Trails With Waterfalls Near Breckenridge: 5 Hikes With Stunning Views

Waterfall Hikes Near Breckenridge

Among the bounty of outdoor activities in Breckenridge, Colorado, scenic hikes to waterfalls are some of the most rewarding adventures. The sound of rushing water, the sight of cascading falls, and the surrounding alpine beauty create an unforgettable experience. Let's dive into some of the best waterfall hikes near Breckenridge, each with charm and challenges.

Spruce Creek Trail to Continental Falls

Trail Overview

Spruce Creek Trail to Continental Falls is a more challenging hike, but the reward is worth the effort. This trail is widely considered to be one of the best hikes in Breckenridge as it leads to the beautiful Continental Falls, a magical series of waterfalls that changes with the seasons due to varying snow melts. This 5-mile out-and-back is best tackled from July to September when the wildflowers peak. The trailhead is off CO-9 South, about 13.1 miles from Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Hiking to Continental Falls

The Spruce Creek Trail is well-marked with blue diamond blazes, guiding you through a towering pine forest. The scent of pine needles and wildflowers fills the air, creating a sensory delight. You'll cross several creeks along the way, offering refreshing spots to rest and soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The final ascent to Continental Falls is steep, but the view of the cascading water and the surrounding peaks is awe-inspiring. Several viewing areas and picnic spots are at the top, perfect for relaxing and enjoying a well-deserved break.

Mohawk Lakes Trail to Continental Falls

Enjoy a Hike Along the Mohawk Lakes Trail

Trail Overview

If you're looking for a slightly longer adventure, the Mohawk Lakes Trail extends the Spruce Creek Trail hike past Continental Falls and to the Mohawk Lakes. This 8.6-mile out-and-back trail shares the same elevation gain as the Spruce Creek Trail but offers a longer and more challenging hike, culminating with a chance to explore the stunning Mohawk Lakes. Upper and Lower Mohawk Lakes are two of the best lakes near Breckenridge. Remember that this trail can get crowded, especially on weekends, so consider visiting on a weekday for a more peaceful experience.

Journey to the Lakes and Falls

The Mohawk Lakes Trail gradually ascends through a picturesque landscape, passing through wildflower meadows and alongside crystal-clear streams. After about an hour of hiking past Continental Falls, you'll reach Lower Mohawk Lake. From here, you can continue to Upper Mohawk Lake, which offers even more breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The additional effort is rewarded with stunning scenery and a sense of accomplishment.

Blue Lakes Trail

Trail Overview

Blue Lakes Trail is an excellent option for those seeking a more leisurely hike in Summit County. This easy 1.8-mile out-and-back trail only gains 342 feet of elevation, making it perfect for families or those new to hiking. The trailhead is off Blue Lakes Road, just past McCullough Gulch.

Exploring Blue Lakes

The trail descends towards Blue Lakes, offering glimpses of old mining structures and various social trails to explore. As you reach the lower lake, you'll be captivated by the granite cliffs and a small waterfall visible from the road. Take time to wander around, smell the wildflowers, and spot mountain goats grazing in the meadows. For a closer look at the waterfall, head to the base, where you can climb the rocks for a unique perspective.

Note: The waterfalls in Monte Cristo Gulch tend to have less water flow than others in the area, so for the most impressive views, visit after a good rain or snowmelt.

Willow Creek Falls Trail 

Trail Overview 

Hiking to Willow Creek Falls via the Willowbrook Trailhead just outside of the Silverthorne community is not for the faint of heart. This challenging 11.6-mile out-and-back trail boasts more than 1,250 feet of elevation gain and is accessible year-round. However, the trail's rugged terrain and potential for snow and ice in the colder months make it best suited for experienced hikers. If you're up for the challenge, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the falls, wildflowers, and possibly even some mountain goats.

Navigating the Trail 

Before embarking on this hike, we recommend researching and familiarizing yourself with the trail's signage. Some hikers have reported that the signage can be tricky, so having a map or GPS device is always a good idea. As you hike, you'll encounter miles of rocky terrain interspersed with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery. The final descent to Willow Creek Falls is steep, but the sight of the cascading water makes it all worthwhile.

Note: Willow Creek Falls Trail is also famous for camping and backpacking. If you're feeling adventurous, consider spending a night under the stars and exploring the surrounding wilderness.

McCullough Gulch Trail

Enjoy a Hike Along the McCullough Gulch Trail

Trail Overview

South of Breckenridge, the McCullough Gulch Trail is a moderate 2.9-mile out-and-back hike with 892 feet of elevation gain. It's best enjoyed in warmer months when the wildflowers bloom and the trail is snow-free. Be prepared for some rocky terrain about halfway up, but the stunning views of White Falls and the lake beyond make it well worth the effort! We recommend visiting around sunset for a truly magical experience as the golden light illuminates the landscape.

Note: Due to its popularity, this trail often requires a reservation or taking the Quandary shuttle from town, so plan accordingly.

Experiencing the Trail

The trail begins in a wooded area approximately 5 miles south of the Blue River community and 10 miles from Breckenridge, gradually opening up to reveal an old road leading to McCullough Gulch. As you ascend, look for ancient spruce trees, colorful wildflowers, and local wildlife like marmots and pikas. About halfway through, a side trail branches off to the left, leading to the majestic White Falls. The sight of the water cascading down the rocks is simply breathtaking! The trail continues to climb, offering increasingly stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Additional Waterfalls

For those seeking even more waterfall adventures, consider extending your hike onto the Gore Range Trail No. 60. This trail—which begins just north of the Copper Mountain area and extends more than 40 miles north to the Green Mountain Reservoir—offers access to additional waterfalls and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. When you're ready to conquer new terrain, be sure to visit the Continental Divide hikes near Breckenridge!

Additional Tips for Waterfall Hikes Near Breckenridge 

Before you hit the trails, take some time to research and choose the hikes that best suit your interests and abilities. Consider factors like trail length, elevation gain, difficulty level, and best time to hike. Check the weather forecast and trail conditions before you go, as mountain conditions can change quickly.

Transportation and Resources 

Breckenridge’s public transportation includes a free bus service, the Breckenridge Free Ride, which can transport you to many trailheads. It's a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around. For detailed trail maps, information, and gear rentals, stop by one of the knowledgeable outfitters in Breckenridge. 

Alternative Activities 

While waterfall hikes highlight Breckenridge, many other outdoor activities exist. Mountain biking, fishing, and whitewater rafting are all popular summer activities in Breckenridge. And if you're visiting during winter, Breckenridge Ski Resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding. For people wanting an easier trail, the Troll Hike is inviting and fun. 

Your Breckenridge Waterfall Adventure Awaits

Breckenridge is a paradise for waterfall enthusiasts, offering diverse hikes to suit every skill level and interest. Whether you're seeking a challenging adventure or a stroll, Breckenridge's breathtaking scenery and cascading waterfalls are sure to leave you in awe. So what are you waiting for? Plan your next Breckenridge vacation or staycation around one of the area’s waterfall hikes!

Remember to check trail conditions, pack your essentials, and prepare for an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. 

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