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The Non-Skier's Guide to Breckenridge, CO

There is so much to do in Breckenridge even hard-core skiers want to take a day off from the slopes. No worries if you don’t ski, there are plenty of fun and interesting activities and tours to keep everyone in the group well entertained in our winter paradise. With these tips from the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, you won’t have a dull moment.

Train – Troll – Skate

No trip to Breckenridge is complete without visit to Isak Heartstone, the Breckenridge Troll. While you are there, also check out ice skating at the Stephen C. West Ice Area, and the historic High Line Railroad Park. Nothing drives home the challenge of keeping the railway into Breckenridge open over wintry Boreas Pass like seeing the historic rotary snowplow covered in snow. Railroad-themed playground structures for kids are open year-round.

Sledding at Carter Park

For generations, Breckenridge kids have been sledding and sliding on the hill at Carter Park. In the 1970s, a rope tow carried skiers to the top of the hill for ski racing practice. Elementary school students once spent recess flying down the slope on bits of cardboard. Today, it is one of Breckenridge’s most popular winter destinations. Provide your own sled to enjoy this free family activity. The park is named for Breckenridge miner and naturalist, Edwin Carter.

Edwin Carter Discovery Center and Other Museums in Breckenridge

Edwin Carter was probably not into sledding, but he was fascinated with the impacts of mining on local animal populations. He collected a vast array of wildlife in his taxidermy museum on Ridge Street in Breckenridge, creating a tourist attraction in the late 1800s well before the days of the ski area. Interactive displays enchant children at this intimate museum.

The Barney Ford House Museum honors Barney Ford, a pioneer in mining, hospitality, and human rights, and a leading citizen in Colorado’s early days. His fine Victorian home in Breckenridge is open to the public, providing insights into this fascinating man who escaped enslavement to become a successful businessman in the 1880s. The Welcome Center Museum, conveniently located in downtown Breckenridge on the free Trolley stop, offers a quick primer to Breckenridge history. At the Summit Ski Museum even non-skiers can appreciate the history of skiing in Breckenridge and Summit County, from 10-foot-long ski boards to the 10th Mountain Division soldiers, to the first Sno-Surfers, a snowboard prototype. Artifacts from the first Ullr Fests in Breckenridge are also on display.

Public Art and Tours

Breckenridge’s extensive collection of public art sprinkled throughout town illustrates history, culture and whimsy. Use the interactive map to find Tom’s Baby, telling the story of the largest gold nugget found in Colorado; Ullr, Breckenridge’s patron saint; and the arc of Barney Ford’s life.

Snowshoe Tours to Historic Sites

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance takes you into the miners’ realm on snowshoe tours to historic sites. The Hike Through Gold Mine History Tour includes a visit inside a Boarding House dating from the 1870s. On the Gold Mine and Dredge Tour, snowshoe on historic mining paths to the final resting place of the Reiling Dredge.

History Tour on the Free Main Street Trolley

Ready for a break from all the activities? Have a seat on the free Main Street Trolley and take a historic loop through town. Check out this guide to historic sites from the warmth of the trolley.

More Historic Tours

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance's Victorian Tea at the Briggle House invites you into Kathleen Briggle’s elegantly restored home to learn more about life for women in the remote mining community of Breckenridge in the 19th Century. The ritual of tea service brought comfort to women missing their families “Back East.” Tea is offered at select dates throughout the year or can be reserved as a private event for up to 14 participants. The popular Walk Through History, Behind Swinging Doors Saloon, and Breckenridge Haunted tours are available year-round, staying on cleared sidewalks in downtown Breckenridge. Learn more about Breckenridge’s history on these tours, including peeks into antique bars and historic homes.

Looking for more ideas for activities for non-skiers visiting Breckenridge? There are sleigh rides, dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, shopping, spas, restaurants, escape rooms, axe throwing, music, nightlife and so much more. Check out this article from the Breckenridge Tourism Office for additional tips.

written by Leigh Girvin

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