Frisco, Colorado, is a hidden gem destination tucked away in Summit County. Situated on the western banks of Lake Dillon, about an hour west of Denver and a short jaunt to some of the best ski resorts (such as Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, and Vail), this town is a springboard to a high country adventure. My family and I spent a weekend getaway exploring the historic Main Street, outlying city, and surrounding areas of this beautiful mountain town. Frisco rewarded our whole family with unforgettable winter activities.
Check-in at a frontier-style tent at Golden Horseshoe Sleigh Rides set the stage for our Wild West sleigh ride adventure. We grabbed mugs of hot cocoa, toppings and all, before settling into our sleigh with guide Wade, who introduced Johnnie and June, the trusty steeds that would be pulling us through the White River National Forest. During the 30-minute ride, Wade shared the history of the land around us, a lot of which was heavily gold-mined in the 1800s. He pointed out the location of an accidental discovery of the largest piece of gold found in Colorado, weighing in at roughly 10 pounds. We enjoyed the excursion for the big mountain views (Hello 13’er Mount Guyot!) and peaceful peaks around us.
A backcountry winter hike in champagne powder is a must-do experience in the Rocky Mountains. Everett and I took off for some trail time to Rainbow Lake, a winging, single-track trail through Aspen and Evergreen trees that gently encourages hikers up to an elevation gain of just below 500 feet—and has earned plenty of cross-country skiing, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing fans, too. After hiking about one mile through fresh snow, we were treated to a completely frozen Rainbow Lake. Here we made snow angels, broke our own trail, and watched others enjoy the sights, some coming in on snowshoes and cross-country skis. The Frisco Nordic Center is a great place to rent your snowshoeing gear, and tours are also available. My advice: Don’t let the winter season scare you off, even if snow is falling. Just layer up because regardless of the season, this hike is worth the effort.
3. Frisco’s Main Street
Cruising Frisco’s iconic Main Street, it’s easy to see the allure of this high country mountain town. Newer buildings are woven seamlessly into the original architecture, offering everything from dining, desserts, and shopping.
With snow falling heavier by the minute, we dropped into Greco’s Pastaria, where we ordered pizza and the house special, lasagna bolognese, which we happily devoured inside the cozy environs. Another favorite Main Street spot was Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters, where the beans are roasted in a hand roaster. We sat outside and enjoyed our drinks and breakfast burritos while deciding where to head next. Enter: the Frisco Emporium, a three-story shop filled with treasures, from clothing and art to jewelry and antiques sold by more than a dozen vendors. Our toddler son had no trouble finding our next spot. Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe has always been the home of coveted items. In the 1800’s it served as an assessment shop for precious metals, but since then, it has been transformed into an old-fashioned candy store in one of the most eye-catching buildings in town.
Frisco’s Main Street is a place that leaves room for new players to mesh into the landscape. Pure Kitchen, a made-from-scratch-style restaurant that opened just over a year ago, has a seasonally rotating menu attractive to all palates. We decided on the chicken and waffles, veggie burger, and beet hummus, which were big on flavor and easy to enjoy in the bright and modern atmosphere. Catty-corner to Pure Kitchen, look out for Outer Range Brewing Company for relaxed snacks with ample seating. Initially inspired by Belgian and IPA brews, this craft brewery has expanded its offerings to include the entire spectrum of beers.
Skiing at the local ski resorts isn’t the only way to hit the slopes in Summit County. TJ & I took turns lapping the tubing hill at the Frisco Adventure Park until we couldn’t tell if our faces were numb from the cold or from laughing so hard watching one another fly down the terrain. It’s a quick two-minute magic carpet ride to get to the top of the tubing hill, where there are four lanes to choose from. Tubers Right offers steeper and faster runs, while tubers Left are (slightly) less speedy. At the top, park attendants are quick to offer a spin for an even more wild ride. Frisco Adventure Park also offers a beginners’ hill for people new to skiing or snowboarding to get a feel for the sport before tackling the big slopes. In addition, Frisco Adventure Park transforms into a skate park in the summer months where you can also go biking, play disc golf, and more.
5. More winter activities for the whole family
Our weekend adventure scratched the surface of the fun that awaits you in Frisco, but there are so many other options in-store, depending on your interests. For example, Lake Dillon is renowned for ice fishing, and several local guides are available to create a customized excursion. Local outfitters can also arrange dog sledding and snowmobiling tours and rentals. Families who like ice skating will find plenty of outdoor rinks available for a whirl across the ice, including at Copper Mountain and Keystone—the latter boasts five acres of ice on its rink.
Where to Stay: Summit Mountain Rentals
We booked our lodging through Summit Mountain Rentals to stay in a three-bedroom contemporary townhome just a few blocks from Main Street. With a streamlined and straightforward check-in process, it wasn’t long until we were settling into our new digs. We were impressed with everything from the rooftop deck showing off panoramic mountain views to the finished basement offering a perfect set-up for a movie night, with a big screen and comfy couches. More than anything, we found it easy to connect as a family here. From making breakfast together in the fully equipped kitchen to selecting from a well-stocked trove of board games to play together, it was enjoyable to spend time here and downshift to mountain time.