Planning an escape to the fresh, clean air of the mountains? The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (BHA) is ready to welcome you back to Breckenridge to experience our rich history and cultural heritage. Your health and safety are foremost in our minds, and BHA has made numerous changes to operations for summer 2020 to ensure adequate guest spacing and additional cleanliness procedures. We look forward to seeing you at our museums, guided outdoor tours, and gold panning mine site.
Breckenridge’s flagship museums, the Barney Ford Victorian Home and the Edwin Carter Discovery Center, are open to visitors. Barney Ford escaped enslavement to become a business and civil rights leader, and Edwin Carter started a museum of wildlife in Breckenridge that spurred the beginnings of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We're excited to share these unique stories of Breckenridge with you again.
New this season, docents will greet you at the entrance to be sure that museum capacity limits are not exceeded. To ensure guest comfort, visitors will be guided through the exhibits in a single direction of flow, with entrance and exit via separate doorways. Extra cleaning measures will be taken throughout the day and during closures.
The Breckenridge Welcome Center doubles as an introductory history museum in downtown Breckenridge. Guest will still be able to access many of the downstairs exhibits, as well as view the new Time is River digital historic time line. Gold Panning
One of summer’s most popular family activities is gold panning with BHA guides. Learn how to swirl your pan to find the glimmering gold, just as the prospectors did upon the early discoveries of gold in Breckenridge over 100 years ago. Our Lomax Gulch mine site is now offering gold panning by reservation at scheduled times during the day, Fridays through Sundays. Start your visit hearing about the history of placer mining, then try your hand at prospecting in a running creek. Keep what you find in the vial provided.
Guided Tours and Hikes
Comradery and adventure are shared on the many outdoor activities offered by BHA. Try a hike to historic sites, or take a walk around down town with a docent. Enjoy these fresh air opportunities in Breckenridge, away from crowds.
Founded in 1859 as a gold mining town, Breckenridge grew and evolved as mining techniques allowed different valuable minerals to be wrested from the ground. Architectural styles evolved as well, following the fortunes of the community. To preserve the historical fabric of Breckenridge, the National Historic District was established in 1980. Today, it is one of the largest such districts in Colorado.
The beauty and history of Breckenridge unfold on a Walk Through History Tour of the architectural treasures of our town. Stroll along sidewalks and paved pathways through several blocks of Breckenridge’s National Historic District to see cabins, homes, and businesses more than a century old. Enthusiastic docents explain the settlement patterns and early history of Breckenridge.
Fear not the ghosts and spooks you’ll encounter on the Breckenridge Haunted Tour. One of our most popular tours, this outing includes places and stories of the macabre and unexplained. Ghosts may still haunt some of Breckenridge’s oldest homes, and we’ll take you there! Not recommended for children under age 12 and those easily frightened.
Ghosts may also be encountered on the Preston Ghost Town Hike to this abandoned town site. On this extended (approximately 3 hours) hike with experienced guides you’ll enjoy a morning in the mountains strolling past abandoned mines and mills, culminating at the once-bustling town of Preston where old cabins still stand the test of time.
Breckenridge’s historic Valley Brook Cemetery is a place of legend. Learn about Breckenridge’s paupers and pioneers, elites and forgotten citizens, along with tales of illness, accidents, and community mourning. While not a ghost tour, the Tombstone Tales at Twilight Tour may give you chills on a warm summer evening.
The best hydraulic mining exhibit in the world is here in Breckenridge and available for tours on the Hike Through Gold Mine History at Iowa Hill. Visit a restored 1870s boarding house and learn about placer mining techniques. On this 1.5 mile circle, you’ll see artifacts of the life of a placer miner.
Breathe in nothing but crisp mountain air, scented with willows and spruce while learning about the wide range of prospecting techniques employed in our area. The Gold Mine and Dredge Boat Hike passes mining sites, a fallen shaft house, burned out boarding house, and the highlight: the Reiling Dredge Boat, floating in the pond where it was abandoned almost a century ago. This hike is available by private request only.
Our outdoor tours and hikes are offered on select days, however any of our tours can be arranged as a private outing for your group on your schedule. BHA is waiving the private tour fee for summer 2020 to make our activities more accessible to the public. Request a private activity here!
BHA cares about your health and the quality of your experience with us and have developed new protocols for summer 2020. Please visit Guest Information page for more information and guest expectations. We look forward to seeing you this summer to enjoy the best of Breckenridge’s history, culture, and outdoor experiences.
written by Leigh Girvin