Autumn is one of the best times of the year in Breckenridge. The air is crisper, the shade cooler, the sun warming, and the golden aspen leaves make every scene more beautiful. There are plenty of fun activities in Breckenridge in the fall for the entire family. Here are some of our favorites with an historical twist!
Best Historic Places to See Fall Colors
Breckenridge Sawmill Museum
Aspen Alley, one of the best autumn hiking and biking trails, starts right at the Breckenridge Sawmill Museum. Before taking a walk or ride up the hill through canopies of bright yellow aspen leaves, visit the free, self-guided Sawmill Museum for a detailed look at how frontier towns like Breckenridge were built. Log cabins may be the iconic image of a western town, but it was the sawmill that gave a town substance and staying power. Sawn lumber was necessary for false-fronts and tall commercial buildings. Learn how local timber became the material for a growing town at the Sawmill Museum. If you choose to hike or bike up the Aspen Alley Trail, look for old mining equipment along the way, including a steam boiler and an abandoned ore cart. And watch for downhill traffic too!
French Gulch and the Reiling Dredge
Some of the most dazzling aspen groves can be found in French Gulch. Red and orange leaves mix with the traditional golden yellows. French Gulch offers much more than scenery; the road takes you back in time to the height of the mining era. This graded dirt road passes the richest mine in Summit County, the Wellington, the final resting place of the Reiling Dredge boat, and the Lincoln town site.
The Reiling Dredge is a must-see stop over along French Gulch Road. Park at the Reiling Dredge Trailhead on the north side of the road and cross over to the south, following the signs to the dredge. The Reiling Dredge quit operating in 1922 and still resides in the pond it created in search of gold in the riverbed. After years of deterioration, the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance stabilized portions of the dredge deck and superstructure in 2018 with assistance from Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Further up the road is the town site of Lincoln, once one of the area’s largest towns. Today, all that remains is a two-story building and one grave marker in the cemetery. Turn around at the large parking area about 4 miles up the road, but not before checking out the grave of William Milner. It’s located a hundred yards up French Gulch Road at the intersection with Humbug Hill Road, surrounded by a rickety picket fence.
Sneak Peek into Breckenridge’s Oldest Homes
Historic Homes Tour: Saturday, September 14, 2019
What do the insides of Breckenridge’s historic homes look like? The Historic Homes Tour is your opportunity for an exclusive, once-a-year sneak peek into some of Breckenridge’s oldest homes. Long-time docent June will lead the guided walking tour includes stops at four historic houses, including the Fletcher home, a two-story log private residence. Refreshments are provided at the last stop on the tour, the historic Briggle House Museum. This event sells out every year, so be sure to make your reservations well in advance. Reservations required; $50/person; tour begins at the Breckenridge Welcome Center at 203 S Main; tour is 1:00-3:00pm.
Tours and Historic Sites
Enhance your understanding and appreciation of Breckenridge with one of the Heritage Alliance’s on-going tours and historic site visits. Visit a local history museum to learn about civil rights and mining pioneer Barney Ford, early naturalist Edwin Carter, the narrow-gauge High Line Railroad, or the history of skiing in Summit County. Stroll through historic Breckenridge on a guided walking tour to visit Victorian-era houses and museums, or amble down Main Street on the Swinging Doors Saloon Tour. Commune with the spirits on the Breckenridge Haunted Tour or learn about prominent (and not so prominent) former residents and see their final resting places at Valley brook Cemetery on the Tombstone Tales at Twilight Tour. Or take a guided hike to the gold mining site of Iowa Hill or the abandoned town of Preston.
We invite you to come explore historic Breckenridge with us during the peaceful autumn season!
written by Leigh Girvin