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Your Guide to Adventure in Summit County, Colorado, in the Summer

Summit County, Colorado, is an outdoor paradise for adventure seekers, just over an hour from Denver. We promise you'll be captivated with breathtaking beauty while indulging in top-notch hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more! Whether you're a seasoned thrill-seeker or a first-time visitor, our guide is your ultimate resource for unlocking the adrenaline-fueled wonders of Summit County.

Get ready for an unforgettable experience.

The Perfection of Summit County Summers

Summit County, CO, is a nature lover's paradise. With a plethora of summer outdoor activities to choose from, visitors are spoiled with tons of options. One of the most exciting adventures to embark on is the Via Ferrata - a protected climbing route right here at A-Basin. If high altitudes aren't your thing, don't worry because Summit County is also home to world-class mountain biking trails that will get your adrenaline pumping. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, there's a trail for everyone. Here's our rundown for your perfect guide to summer activities in Summit County:

The Best Mountain Biking and Hiking Trails in Summit County, CO

Summit County boasts stunning landscapes and rugged topography, making it a haven for hiking enthusiasts. It's hard to know where to start with endless miles of trails to discover. But fear not, as this guide is here to help you explore the best hiking trails in Summit County. Whether you're seeking a challenging climb or a stroll through the woods, Summit County has something for everyone. Explore the breathtaking vistas of the Gore Range, experience the tranquility of Dillon Reservoir, or hike through the Arapaho National Forest - the choices are endless.

Top Hiking Trails in Summit County, Colorado

Summit County, Colorado, offers various hiking trails for all skill levels. Here are a few not-to-be-missed trails:

  1. Mohawk Lakes Trail: This moderately challenging trail rewards hikers with spectacular views of alpine lakes and wildflower meadows. It's a 6.7-mile round trip from historic mining ruins to beautiful Mohawk Lakes.
  2. Quandary Peak Trail: For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, Quandary Peak offers one of Colorado's most accessible 14ers. The 6.7-mile round-trip trail includes a significant elevation gain and breathtaking panoramic views from the summit.
  3. Lily Pad Lake Trail: Ideal for families and beginners, this easy 3.4-mile trail winds through lush forests to a peaceful lake dotted with lily pads. It's a perfect place for a picnic or a relaxing afternoon.
  4. Buffalo Mountain Trail: This trail offers a challenging trek to the top of the prominent Buffalo Mountain. The 5-mile round trip trail is steep and rugged but provides stunning views of Dillon Reservoir and the surrounding mountain ranges.
  5. Ptarmigan Trail: A moderately difficult trail, Ptarmigan rewards with sweeping views of Summit County. The trail is approximately 10.5 miles and winds through pine forests, aspen groves, and open meadows.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Hiking Trails

We offer several trails for hiking and biking enthusiasts, each with varying difficulty levels and unique scenic views. Check out our trails:

  • Half Moon Vista Trail: A short 0.5-mile trail that leads to a stunning overlook of the terrain and the Continental Divide. The trail begins at Black Mountain Lodge and is suitable for everyone, with the final climb presenting a slightly more challenging ascent of 340 feet. This trail can be combined with the Argentine North Fork for a longer 5-mile trek.
  • Argentine North Fork Trail (ANFT): A primary singletrack trail spanning 2 miles that begins near Mountain Goat Plaza and ascends to Black Mountain Lodge. This moderate trail is open for hiking and biking in both directions.
  • Summer Road: Upper & Lower: A service road that runs from top to bottom, covering a combined distance of 2.6 miles. The road, which is moderate to difficult, offers stunning views of A-Basin, Loveland Pass, and the resident mountain goat herd.
  • Pali Road: A steep 0.6-mile service road that leads from the Upper Summer Road to the top of Pallavicini Lift. This difficult road is open for hiking and biking in both directions. We are pretty high up in elevation here at A-Basin, so be prepared for potential afternoon thunderstorms, particularly during the summer. The terrain is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and pets, although some ecologically sensitive regions are best left undisturbed.

Remember to check the weather before you set out, respect the wildlife, and leave no trace to ensure the trails stay beautiful for future adventurers. Happy hiking!

Mountain Biking in Summit County, Colorado

Mountain biking enthusiasts will find an extensive trail network in Summit County that caters to all experience levels, from novice riders to experts. The county's diverse terrain and breathtaking landscapes make it an unparalleled destination for this adventurous pastime. Here are some of the top mountain bike trails in Summit County, Colorado:

  • Keystone Bike Park
  • Frisco Peninsula
  • Peaks Trail
  • Tenderfoot Mountain
  • Barney Flow / B-Line

Mountain Bike Trails at Arapahoe Basin

The Basin isn't just for winter sports; it's a hub for various outdoor summer activities, especially biking. When snow melts, the ski slopes metamorphose into thrilling bike trails that delight biking enthusiasts. Check out our excellent downhill-only bike trails:

