Top 5 favorite Colorado mountain towns.

ColumbineHave you ever looked at a map and been so curious about a road or town that you just had to hop in the car and explore?  Well that seems to happen to me a lot.

First off, I love maps and have had an interest in geography as long as I can remember.  I’m always wondering what’s around the bend.

This summer we find ourselves once again hanging in Colorado.  We’ve done a bunch of serious exploring in this state over the past two summers, but I have a feeling we’ve barely touched the surface of this beautiful slice of America.   Thus, yesterday I pulled out the Colorado atlas again to see what back road might pique my interest.

While scouring the map, I was met with a flood of fond memories.  After all, we did call Colorado home for over twenty years.  Could I pick a favorite mountain town?  BreckenridgeCould I pick a favorite scenic drive?  That would be a resounding, NO!  I do however have some favorites.

When we lived in Colorado Springs, we would bring the kids up to either Summit County or Grand County for winter fun. While the kids were enjoying the slopes, Al and I would stroll shops and go out to lunch in a quaint mountain town.  Charm and character abound.

Summit County includes the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, Keystone, and the village of Copper Mountain, and is located about a two-hours drive from Denver’s International Airport.  So it’s super easy to get to and offers plenty to see and do.

Summit County is a great place to visit any time of year, but March and April are my least favorite due to slushy conditions as the snow melts, but that never stopped our kids from enjoying spring skiing.

Now a days, hubby and I save our visits to the high country for summer.  As a matter of fact, some of these mountain communities have become even more popular during the summer months than they are in the winter.

Keystone

Off Swan Mtn Road, between Breckenridge and Keystone, is a scenic overlook high above Dillon Reservoir. The chipmunks are used to folks bringing sunflower seeds and this little guy crawled on Al’s hand checking to see if he brought any such treats.

At the end of May, Al and I found ourselves once again camped at the shores of Dillon Reservoir which of course included a little shop strolling in Breckenridge.   We always look forward to a treat stop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory plus I believe someone purchased a T-shirt (or two) but I’m not telling considering there’s no more room in the RV closet.  I wonder if Al has noticed that I’m encroaching on his half of the closet…. ssshhh!

Colorado museumsAs much as I enjoy Breckenridge and think that it’s a must see, I personally prefer the quaint mountain town of Frisco.  Frisco is much more low-key and less touristy than Breckenridge.  Thus, Frisco is our first stop on my “top 5 favorite Colorado mountain towns”.

Frisco has a population of less than 3,000, sits at over 9,000 feet in elevation, and was incorporated in 1880 during the mining boom.  Today it’s a gateway to four major ski resorts.  Main Street offers plenty of quaint shops, restaurants, and a historic park with museum.Frisco museum Al and I grabbed a couple of Lattes at a local coffee shop and strolled over to the Frisco Historic Park & Museum.  This is a free, self guided museum preserving Frisco’s heritage.  Toward the rear of the park was a delightful sculpture that brought a smile to our faces.

After exploring the grounds, it was time for us to tour some of the buildings at the museum.  Each building offered a little something different and from various decades.red lipstick

Frisco musuemI was particularly entertained by the fashions on display as well as learning the importance of red lipstick during World War II.  Hubby and I aren’t huge museum goers, but we found this historic park to be quite entertaining and worth the stop.

Frisco also offers an Adventure Park as well as a marina on Dillon Reservoir. As many times as we’ve stopped in Frisco, each visit we discover some new shop, restaurant, or hiking trail.  And the scenery ain’t too bad either.

Next up we’ll visit another favorite mountain town……maxine

FYI…. if I’m a little quiet these days, it’s because I’m still under the weather as well as we’ve had some problems with our internet and excessive data usage which we’re trying to figure out where the problem lies.  Grrr….. this isn’t the adventure I signed up for LOL. 

Teva Women’s Kayenta Strappy Sandal, Vega Black, 9 M US
Life is good Men’s Crusher Happy Camper Tee, Teal Blue, X-Large

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69 thoughts on “Top 5 favorite Colorado mountain towns.

