Elk Dance Loop via Peaks Trailhead located at the end of Ski Hill Rd in Breckenridge, CO is a year-round playground. Popular for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing there is something for everyone.


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We started our day planning on hiking Elk Dance Loop which began at Peaks Trailhead. There is not a signpost for Elk Dance Loop here which started what became a confusing yet highly rewarding adventure. (I downloaded Elk Dance Loop on my Alltrails App and it helped keep us on the right path).



It’s late October and it had snowed the night before. The dense pines and snow-laden tree limbs made for a magical start.



Several bridge crossings and soon we are up a little higher where the warmth of the sun is starting to take the chill off.



Staying on Peaks Trail as we cross a dirt road we hope we are going to Elk Dance Loop! It’s a beautiful section of this trail. We have only encountered a handful of runners and hikers. October is mostly locals. A great time to be in Summit County.

NOTE: Peaks Trail will take you to Frisco, CO (6.9 miles from the start) then take the shuttle back to Breckenridge. Rated: easy/slightly moderate




I can hear the forest waking up, squirrels are very busy gathering for their cache and several birds appear lingering in the trees, seeming to check us out. Then disappear just as quickly. Deer and rabbit tracks are everywhere in the snow. One of the treats of hiking in fresh snow! 

You might enjoy this: Animal Tracks, A Folding Pocket Guide, waterproof & fits in your backpack.



There are seasonal closures in winter to allow for cross country skiing, Watch for red snowshoe symbols indicating designated trails for hikers. It’s not yet time for snowshoeing or cross country skiing in late October but something to keep in mind if coming here in the winter months.

>CLICK HERE for a look at practical gear that we have in our backpacks on every hike




Passing Hallelujah Hut (part of the Breckenridge Nordic Center) we are now hiking a dirt road. I had no idea that Elk Dance Loop was actually part of the Nordic ski tracks. It’s beautiful here. Until the winter season starts this area is open to hikers.




After hiking a short distance on the dirt road, we are inclining slightly. The views become the highlight showing off the snow-capped surrounding peaks.





Views of Breckenridge Ski Area and the Peaks across the town of Breckenridge the other direction is what makes this so spectacular.

It is getting super windy on our hike and really cold as ominous clouds are approaching from the north. Typical Colorado weather!






Finally, we found a signpost for Elk Dance Loop! It’s a long loop that circles around then back to where we stand here. We started to the right so the uphill was first then looped back.


Back down the same direction and into the dense forest again to end the last section. Beautiful hike, not too hard, just an enjoyable fall day. Perfect for getting outside without a serious amount of effort. Some slight uphills and a few short steeper areas.


5.9 miles total

Rated: moderate

White River National Forest

Leashed dogs ok

Nearest town: Breckenridge

No restrooms


Take Hwy 9 into the town of Breckenridge, take Ski Hill Rd until the payment ends. Just past Grand Lodge on Peak 7, you will see a small parking area and the Peaks Trailhead Signpost.



McCullough Gulch Hike in Summer!

Troll and Fairy Hiking in Breckenridge!

Winter Wonderland in the Rockies, Bakers Tank Trail

North Ten Mile Creek Trail, an Alpine Jewel!



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Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).