Located in Summit County at a little above 9,000 feet, Frisco, Colorado, is a mountain town most people drive through on their way to Breckenridge. It only took one visit when we lived in Denver to realize this was our kind of town!
With its proximity to Breck and Copper Mountain along Interstate 70, Frisco has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities all year.
Next time you are in Frisco and want a short, easy, family-friendly hike that you can walk to within town, then make some time to trek to Rainbow Lake via the Peaks Trail.
To drive home the fact of how fantastic the Frisco area is, we drove from Southwest Utah, where we were living at the time, to spend our wedding anniversary in Frisco for a few days. The hike to Rainbow Lake was a great way to spend one morning when our legs were still tired from a longer journey the day before.
Below, we’ll look at some of the highlights of the Rainbow Lake trail so you can decide if you would like to add it to your must-do list.
But first, how do you get there…
Directions to Rainbow Lake Trailhead
If you stay in Frisco closer to Main St, I suggest walking to the Rainbow Lake Trailhead off 2nd Ave. and S. Cabin Green. There is parking, but why take up a spot or waste gas if you don’t need to.
Although, if you are staying in one of the hotels or vacation rentals near I-70, driving might be a better option.
The Ten Mile Canyon Recreation Path goes right by the trailhead, so you have plenty of options to get to plenty of the Frisco area hiking trails.
Rainbow Lake via Peaks Trail #45 Description
Technically, there is no Rainbow Lake Trail since this path is part of the Peaks Trail that would take you from Frisco to Breckenridge. But since so many people like the hike to Rainbow Lake, everyone will know what you are talking about if you ask about it in town.
As mentioned above, hiking to Rainbow Lake is the perfect kid-friendly trail. It is only 2 miles out and back and, as mountain hikes go, relatively flat with less than 300 ft. elevation gain.
Along the way, you will walk along a boardwalk through aspen trees and past stacks of wood and have beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
Some sections of the trail will be rocky with roots throughout, so wear supportive hiking boots to avoid twisting an ankle.
We extended our hike a little past Rainbow Lake to Miners Creek Rd. If you keep going, then you will get into the steeper sections of Peaks Trail heading towards Breck.
Now that you know more about this hiking trail in Frisco, CO, let’s get going…
Starting from the Rainbow Lake Trailhead
The hike was muddy in sections like this at the start from the recent snow melt. I know it may be tempting to walk around it, but I also know you want to practice good trail etiquette, so go ahead and get those boots dirty!
Several sections along the Peaks Trail connect to other White River National Forest area hikes. Plan ahead if you want to extend your hike to Rainbow Lake.
You might have missed it, but there is/was a sign at the trailhead providing information about these wood piles. In a nutshell, this is how the US Forest Service helps to reduce fuel for forest fires.
Unfortunately, these are beetle-killed trees, so it’s better they get cleared out in this part of White River National Forest. The Forest Service lets them dry out for a year, and then they do a controlled burn in winter.
There are views of snowcapped mountains in every direction along the Peaks Trail going to Rainbow Lake. It’s hard to believe that you are barely a mile outside of Frisco at this point. But it makes it easy to see why this part of Colorado is so special.
On our hike to Rainbow Lake, we decided to go a little past it and to Miners Creek Road and Miners Creek, where the Peaks Trail extends to Breckenridge.
You can even link up to the 567-mile Colorado Trail that goes from Denver to Durango. Of course, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew!
From here, you can either continue or turn around and return to the trailhead.
Since the bulk of this section is easy and will not take up much of your day, you might as well bring lunch, find a dry log to sit on, and soak in the scenery. With the mountain views and sounds of Miners Creek flowing, it’s hard to beat a hike to Rainbow Lake in Frisco, CO!