  1. Ah, Colorado… I remember it well. Hah! I was there 8 weeks last summer and may return after my visit to Acadia National Park in Maine later this week.

    Have you been to Marble or Crested Butte? Steamboat Springs? There’s a lovely free Forest Service) campground outside of Marble (see McClure Pass on my blog) and another that’s pretty reasonable near Steamboat Springs. There’s free boondocking near Ouray at Ironton Park and a free Forest Service campground at gorgeous Little Molas Lake near Silverton (also chronicled on my blog). Have you ridden the Durango-Silverton RR? If not, definitely go first class should you do so and ask about the car with the glass roof (yup, more about that too on my blog).

    • You hit a bunch of my favs in this comment. My next post is on Silverton. Right now we’re hanging in Denver until the 25th when we head east for a month to visit family. Thanks for sharing all the tidbits 🙂

  2. So sorry to hear about your Valley Fever diagnosis. Is there any prognosis for how long it may linger? This is a great idea for a post series Ingrid. Looking forward to hearing about the next 4.

    • Valley Fever is tough since everyone reacts differently based on how many fungal spores were ingested and the over health of the individual. It takes anywhere from 3-12 months to totally recover. I’m aiming for that 3 month mark 🙂

      • I will be sending positive thoughts your way Ingrid. I am surprised, given how many years I spent in Phoenix, that I never contracted it myself.

        • You are fortunate to have missed out on Valley Fever…. it’s nasty. I can use all the positive thoughts, so please send away 🙂

  3. Sorry to hear about your Valley Fever diagnosis. We’ve met a couple people who had it and for a time Jim decided we needed to get out of the southwest where it is most prevalent. It only took one trip back east for him to decide we’d risk it and stay out west;-)
    We’ll be hanging around CO this summer but not exactly sure where. Maybe our paths will cross…

    • We’ll be in the Denver area until July 25th and then we’ll head east for a family visit. I’m hoping by August tick and mosquito season will be mostly over in the Midwest. One can hope. Enjoy Colorado 🙂

  4. Beautiful places in Colorado! I am jotting these towns down as you post them for when we decide to go for a visit!
    Please feel better friend! Hugs to you!

    • We spent a week at the end of May in Frisco and always enjoy strolling the shops in Breck. Have a great time and I highly recommend a summer Crested Butte visit 🙂

  5. My brother-in-law was misdiagnosed many years ago with the big C, when the doc saw scars on an xray from a prior bout of Valley Fever. Scary stuff. But, you sure are in a beautiful, healing environment. Take care of yourself and enjoy some down time.

    • Yes, I guess it’s common for the misdiagnosis…. scary. Hope brother-in-law fully recovered without complications. I must admit, this cough and lack of energy is getting old, but at least I have some beautiful scenery to enjoy 🙂

  6. Yes, Ingrid, you have been missed:) grrrrr indeed- hope you get it resolved.
    Really enjoyed the post as we haven’t been to Frisco.
    We are off on some travels tomorrow – boat to France then driving to Tuscany (via daughter in Geneva).
    Are you suffering under unusually hot weather?
    Anne

  7. Hope you are feeling better now and have the internet issues figured out. We have never been to this part of Colorado, except to just drive the interstate one time. It sounds like a place we would adore and may need to put it on our list to visit sometime. I love the pic with the squirrel!

    • I think I finally solved our internet dilemma…. thank goodness. You would love this part of Colorado. It’s so beautiful but unfortunately the National Forest Campgrounds don’t offer much in the way of amenities and there’s no affordable private parks in the area. We don’t mind dry camping for a week to be surrounded by such stunning scenery 🙂

  8. We will be heading there this fall,so hopefully we will see some fall colors then. Great trip ideas especially that we enjoyed CO and if only those thunderstorms will just go away!
    Take care of yourself and hope you feel better. The upside is you are in your home territory so you would be more comfy recuperating.

