Snow doesn't have to stop your hiking adventures -- just strap on some snowshoes and hit the trail. Pennsylvania Creek Trail #611, near Breckenridge, offers a trail through the forest and a meadow with mountain views.
The trail starts near the town of Blue River, just south of Breckenridge (directions below). The parking area only has room for about 5-6 cars. Be careful parking on the access road, it can be quite icy and even in a 4-wheel drive truck, we found ourselves sliding down the road.
The trail is a road that is closed in the winter. Check out the map, then go around the road closure and start hiking up the tree-lined trail.
Just a short distance, less than a tenth of a mile, from the trailhead, you'll come to a split in the trail. Veer right, if you want a steeper trail, stay on the main trail is you want an easier grade.
As the trail winds through the forest, enjoy the snow-covered trees. Depending on how long it's been since the last snow, you may see tree branches weighed down by piles of snow or you may just see some ice glistening in the branches. Don't forget to look at the ground, too. You may spot foot prints in the snow from rabbits who frequent this area.
About a mile or so from the trailhead, you'll come to a large, wide open meadow. While there is a nice view ahead of two rounded mountains, as you trek through the meadow, turn around for the incredible mountain views behind you. You may also see the creek in the meadow below you.
Here the trail skirts the side of the meadow until it goes back in the trees and begins climbing again.
We trekked about two miles back on the trail (with an elevation gain of 650 feet). If you go 2.5 miles, the Forest Service website says you can turn left and drop down to Indiana Creek Rd (FDR 593). Then you can continue to Boreas Pass Rd (FDR10) or visit the old mining town of Dyersville and Warriors Mark Mine. Another popular route involves making a loop from Pennsylvania Creek Road to Indiana Creek Road. Go as far as you like, then turn around, enjoying the views west as you return to the trailhead.
In the Breckenridge area, my favorite snowshoe is to the Sallie Barber Mine. In Summit County, I also recommend snowshoeing to Saints John and Mayflower Gulch. Check out this list of the best snowshoes near Denver and this list of 200+ hikes in Colorado.
Directions: From I-70 take Exit 203, Frisco/Breckenridge, and travel south on Highway 9 toward Breckenridge. Travel through Breckenridge. Approximately 3.4 miles past the Boreas Pass Road traffic light turn left at Blue River Road. Go right on Royal Drive, then right on Regal Circle. Follow the road to Coronet Drive and turn right. Stay on Coronet Drive until this road dead ends at a parking area.