A Weekend in Colorado's Summit County: Mountain Playground

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Spring and summer in Colorado send locals to the Summit County towns of Breckenridge, Keystone, Fraser and Silverthorn for a mountain getaway chock full of ways to enjoy the warm weather. Consider a weekend in Summit County for yourself, appropriately nicknamed “Colorado’s Playground.”

Day 1

Start the day scoring deals and perusing nearly 70 name-brand stores, including the Gap, J. Crew, Banana Republic and Coach, at the Outlets at Silverthorne. The shops are separated into three villages and offer discounts of up to 70 percent on designer goods.

Need a break from retail therapy? Grab a fly rod (and a fishing license) and head down to the water. Silverthorne’s five miles of riverside trails run parallel to the outlet shops and provide easy access to the Blue River’s gold-medal trout-filled waters.

Watch how far your ball flies through the thin mountain air while teeing off at one of Keystone’s two 18-hole championship courses — Keystone Ranch and the Keystone River Course — complete with stretches of lodgepole pine and a nine-acre lake.

Head west to Frisco for an afternoon on Dillon Reservoir, where you can rent canoes, kayaks or paddleboats at the Dillon Marina. After exploring some the lake’s 25 miles of shoreline, stop off at the Peninsula Recreation Area for a round of disc golf. The revamped park also has a baseball field, skate park, an extensive trail system and loads of picnic sites perfect for spreading out with lunch from one of Main Street’s tempting delis.

Day 2

Make your way to Breckenridge for some first-class mountain biking. Hundreds of miles of former wagon routes and mining trails have been converted to well-worn singletrack, terrific for beginner bikers, as well as hard-core trail busters.

For a moderate ride (or hike), try the Baker’s Tank Trail just southeast of downtown on Boreas Pass Road. Rolling hills take you through dense forest and past mining relics before looping back to the parking area. Or if you prefer pavement, jump on the family-friendly Ten Mile Recreational Pathway. Named for the adjacent mountain range, the 50-mile paved path connects the entire county and is always busy with bikers, runners and inline skaters.

For a fun afternoon activity, throw on a hard hat and head underground at the Country Boy Mine. The restored mining site leads you more than 1,000 feet into the mountain for a realistic look at what it was like to be a miner here more than a century ago. After the 45-minute tour, climb on a steam shovel, browse the gift shop and shriek down a 55-foot ore chute. Pet the wandering donkeys and pocket what you find panning in Eureka Creek.

Any gold you find will serve you well in downtown Breckenridge. Stop into locally owned boutiques and entertain cravings for everything from designer cupcakes to designer jeans. A good way to see town is by horse-drawn carriage. Or explore the 200-structure historic district on foot.

Behold the town’s artsy side along the Riverwalk at dusk. A handful of sculptures live on the riverbanks — some even reside in the river. In warm weather, kids and dogs scramble over boulders and cool off in the river’s mellow sections, while adults lounge on the sidelines.

Lake Dillon, a Summit County, Colorado, recreation hot spot for boating and hiking
Lake Dillon, a Summit County, Colorado, recreation hot spot

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