The Breckenridge Gondola: Riding the Free BreckConnect all Year

by Carrie Nicholson | Last Updated:  July 2, 2021

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The Breckenridge Gondola is a popular attraction in Colorado for several reasons. 

As you ride up and down the Breckenridge Gondola, aka the BreckConnect, you will see breathtaking views of the mountains, fields, and city below. 

Stop off to visit Peak 7 and Peak 8 for fun activities, shopping, or grab some delicious food to eat.

But the real thing that sets the Gondola apart from other lifts in the area is that it’s completely free.

Yep, you can visit the Breckenridge Gondola nearly anytime of year and it won’t cost you anything.

There are no tickets to buy and no reservations to make. Just walk up to the Gondola and jump into the cab.

Here is how to enjoy the free BreckConnect Gondola in Breckenridge and what to expect.

Where is the Breckenridge Gondola?

breckenridge gondola in the summer

The Gondola is located in Breckenridge, Colorado and has been operating since 2006. 

The city of Breck, as it’s often called, is located about 2 hours west of Colorado Springs and about 1.5 hours west of Denver.

Getting to Breckenridge is pretty easy. Just drive west from Denver on Interstate 70 and get off on the Frisco exit.

Follow the signs and head south to Breckenridge.

The BreckConnect is located at 170 Watson Avenue in Breckenridge, Colorado.

You will find the Gondola on the west side of the city at the base of the Blue River.

How to find the Breckenridge Gondola

There are several areas to park and walk to the Breckenridge Gondola once you arrive in Breck. 

If you have purchased tickets for the EPIC Discovery adventure then you can get your parking validated here.

1. Welcome Center

The Breckenridge Welcome Center is located in the heart of the city near the downtown shops.

It is across the street from the Riverwalk and makes for a great pit stop to go to the bathroom or grab a snack before heading out.

We recommend parking near the Welcome Center and then making the short 4-6 minute walk to the Gondola on Watson Avenue.

You can walk down South Main Street or take the Blue River Bikeway, which is a scenic path that follows the beautiful river.

There is both paid parking and free parking available in Breckenridge.

In our experience though, the paid parking is minimal and usually only costs $1-3 for the day.

2. North & South Gondola Lots

The most popular places to park near the Gondola are in the North or South Gondola Lots

The South Lot is located directly across the street from the Breckenridge Station, with the Gondola next to it. 

This is the closest parking lot to the Gondola but it is a paid parking lot.

The North Gondola parking is also very convenient and one of the most accessible in-town parking lots.

3. Breck Free Bus

Finally, you can park on the outskirts of town in the Satellite Lot via I-70 and ride the Breck Free Ride bus into the city. 

The lot has 500 parking spaces and is located at 1700 Airport Road. 

You can park here all day for free and use the free shuttle. Learn more on their website about the route schedules and bus times.

When does the Breckenridge Gondola open?

The BreckConnect is open daily nearly all year-round, no matter the weather. 

The only time the Gondola is closed is from May 1st through the middle of June in order to observe moose calving season.

During the summer, the Gondola is open from June 18 – September 11, 2021 from 9:30am to 6pm. The last upload happens at 4:45pm.

During the winter, the BreckConnect opens on November 8th from 7:45am to 5:30pm daily. 

The Gondola will remain open until late April or the first of May for calving season.

Riding the Breckenridge Gondola

The BreckConnect Gondola is a 13-minute one-way trip that climbs up an additional 400 feet in elevation. 

Each cab is said to be able to accommodate 8 passengers but we found that it comfortably seats 4-6 people. 

A roundtrip in the Gondola takes 26 minutes and covers 7,592 feet.

There are 3 stations, or unboarding points, along the way. The first is for Shock Hill residents or guests only. 

The second is Peak 7 which is home to the Grand Lodge resort. 

The final stop, and most popular, is Peak 8 which features the Epic Discovery (summer season only), the Grand Colorado ski resort, and restaurants.

On your way up the lift you will pass directly over the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife Preserve. 

These grounds are home to bald eagles, moose, and foxes that have a protected home here.

You will also see panoramic views of the landscape known as Ten Mile Range, which is the home of the Breckenridge Ski Resort in the winter.

Visiting Peak 8 in Breckenridge  

Once at the top of the lift you can get off the Gondola and explore Peak 8.

There are tons of things to do here! The main attractions are eating at restaurants and skiing at Breckenridge Resort.

During the summer, Peak 8 is also the main hub for Epic Discovery adventures.

Sevens Restaurant is located at the base of Peak 7, which is one stop before Peak 8. It offers incredible views and delicious appetizer specials. 

Restaurants

There are a number of delicious restaurants and places to eat around the Grand Colorado Lodge at Peak 8.

The main one is called Ski Hill Grill which offers classic American food, with homemade BBQ, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

The salad station features locally-infused oils and everything else you need to make an amazing  mountain burger!

Epic Discovery

For anyone who purchases an Epic Discovery Pass, this area is open daily through Monday, September 6, 2021.

Here you will find endless things to do, especially for kids.

Dogs are welcomed

Bring your dog and ride the Breckenridge Gondola for free. All dogs are welcomed on the Gondola.

Since the entire cab is enclosed, the ride is completely safe for pets and kids of all ages. 

During the summer or winter, a ride up the Breckenridge Gondola is a free and epic experience. 

Enjoy 360 degree views of the city, mountains, and wildlife below. 

Then at the top, have yourself a bite to eat and enjoy the abundant outdoor activities.

Carrie Smith Nicholson is one of the co-founders of Hashtag Colorado Life. After living in Texas for her whole life she moved to Colorado 5 years ago. As a travel blogger and entrepreneur for the past 10 years, her writing has been featured on NBC News, HuffPost Live, Glamour Magazine, Inc Magazine and many other media outlets. When she's not writing about new travel locations, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping in her NuCamp teardrop trailer, and trying new foods. You can follow her outdoor adventures on Instagram, @hashtagcoloradolife.