During the winter months I live in Silverthorne, CO surrounded by mountains + ski resorts. While this does mean the trails are snow covered the entire time I’m living the mountain life, there’s one perk to this — we do not experience the freeze/thaw icing that the Front Range of Colorado gets. Within a day [or even hours] of a big storm the snowshoes, cross country skiers + backcountry riders will have the trails packed out + runnable. Plus, we get a ton of beautiful blue sky days with glorious hours of sunshine!
Where to Run
This is a great, short out + back trail that’ll take you through dense forest + reward you with some beautiful lake views. Going from the main trailhead, out + around the lake then back to the trailhead will get you about 3.5 miles of slightly rolling but not-too-technical trail. It’s not a long trek, but it is a pretty mellow trail to test out your mountain lungs out. You’ll get views of Lake Dillon, Buffalo Mountain + Peak One along the way.
This is also a great trail in the winter for snowshoeing or running — just give the snowshoes a day or two after a big storm to track out the trail if you’re looking to run.
The easiest access to Lily Pad Lake from is the Buffalo Mountain Trailhead at the top of the Wildernest neighborhood. If you’re looking to add some mileage + vertical gain, start at the bottom of Wildernest at the Salt Lick Trailhead + head uphill. There is a maze of trails, but it is hard to get too lost. Probably.
These mountains are both located in Frisco, but it’s worth the 5 minutes drive up the road. They are both on out + back routes leaving from the Mount Royal Trailhead, at the south end of 2nd Street in Frisco. Once you arrive at the trailhead take the trail going north + continue up, up, up.
The first stretch of trail is shared, so you can make an impulse decision between the 3.5 mile Mount Royal summit or the 6.5 mile Mount Victoria summit. The trail isn’t exceptionally technical, but it is steep + you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test out your mountain legs.
If you’re looking for more of a cruiser trail where you can snag a lot of mileage without thrashing your legs on a climb check out the Blue River Bike Trail. It’s paved, but it will take you along the river + connects to bike trails that loop around Lake Dillon or lead up to Frisco. The bike trails throughout Summit County are all interconnected with very few stretches shared with cars.
You can hop onto the Blue River Bike Trail in a handful of places. There is a lot of parking in any of the Outlets of Silverthorne + the bike trail connects them all. It also runs right behind Red Buffalo Tea + Coffee. Without too much logistical effort you can easily snag 18-30 miles of relatively flat mileage with stunning views along the Blue River + Lake Dillon Bike Trails. The mileage is endless if you head up to Frisco + even Breckenridge, Copper or Vail.
Important Note: It’s Colorado, so running with your dog is encouraged. Many trails are off leash friendly + the vast majority of local dogs are friendly. However, most of the trails do run through Wilderness Areas, which require dogs to be on leash. Please pack a leash + pay attention to the signs.
Where to Eat:
Whether you’re stopping in off the Blue River Trail or en route to work, Red Buffalo is worth the stop. They’re coffee is legit, their lattes are creative + if you’re early enough the “day old” selection will have you trying all sorts of new treats. Not to mention the fact the entire staff is always full of spunk + personality. The actual food menu is not extensive, but they have tasty burritos, bagels + a mix of pastries.
Another great option for weekday runs [or weekends, if you’re okay with waiting for a table] is the Sunshine Cafe. They just expanded + remodeled making them truly sunshiney. They have a full breakfast menu with a handful of creative local options. Anything from a country scramble, to eggs benedict, to a fruit parfait are available for breakfast with an array of sandwiches + combos for lunch.
If you’re more of an evening runner, check out Arapahoe Cafe + Pub as they’re open late [although, they also have a great breakfast]. The Pub Down Under [in their basement] has specials every night with Wednesday being all about the burgers. It can get busy as the night goes on, but the staff is friendly + accommodating with the burgers being worth the wait.
Other great options include Blue Moon Bakery for breakfast, Dillon Dam Brewery for local beer, Pug Ryans for happy hour + Baker’s Brewery for trivia night. They are all located in the Silverthorne/Dillon area + worth visiting. It’s seriously hard to pick only a few places to brag on up here in Summit County!
Important Note: This is a mountain town, post-run attire is acceptable nearly anywhere you go so don’t fret too much about how you’re decked out. We consider jeans + flannel to be “dressed up”.
Local Run Shop
Tucked away in the blue roof’ed Outlets of Silverthorne is Twisted Trails, a local running store new to the area. They’re doing a solid job of pulling together a dispersed + seasonal trail running community with a variety of events. Twisted Trail offers morning yoga classes + a handful of evening trail runs, year round. They have a decent selection of shoes + clothing for a small store with the ability to special order nearly anything you could need. The staff is also really friendly + full of trail or race recommendations. Definitely pop in + say hi or check out the Twisted Trails Facebook page for info on upcoming events.
Come Have an Adventure With Us!
The mountains of Colorado are criss-crossed with endless miles of trails. Summit County + the mountain towns nestled into its valleys are full of trailheads that will lead you to alpine lakes, stunning overlooks + jagged mountain tops. The weather is constantly changing, so come prepared for anything + bring your camera!
If you’re in the area + looking for a trail buddy [or just recommendations or current trail condition beta] feel free to reach out. You can find me showing off these mountains on Instagram as @heidikumm or you can shoot me an email at [email protected]
Trail Sisters Club on Strava:
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