Explore charming shops, indulge in delicious cuisine at local restaurants, and delve into the town's rich history and culture. 

Illinois Gulch Trail

For those seeking a more extended hike, the Illinois Gulch Trail begins at the same trailhead as the Trollstigen Trail. This scenic 2-mile out-and-back trail winds through the woods, offering breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature. 

Blue River

This picturesque river runs through downtown, providing a serene setting for much of the water recreation in Breckenridge. You can enjoy a peaceful picnic on its banks, take a refreshing dip during warmer months, or simply relax and listen to the soothing sounds of the water. 

Breckenridge Arts District

Visit the Breckenridge Arts District to immerse yourself in the local art scene. This vibrant area showcases talented artists' work and offers various galleries, studios, and events. 

Breckenridge Ski Resort

If you're visiting during the winter months, the Breckenridge Ski Resort is a must-visit destination. Its world-class slopes and diverse terrain make it a paradise for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. 

Breckenridge Recreation Center

The Breckenridge Recreation Center offers many amenities for those who prefer indoor activities, including swimming pools, fitness classes, and a climbing wall. The recreation center is located just north of most of the ski-in, ski-out condos in Breckenridge.

These are just some of the many activities awaiting you in Breckenridge. With its unique blend of outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, and small-town charm, Breckenridge is a destination that caters to all interests and preferences.

Your Breckenridge Troll-venture Awaits!

As you can see, visiting the Breckenridge Troll offers more than just a photo opportunity with a whimsical sculpture. It's a chance to connect with nature, explore a charming Summit County mountain town, and create lasting memories. Whether you choose to embark on the Troll Hike as a standalone adventure or combine it with other activities in the area, it's an experience that will leave you enchanted and eager to return. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to discover the magic that awaits you in Breckenridge!

If you're looking for the perfect Breckenridge home, contact Breck Life Group with eXp Realty at (970) 409-4787 to get in touch with a local Breckenridge real estate agent and discover your new dream home today.

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