Free Things To Do in Summit County
There are plenty of ways to enjoy Summit County that will lighten your spirit and your waistline rather than your wallet. Here are fifty of them! A vacation to the mountains isn’t just for the rich and famous. Enjoy the great outdoors, farmer’s markets, walking tours, and free festivals.
Summit County a Regional Gem
Summit County is a unique region of Colorado that embodies what makes Colorado so popular. This region has 5 major ski resorts, two large reservoirs, many smaller lakes, several bustling mountain towns, an abundance of National Forest access, and plenty of lodging options. Vacationing in the Summit County region is a guaranteed good time, especially with so much to do that doesn’t include overspending.
Frisco is in the heart of Summit County and on the southern aspect of Lake Dillon. This central town is a lovely place to stay and within close proximity to many year-round activities and events.
1. Experience how the first settlers lived in Frisco during the 1800’s. Walk through the real schoolhouse, jail, and chapel, or (for a quarter) watch a train travel through the Frisco of 100 years ago in our realistic diorama. 2nd & Main St., 970-668-3428
2. Pick up a map of Frisco at the Information Center and visit eight historic attractions you can easily walk to from downtown. 300 Main St., 970-668-5547
3. Take a picnic to one of Frisco’s seven parks. Most offer tables, shelters, and grills.
4. There are many popular and challenging hikes around Frisco. Favorites are Rainbow Lake, North Ten Mile, the Rec Path to Breckenridge or Dillon, and Meadow Creek/Lilly Pad. Visit the Info Center for directions.
5. Experience a glass-blowing demonstration at Frisco’s Gatherhouse Glassblowing Studio & Gallery. Watch glassblower John Hudnut as he creates art out of molten glass! 110 2nd Ave., 970-485-2909
6. Hop on the free Summit Stage shuttle and take a ride through the Rockies!
7. Grab some gear (and a Colorado fishing license) and fish the local streams and rivers.
8. Take the kids to Story Hour at the Frisco Library. Young Toddler, Toddler & Pre-School sessions are offered. County Commons on Peak One Blvd., 970-668-5555
9. Grab your bike or longboard and take the free Summit Stage bus to Copper Mountain and ride the paved, mostly downhill, Ten Mile Canyon Recpath back to Frisco.
10. Stroll Main Street Frisco or Breckenridge for some prime window shopping. Most stores are locally owned and operated and filled with unique items.
11. Feeling adventurous? Take your bike to the Frisco Bike Park and practice your skills in the pump track and the dirt jumps. Open daily, weather permitting.
12. Take your discs to the 18-hole Peak One Disc Golf Course on the Peninsula Recreation Area. Open daily 6 am–10 pm during the summer. townoffrisco.com
Breckenridge is located in the southern aspect of Summit County and just 17 miles south of Frisco on Hwy 9. There is plenty to do for the day visitor and more.
13. Take a stroll along the Riverwalk just west of Main St. For the more adventurous, Breck has countless miles of hiking trails, or climb to the top of Quandry Peak!
14. Take a self-guided historic walking tour of the town. Visit gobreck.com or call 970-453-2913 for more info.
15. Take the free Barney Ford Victorian Home Tour. An escaped slave who prospered, Barney Ford became a prominent entrepreneur and civil rights leader. Open Tuesday – Sunday until Sept. 2. breckheritage.com
16. The Breckenridge Welcome Center is now an interpretive museum featuring displays on life in the 1880s and the town’s evolution from a gold-mining mecca to a Victorian ski village. 203 S. Main St.
17. Along with an array of community amenities, Carter Park also features a free dog park that’s a popular place to socialize for both local dogs and humans. Four blocks east of Main St., south end of High St.
18. The Breckenridge Kayak Park is the longest in the state and includes 15 water features that challenge all levels of boaters. Just east of the Recreation Center. Free access, conditions permitting.
19. Hit the Breckenridge Mountain Bike Freeride Park, the Skateboard Park, or the more leisurely bike path from Breckenridge to Frisco. The 9.5-mile trail is pedestrian-friendly and a popular summer route.
20. Take a scenic drive over Boreas Pass or Hoosier Pass and get some great photos of the leaves changing.
21. Celebrate Breck Demo Days in late June with a parade, yoga for bikers, movie nights, children’s races and more free activities. gobreck.com, 970-453-2913
22. Take a free scenic gondola ride. Enjoy spectacular views of Cucumber Gulch Preserve on your way up to the base of Peak 8. breckenridge.com
Copper Mountain is also located in the southern aspect of Summit County and only 11 miles south of Frisco on I70.
23. Hike to the peak of Copper Mountain or stroll along the Colorado Trail. Information about self-guided hikes and complimentary hiking-poles, strollers and child-carriers are available at Guest Services.
24. Explore the West Lake side of Copper by Bumper or Paddleboat! Kids 5 and under ride free with a paying adult.
25. Fridays at Copper (FAC) during the summer include free evening concerts and outdoor movies. coppercolorado.com
26. Take a free round-trip ride on the American Eagle chairlift after spending $10 anywhere in the village. Visit coppercolorado.com for details.