    • Yep, I’m in the perfect place to recover. I’m pretty sure you’ll experience the beauty of fall colors in September. Hopefully I provided you with some recommendations that are right up your alley 🙂

  9. Lovely photos of the mountains towns. Like you I also prefer the low key, less crowded places so I am sure I would love Frisco:) The old cash machine looks awesome! Is it from the museum in Frisco?

    • Good call – yes, the old cash register is on display at the Frisco Historic Museum. They had some really fun and interesting things. Stay tuned for a few more charming Rocky Mountain Colorado towns 🙂

    • Thanks…. and we too fell in love with CO and moved here in the mid-nineties and loved every minute. But alas, change was in the air and sold out two years ago and now come back for visits 🙂

  10. Thanks for the great travel ideas, Ingrid! We’ve been to Breckenridge but on a motorcycle trip. Maybe next summer we’ll get to our summer in Colorado which we had to pass on this summer

    So sorry to read that you are still struggling with coming back from your cold. Please know we are thinking of you and hope to read better news real soon:) Take care and enjoy your daughter:)

    • Definitely enjoying visits with the daughter, but no hiking or explorations for me this summer as I battle ‘Valley Fever’. I can’t ask for a better location to recuperate. Our trek east will commence in Aug for similar reasons to yours and hopefully I will have regained my energy by then.
      I highly recommend a summer in Colorado and I’ll be sharing some of my favorite spots in the next few posts.

      • I had never heard of Valley Fever until I went to the doctor out west because I was covered in poison ivy. When he heard we were hikers and where we would be traveling, he gave me information on Valley Fever and told me to hang on to it in case I was east when I got sick. They might not know what I had. Glad to hear you are taking it easy:) Keep us posted on how you are feeling.

        • I might end up doing a post on it because doctors that haven’t spent any time in the desert SW aren’t usually familiar with it. On a chest X-ray, the spores can be confused with cancer – yikes…. horrible misdiagnose.
          I’m glad I did so much around Denver last summer or I’d be upset laying around so much… not that the body is giving me a choice 😉

    • Thanks Linda. You two would enjoy the little historic park and the amazing bike trail in the area. So many places to explore in Colorado, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

  11. We love Colorado and it’s definitely on our short list of “settle down” places some day. We haven’t been to either Breckenridge or Frisco yet so now I’m putting both on our list! By the way I love maps too – sometimes I just sit and study page after page in our road Atlas…even places we haven’t been yet. I don’t know why but I’ve always found them so interesting to study. Looking forward to hearing about the other cities you write about…and hope you feel better soon!

    • I’m with you Jennifer – I can sit for hours just studying an atlas and because of this when we explore a new town or area I seem to know my way around. Good trait to have when it comes to Real Estate. And speaking of Real Estate, Colorado in general, has some of the most expensive in the nation…. unfortunately!

  12. If you have to be under the weather glad you’re in familiar territory. Browsing through area localities can prove some real gems…like Frisco for sure. My hangers got over the the center bar, thought it would go unnoticed “Not!” Guess time to purge again…hope you bounce back soon! C

    • Thanks C and yes I’m in a great location to recuperate and regular visits with daughter always help. Foolish to think the guys wouldn’t notice our hangers crossing that center bar, eh!

  13. Colorado is so gorgeous! Thanks for the inside tips on the most beautiful and interesting places to visit. We’re planning to spend some time there if we can ever pry ourselves away from the Pacific Northwest in the summer. Hope you’re feeling better soon, Ingrid.

    • Thanks Laurel. Seems you and I share similar dilemmas…. we continue to spend our summers in CO and have yet to explore the Pacific NW and you spend your summers in the Pacific NW and have yet to explore CO. Well at least we know where to go for helpful travel tidbits when we finally do break our patterns 🙂

  14. We love so much about Colorado! Can’t wait to get back. Your blogs will help!
    We went through data like crazy, for two months. Verizon gave us one GB extra for a year, and one GB extra the month I called in. We never figured it out, but I got ride of lots of apps and stopped looking for a MH. Maybe downloaded too many photos….

