Everything about the lifestyle in Summit County, Colorado, celebrates the outdoors. Your first peek at the Tenmile and Gore mountain ranges begins as you exit from the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70. From that vantage point, it’s non-stop visual bliss. Summit County, Colorado, attractions center on four internationally recognized ski resorts within a 30-minute drive of one another (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin) that offer winter snow sports like snowboarding and skiing and summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking and fun parks. Renting a boat or standup paddleboard on Lake Dillon can be followed by a brewery tour to sample craft beers at many different Summit County restaurants dedicated to hometown suds. Summit County shopping can lead you to sports outfitters, art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques along Main Streets in Frisco and Breckenridge or the Outlets at Silverthorne. There’s simply no limit to Summit County things to do, and your best bet for current information is to check out Summit County This Week for the latest information to jump start your central Rockies visit.
Summit County, Colorado winter activities once dominated the region with skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and dog mushing as highlights. Through the mid-1980s, warm weather was more of a siesta season with fishing, hiking and boating among the more popular Summit County summer activities. The ski resorts soon realized that national forests could also host sports such as mountain biking, while other pursuits including off-road ATV tours continued to grow in popularity. The elevations of this high alpine setting range from 7,974 to 14,270 feet above sea level (or 2,430 to 4,349 meters). At this height and amidst so much beauty, the area will literally take your breath away.
Summit County, Colorado, History
Like much of the west, Summit County’s busiest settlement dates to the mid-1800s, developed around the expansion of the railroad and mining industries. Until 1840, high-country trappers kept secret the riches of the nearby mountains, but in 1859 prospectors found gold and minerals in the hills and along the Blue River Valley in quantities sufficient to create a boom. The population waxed and waned with the quantities of valuable metals and minerals. Locals survived some tough periods, but most areas avoided full-on ghost town status.
Many years later, Arapahoe Basin opened as the county’s first ski resort in 1946 with others following suit in the decades to come: Breckenridge (1961), Keystone (1970) and Copper Mountain (1972). If you're interested in learning more about western U.S. history, take advantage of the many Summit County attractions that describe the triumphs and tribulations of this central Rockies region.
Life in Summit County, Colorado
After visiting, many guests relocate to make Summit County, Colorado, their home. As of the last census, the county’s population was 27,994 lucky, determined people. Where do luck and determination intersect for these intrepid outdoor enthusiasts? Like any resort community, the combined challenges of sound employment and affordable housing can give anyone a run for their money. But Summit County residents work hard and play hard to offer an unparalleled level of customer service for vacationers. It’s quite typical to see locals ride the first chair up the slopes in the morning. And, who knows? As most of us who live here year round can attest, you come for a vacation, but then you return and stay for a lifetime. You may be staying at a Summit County, Colorado hotel today but soon enough you could be calling the area home.