Dillon is located on the northern end of Lake Dillon and across the lake from Frisco. This is another small mountain town that is centrally located in Summit County with access to many popular activities. Take Hwy 6 from Silverthorne to Dillon.
27. Soak up some of Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine on the bike path around beautiful Lake Dillon.
28. Take free country dance lessons on Wednesday nights during the summer at the Lake Dillon Amphitheatre. Donations appreciated. townofdillon.com
29. Head to Town Park for a leisurely game of Bocce. If you’re more committed you can join the local league!
30. Catch some live entertainment from 10:30am to 1pm at Dillon’s summer Friday Farmers’ Markets. Buffalo St., townofdillon.com
31. Fourth of July celebrations county-wide include live music, parades and spectacular fireworks. Dillon goes all out with pie and watermelon eating contests, a boat parade, free concert and fireworks display over Frisco Bay.
32. Browse the Dillon Arts Festival in downtown Dillon in July. Admission is free to this three-day festival showcasing 65 of Colorado and the nation’s finest artists.
33. Dog lovers unite at the Marina Mutt Contest in early September. An afternoon of fun, as dog owner’s show off their companions and compete for prizes at this family-friendly event at the Dillon Marina.
34. Stop by the Summit Historical Society’s old-fashioned ice cream social for 5¢ ice cream cones. Old Dillon Schoolhouse and Museum, 403 La Bonte St.
35. Catch the Sunset at the Summit Concert Series. Award-winning live music and a night of fun-filled family entertainment. Saturdays, June 28 – Sept. 7, 7pm. townofdillon.com
36. Start your weekends at the Dillon Amphitheatre for free concerts on Friday nights throughout the summer! townofdillon.com
37. Soak in the incredible views from the easy hikes through the Dillon Nature Preserve. Trails include educational signs about the history of the area, wildlife and native plants designed by Dillon Valley Elementary School 5th graders!
Located another 8 miles down Hwy 6 from Dillon is Keystone Resort. Find more Summit County mountain fun at Keystone.
38. For stunning views of Lake Dillon Reservoir and the Tenmile Range, head up Swan Mountain Road to Sapphire Point between Keystone and Breckenridge.
39. Ride Keystone’s River Run Gondola up 11,640 feet for spectacular panoramic views of Lake Dillon, Breckenridge, and the surrounding mountains. Free during the Friday Afternoon Club.
40. Go on a scenic bike ride along one of Keystone’s many bike trails. The Rossetter Trail is a three-mile path around the Keystone Ranch Golf Course or ride a paved trail all the way to Frisco around the reservoir.
41. Experience a free festival in Keystone’s River Run Village. Most weekends all summer long.
42. Take a picnic and take in the views at Keystone Lake.
43. Kidtopia Kidsfest is a great time to have free family fun! Everything from petting zoos, train rides and caricatures to face painters, balloon artists and crafts. keystoneresort.com
Silverthorne is the center of Summit County. Located at the intersection of I70 and Hwy 9 all travelers heading west on I70 will pass by or make a final stop at Silverthorne. It’s your last chance to visit outlet stores. Silverthorne resembles more of what we expect of urban America but in fact, it’s one of Colorado’s biggest mountain hubs.
44. Rip it up at the Silverthorne Skate Park with rails, ramps, and jumps. Or grab a seat on the sidelines and watch the pros do the hard work. 430 Rainbow Dr.
45. Visit the Silverthorne Mountain Market. A good old-fashioned locals Flea Market. silverthorne.org
46. Drop in and enjoy a game at the Rainbow Park Sand Volleyball Courts. The courts are open from dawn to dusk late May through mid-September. 431 Rainbow Dr.
47. Head to the Kids Fishing Derby on June 2 at 9 a.m. Bring your poles, bait, and skills for a morning of fishing fun at the Trent Park Pond.
Heeney is located in the northern part of Summit County. It’s a small unincorporated community primarily consisting of vacation homes. The town originally developed during the construction of Green Mountain Reservoir in the 1930s. This reservoir parallels hwy 9 which provides access to Heeney and the surrounding area.
48. Enjoy Green Mountain Reservoir which caters to boaters and has a marina, a general store, and accesses the adjacent Easle’s Nest Wilderness.
49. Walk the easy, family-friendly 2-mile loop around Cataract Lake that travels through fields of wildflowers, thick spruce-fir forest, and past the beautiful cascades of Cataract Creek and falls.
Summit County a Place to Explore
Unless you are familiar with this region it’s easy to overlook that Summit County encompasses the densest area of recreational and community opportunities available in Colorado. Usually, one of the many specific places or resorts are referenced such as Breckenridge, Silverthorne, or Arapahoe Basin. However, picking a vacation location in this area really depends on your choice of favorite mountain activities. A short distance from any place within this region will result in an unforgettable Colorado experience, many of which are free!
50. Check out our events calendar to find something going on nearby.