Breckenridge with Kids: Stories from the Past with Breckenridge Heritage Alliance

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance Hikes
Breckenridge Heritage Alliance offers guided historical hikes including a visit to the Preston Mill Ghost Town.

What: Breckenridge Heritage Alliance Tours and Hikes
When: See website for dates and times
Where: Reservations accepted via phone: 970-453-9767 x2 or by emailing
Cost: Prices for tours and hikes vary and start at $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Historic homes are free but do request a donation of $5

Our family is pretty big on history. Some of our favorite field trips have been to historic sites. My kids prefer to learn history through hands on activities and stories of bygone days. Stories of Breck’s past is exactly what the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance specializes in, and they do it through in-town walking tours and historic trail hikes. Most of the tours are kid-friendly and perfect for older children who can follow along and keep up on the trail. Most of the tours are outdoors which can be cool, even in summer, so dress warmly. Here is a sampling of the tours and hikes available through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance.

Breckenridge Ghost Tour
This is the home of Ms. Sylvia. She came to Breck to find a husband and she’s still looking. Only men have ever reported seeing her ghost.

Breckenridge History: Haunted Tour of Breckenridge Life in 1800’s Breckenridge was hard, and several folks met with untimely deaths, although according to locals, not everyone has departed.  The Haunted Tour of Breckenridge is more historical than scary, but there are a few stories that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The ghost stories also give a glimpse at real life in a western mining town and what it took to survive. Stories of prostitution, cannibalism and gruesome mining accidents are part of this tour, although guides leave any detail to your imagination. We took my 8 year old and it was fine, he focused more on the ghosts than the story of their mortal counterpart.

Breckenridge History: Preston Mill Ghost Town HikeVisiting a ghost town was on my list when we came to Colorado, so I was super excited about this hike that includes a picnic lunch. The hike itself has some steeper inclines that might take younger kids a bit longer, but it’s not difficult and the guide goes at a leisurely pace. Along the way to the former town of Preston Mill, you pass abandon gold mines and equipment, a nice diversion if your child is like my youngest and balks at the mention of “hike.” The town itself is almost gone. There are few buildings that remain standing, but the stories give you a feel for what was once a prosperous mining town.

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance Hikes
Remains of Preston Mill, a once prosperous mining town.
Breckenridge Saloon Tour
The false fronts typical of a western building were used for signage. When you see recessed doors, chances are the building was once a saloon. The recess was to protect passerby from the swinging doors of the saloon.

Breckenridge History: Swinging Doors Saloon Tour Who could resist exploring western saloons? My husband and I left the kids at home for this 21 and over tour. I enjoyed learning about the evolution of saloon architecture including the reason behind the famous false fronts and recessed doorways. We heard stories of robbery and gun fights, and finished by sampling the wares from the current Breckenridge Distillery.  Afterwards, we backtracked to enjoy a libation at the Gold Pan Saloon. Although not always the Gold Pan, there has been a saloon on this site since 1865. The bar itself dates back to the 1800’s.

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance
We ditched the boys for the Behind Swing Doors Saloon tour. Although not always the Gold Pan Saloon, there has been a saloon on this site continuously since 1865. The bar is vintage and they even have an old safe that once held patrons gold while they drank, gambled and whatnot.

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