Beavers Loop Trail - A Downhill-Only Adventure

Introducing the new Beavers Loop Trail - a biking route exclusively designed for downhill biking. Spread over 3 miles, this trail offers a thrilling descent of 1,000 feet. For an extended 5-mile adventure, you can connect to the Wheels Up trail. The journey down the Beavers Loop Trail is moderately challenging, featuring rock formations, optional routes, exposure to narrow trails, and stunning surroundings. For all the hiking enthusiasts, note that this trail is intended for biking only and allows one-way traffic heading downhill. The trail's starting point sits adjacent to the top terminal of The Beavers Lift, at an altitude of approximately 12,500 feet. Upon reaching the summit, turn right and continue past the Snow Plume Refuge building to find the beginning of the trail. Fans of the Lenawee Trail will find the Beavers Loop Trail equally enticing. Created in collaboration with IMBA Trail Solutions, this trail provides a biking-only, downhill route from our summit to the mid-mountain and further onto the base area when you join the Wheels Up trail. It aims to offer a high-alpine, backcountry-style ride and is not a typical DH jump trail. It's important to note that this trail does not have lift-service and requires a steep climb to our summit on the Argentine North Fork and the Upper Summer Road. The good news is a climbing singletrack trail is in the works and slated for completion by summer 2023.

Wheels Up Trail


Introducing the Wheels Up Trail - a unique biking experience catering exclusively to downhill cycling enthusiasts. Spanning 2 miles in distance, it offers a descent of 669 feet and is rated moderate in difficulty. The trail features a smooth route interspersed with challenging rock lines and rock gardens, making it an unsuitable choice for beginners. Please be advised that hiking is prohibited on this trail, and biking is restricted to downhill only. The Wheels Up Trail's starting point is mid-mountain, adjacent to the top terminal of the Black Mountain Express Lift. Wheels Up is a premier downhill, bike-only flow trail that descends from the Black Mountain Lodge to the base area. With its myriad of berms, rollers, and optional lines, this trail is a dedicated playground explicitly built for bikers. While it is suitable for intermediate riders (all features can be rolled), it promises extra fun for advanced mountain bikers. To access it, take the climb up the Argentine North Fork Trail.

Disc Golf and Aerial Adventure Park at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area


Apart from mountain biking, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area offers other exhilarating activities like Disc Golf and the Aerial Adventure Park. The disc golf course, winding its way through the stunning alpine landscape, provides a fun and challenging game for all ages and skill levels. It's a perfect blend of sport and nature exploration, with fairways lined by wildflowers and a backdrop of impressive mountain peaks.

Equally thrilling is the Aerial Adventure Park. This high ropes course set amongst the treetops will test your courage and agility. Suspended platforms, swaying bridges, climbing nets, and zip lines create an adrenaline-filled obstacle course, providing a bird's-eye view of the surrounding scenery. Safety is a priority, and professional instructors are always on hand to guide participants and ensure they are securely fastened in their harnesses. This combination of physical challenge and breathtaking vistas makes the Aerial Adventure Park a must-try experience at Arapahoe Basin.

Rock Climbing and Adrenaline Activities in Summit County, Colorado

Do you crave the thrill of an adrenaline rush? If so, try rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or ziplining. These activities will pump your heart and give you the thrill you want. We're biased, but our favorite high alpine activity is our very own Via Ferrata.

Arapahoe Basin's Via Ferrata

We are home to North America's highest elevation, Via Ferrata. A Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route that uses fixed cables and ladders to help climbers
ascend a mountain face. Ours is located on the East Wall, one of the mountain's most striking and prominent geographical features. The Via Ferrata ascends 800 vertical feet to a summit elevation of 13,000 feet. The route is entirely above treeline, so you'll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The route is also home to various alpine plants and wildlife, including mountain goats, marmots, and pikas.

The A-Basin Via Ferrata is a guided-only experience. All participants must be at least 12 years old and in good physical condition. The guides will provide all the necessary equipment, including a harness, helmet, and ropes. They will also teach you how to use the equipment and climb safely.

 

Scenery & Views: Places to take in the beauty of Summit County from the top of a mountain or meadow Summit County in Colorado offers some of the most breathtaking scenery and views, ideal for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers. One of the best ways to truly appreciate the beauty of this county is by heading to the top of a mountain or a meadow to look out over the vast landscapes. Some popular spots to take in the Summit County scenery include the top of Mount Royal, Sapphire Point, and Keystone Gondola. Whether you prefer a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll to the top, the beauty of Summit County's panoramic views will surely be worth the effort. Here's a list of some of our favorite options:

Loveland Pass: One of the most exciting drives in Summit County, Loveland Pass offers astounding views of the Continental Divide. At an elevation of 11,990 feet, it delivers panoramic views of surrounding mountains and valleys. Take the chance to step out and breathe in the fresh alpine air.

Lake Dillon: This stunning reservoir lies in the heart of Summit County and offers breathtaking waterside views. Visitors can engage in boating, fishing, and camping. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains, providing an ideal photographic backdrop.

Breckenridge's Historic Main Street: This charming street is lined with colorfully painted Victorian homes, shops, galleries, and restaurants. Here, you can enjoy an afternoon of shopping, dine in delightful eateries, or soak in the ambiance of this historic town. The street also hosts several festivals yearly, making it a vibrant spot in Summit County.

Find Your Summer Summit County Adventure

Summit County offers an array of exciting and diverse activities for everyone looking for an adventure. From high-alpine adventures to mountain trails, the opportunities are plenty. With so much available in one locale, it's no wonder tourists keep coming back for more! You will be satisfied if you visit for a weekend getaway or stay longer. Now, don't wait any longer – plan your trip and check out the fantastic activities that await you in Summit County and at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area!