    • We signed up for Verizons special – 30 GB for the price of 20 last year and found we were barely used half each month Then last month we used up 30GB before the month ended…. yikes…. how the heck did that happen? We never stream. I rarely open any tutorials or video of any kind. We think each of our laptops were running a phantom program which hopefully I have fixed…. fingers crossed and I’ll be back to normal blogging and commenting soon 🙂

      • So sorry to hear of your valley fever diagnosis, very scary and not to be taken lightly. Glad you are in your old stomping grounds with family near while you recuperate.

        • I am definitely not taking it lightly as I’m well aware of the challenges and complications of Valley Fever. At least I’m in a beautiful place to enjoy some needed down time.

  15. Ahh… Breckenridge and Keystone! We used to ski there… 🙂 Last time when we were in Vail in August, it was crowded.

  16. One of these days, we plan on heading back there, Ingrid! Such a great state! On your data, have you been using Google Maps? We did on our last trip to Florida, and we chewed up a ton of data in a hurry. Just a thought. Also, turn off your apps on your devices when not in use, as they are using data in the background. Hope that helps!

    Jim

    • I keep mobile data and GPS set on off on my smart phone and use sparingly. I think Al and I have had a phantom program running on our laptops. I did a bunch of resets and disabling today and hope I have it fixed….. fingers crossed. Thanks for the advice…. appreciate 🙂

  17. Gorgeous header photo dear friend.
    I love the sculpture. Beautiful job!

    We have not been to that part of CO. Paul just said the other night that maybe next fall we would head for CO. Thanks for the great tour. Added this post to my Pinterest.

    Hope you are feeling much better by the time you read these comments.

    • Thanks Marsha. We loved that sculpture and it was huge. Careful of altitude in September regarding weather. It’s pretty awesome hearing the Elk bugle as they come into rut that time of year and seeing the Aspens in their golden glory.

  18. What would life be without regular trips to explore the fever map-curiosity raises in one’s brain!

    And we completely agree with you about Frisco. We spent a week and half there on our way West a year or two ago and loved it. We did discover that it’s a little too HIGH in elevation for us both. But wheezing and walking slow didn’t keep us from enjoying (slight exaggeration there). I agree completely about the ‘less touristy’ and found the locals really welcoming!

    • Oh darn, I forgot to mention the delightful locals. Thanks for reminding me. That high altitude can be a problem for fellow flatlanders. I was in my twenties when we first visited CO and came down with altitude sickness. Having left Chicago in the mid nineties and moving to Co. Springs, hubby and I no longer have any issues and can easily hike up to 10,000 feet. That familiar wheezing starts as we get higher than 10 LOL.

      • If we spend enough time in that rarified atmosphere maybe we will too. But hey, there’s a lot to enjoy that doesn’t involve getting winded! 🙂

    • Thanks….this darn illness will just take time, but at least I get to enjoy some beautiful scenery as I lounge around camp 🙂

    • Thank you. You will truly be awed by Colorado’s beauty and I can certainly offer recommendations, but more importantly roads to avoid. Driving around Colorado can offer up plenty of white knuckle driving for flatlanders especially when one is pulling their home 🙂

  19. We haven’t explored Colorado hardly at all. Those mountain towns have been on my list though, and Frisco looks just my speed.

    • Thanks Kristin and with your little Casita you’d be able to explore some absolutely stunning places. I plan to share some of my favorite spots in the blog this summer 🙂

  20. Colorado is a place I have yet to visit, but it looks so beautiful. It seems that many mountain ski resort areas are becoming as busy in the summer months as they are in winter. It is very similar for many mountain destinations here in Canada.

    I am so sorry you are feeling under the weather. Hope you feel better soon. Perhaps some of that fresh, mountain air will help!

    • Thank you Lynn, I am hoping to kick this bug soon, but enjoying the scenery around camp in the meantime. One of these days I’ll make it up to Banff and Jasper. Every time I see photos, I drool 🙂 When we lived in the Midwest, we used to vacation in western Ontario and loved it.

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