We recently spent a few days in Breckenridge with my sister and her family, and took a fun hike to the “Fairy Forest”, which is one of the top things you’ll find if you search for things to do with kids in Breckenridge. Our kids, especially the girls ages 5-10, really loved the Fairy Forest and their excitement as they discovered new fairy houses along the trail was really cute.
We spent quite awhile trying to find the trail to the Fairy Forest, and apparently we weren’t the only ones, as we encountered more than a few other families asking if we knew the way.
I thought I’d share more detailed directions to the Fairy Forest than we were able to find, with the hope of helping other families find the right trail rather than wandering around taking dead-end trails like we did! So, keep reading for detailed instructions, photos of the entire hike, info on parking, and GPS coordinates. (Yes, it seems like a bit of overkill but we sure wish we’d had it when we were hiking with our small people!) At the end I’ll also share a couple of other fun things we did with the kids in Breck.
Directions to the Fairy Forest via Sawmill Trail
There might be multiple ways to access the Fairy Forest; these directions are using Sawmill Trail (hiking only trail), which starts at the Snowflake Lift.
- Tale the Sawmill Trail at Snowflake ski lift, which is on 4′ O Clock Rd., just past Kings Crown Rd. This easy trail follows a stream up about 1.5 miles.
- At the top of Sawmill Trail, you’ll cross a couple of bridges and then go up a staircase. Then you’re at the top, and right in front of you will be Sawmill Reservoir.
- Take an immediate right at the end of Sawmill Trail, and hike up just a bit and take the second right. You’ll encounter a boardwalk that will take you across the creek.
- Once across the creek and off the boardwalk, turn right onto Four O’ Clock Trail. Take the trail that veers to the left and head up the hill under a ski lift. You’ll head across an open hill and you’ve arrived at the Fairy Forest!
Visual Tour of the Fairy Forest Hike via Sawmill Trail
Start at the Sawmill Trail which is at the bottom of the Snowflake Lift at 4′ O Clock Rd. and Kings Crown Rd. The trail is narrow at first, but soon widens.
Sawmill Trail runs along a beautiful stream. Our kids made many attempts to walk a log across the creek (with varying results; more than a few shoes were soaked by the time we were done).
It’s about 1.5 miles to the top. When you meet this set of bridges and this staircase, you’re at the end of Sawmill Trail.
At the top of Sawmill Trail is a beautiful reservoir. You can see many fish in the crystal-clear water!
But anyway, once you get to the top of Sawmill Trail (right after the staircase), turn right immediately and walk this trail up a bit.
Then take the second right, and you’ll cross the stream on a boardwalk. (The first right leads to a somewhat unstable ladder-type bridge that seems to be a part of a ropes course that is off limits.)
At the end of the boardwalk, turn right at the Four O’ Clock trail sign, then head left up the hill.
You’ll soon walk under a ski lift and then across a hill on a wide open trail across a ski run.
Once you walk across the ski run and are back into the trees, you’re there! The Fairy Forest starts right after the sign in the above photo. (This is technically the “end” of the Fairy Forest – the welcome sign is on the other side – but it doesn’t matter.)
Have fun exploring the fairy gardens! This seems to be a very informal, crowd-sourced thing and if we do it again, we might bring a few of our own fairies to add.
Fairy Forest Hike Parking
Parking is very limited and unclear in this area. We parked in the gravel lot by the lift and someone left a note on our windshield that said “no parking – next time tow”. Oops!
It appears that you could take the Breck Free Ride yellow route to the Snowflake lift, or just hike in from town if you don’t want to take a chance on the unclear parking.
Fairy Forest GPS Coordinates
GPS Coordinates for the Fairy Forest coming from Four O’ Clock Trail via Sawmill Trail:
Note: This route enters the Fairy Forest the back way; the “Welcome to the Fairy Forest” sign is actually at the other end.
Other Things To Do with Kids in Breckenridge
Some other things we enjoyed with the kids:
You can see the remains of the Reiling Gold Dredge with a very short hike from the parking lot at French Gulch Road at the Minnie Mine parking lot. MTB Project has the best map I could find of the trail.
From the same parking lot, you can also go up and see the Minnie Mine (again, MTB project has a good map).
You can ride the gondola for free, and for little kids, it’s as exciting as a roller coaster. For those of us with apparently weak stomachs, it’s also as exciting as a roller coaster. ? We saw a moose on one of our gondola rides, so that was fun!
At the top of the gondola are many exciting, expensive things to do – I think the only free thing is the restrooms, but hey, my sister says they are the best restrooms in Breckenridge so there’s that. I think you can also still climb on the piles of snow for free – at least I don’t think they charge for that!
I didn’t get any great photos of it, but the High Line Railroad Park was a fun place to just let the kids run and play. In addition to some train- and mining-themed playground equipment, there’s a small museum and some real train cars. We were there on a Monday and the museum was closed, but my sister said it’s a fun little museum when it’s open, and it’s free.
One final tip for anyone that’s still reading: the mosquitos were abundant in Breckenridge, so we sprayed our kids with Off way more than I normally would. The lakes and streams and all the green was so beautiful, but I have to say that I’m happy to be back in dry Colorado Springs where the mosquitos are not nearly as prevalent!