It is very easy to get to Breckenridge from Denver any time of the year. In the winter, you might have a few hours of bad weather, but Colorado does a great job of keeping I-70 clear. If you want to see current driving conditions, check out the interactive website of COTrip. This site will give you current conditions and estimated drive times.
Once you decide to fly into Denver, you’ll have to decide whether to rent a car and drive or take a shuttle. There are definitely pros and cons of both options. We always rent a car because we like the flexibility of being able to come and go as we want. However, when we have friends come visit us who don’t have flights at the same time as us, we typically recommend they take a shuttle. There are a number of shuttle services that can transport you from Denver to Breckenridge. Here is a summary of shuttle services from TripAdvisor.
Colorado Mountain Express is the big daddy of the transport companies. You see their buses up and down I-70 and they’ve been around forever. Their website shows the average trip between Denver and Breckenridge for winter 2016/2017 is $65 each way.
Summit Express is another company that has competitive prices. They are also $65 each way; however, if you take the Summit Express Shuttle to the Breckenridge transfer station, it’s only $49 each way. Depending on the size of your budget and the size of your party, this could translate into significant savings. The transfer station is at the Breckenridge Gondola and is a major bus hub for the free buses in Breckenridge.
If you’re going to rent a car, there are many options at the airport. Since Denver is a major destination for business and vacation travel, pretty much every rental car service provides cars in Denver. Reserve ahead and then it’s simple once you get to the airport. Just get your bags and go outside to the curb and find the sign for your rental company. Buses typically arrive within 5 minutes so, even if it’s cold, you won’t have to wait too long. Once you get your car, it’s a simple drive to Breckenridge. Follow Peña Blvd, then go west on I-70 W to CO-9 S in Summit County. Take exit 203 from I-70 W. From I-70 W, it is about 20 miles on CO-9 S. Plan on the trip taking about 2 hours in normal conditions. You can sometimes make it in 1.5 hours, but don’t assume you’ll always make it that fast. If you’re heading to Breckenridge on Friday or Saturday or if you’re returning to Denver on Sunday, it can easily take over 3 hours because of traffic. This is where it helps to check with COTrip for conditions and drive times.
When you’re trying to decide whether to use a shuttle service or drive to Breckenridge, give some thought to what you’ll be doing. We typically only use our rental car to go to the grocery store and to drive over to Keystone. When we need to go anywhere else, we walk. Breckenridge has an extensive system of free buses and it’s a compact city, so you can definitely make it without a car. If you’re not going to be buying a lot of groceries then you don’t really need your own car. The other thing to consider is price. There are plenty of times where it’s cheaper to rent a car depending on the size of your party and your length of stay. We’ve found it is usually cheaper to rent a car.
Finally, if you’re going in the summer, you probably want a car. There are plenty of places outside of town that will be hard to get to without your own car.