Silverthorne lies at a pretty busy crossroads of three alpine routes, CO-6, CO-9, and Interstate 70. It boasts year-round things to do and easy access to adventure n the surrounding Summit County.
With around 4,600 residents and even more in the handful of surrounding county towns, there’s a lot of bustle in this little mountain metropolitan. Silverthorne makes a terrific base for exploring the region’s gems, like its many ski resorts, wilderness areas, and lakes. And at just over an hour from Denver (traffic pending), it’s very easy to reach for a day trip too.
As the second most populated town in Summit County, it’s a hub of outdoor activity and fun. From hiking and biking to shopping and dining, Silverthorne is your home base for an action-packed vacation. Discover these things to do and start planning your trip today.
Year-round things to do
With all the natural beauty around town, plus all the entertainment a bigger mountain destination provides, there’s always something to do in Silverthorne. All year long, you can find fun activities like visiting the outlet malls, strolling along Blue River, or seeing a show. Consider booking a nice hotel around town.
Lake Dillon Theatre Company
Situated downtown adjacent to the Blue River, Silverthorne Performing Arts Center is a modern venue offering shows and events catering to Silverthorne’s creatives. The large center is home to three performance venues, a full bar and kitchen, and even classrooms and outdoor leisure spaces.
Home of the local Lake Dillon Theatre Company, the center has year-round events that include performances, art exhibits, summer camps, and classes. Event tickets can be purchased online.
The Lake Dillon Theatre Company began as a way to raise funds for the Lake Dillon Amphitheater and a free summer concert series. After finding so much success during their crowdfunding campaign, they expanded to include a youth theatre workshop, a chamber concert series, and an amateur theater company that has since been upgraded to a professional, regional theatre.
They regularly host live performances, such as Shout!, The Mod Musical, and plenty of dance parties. They host outdoor musicals at the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, where visitors can watch and laugh along with actors singing and dancing while resting in the grass.
Outlet Shopping in Silverthorne
Located at the intersection of I-70 and US Highway 6, the Outlets at Silverthorne is an expansive outdoor mall featuring a large number of stores. It’s are divided into three villages and have over 50 different stores for you to browse in.
Visitors can browse popular shops like American Eagle Outfitters, J. Crew Factory, Coach, Le Creuse, and Williams Sonoma Outlet, all with great prices in one convenient location. You can get a new wardrobe and new kitchen appliances. For out-of-state visitors, consider stopping at the Colorado State Welcome Center in the Green Village section of the mall.
After enjoying some time searching for good deals, head to any number of restaurants nearby. For those who aren’t in the mood for chain restaurants like Chipotle and McDonald’s, head to a local spot like Dillon Dam Brewery, which can be found just east of the outlets along US Highway 6.
With these being outlet stores, you’ll save 30-70%, which means more money to spend on delicious dinners and lift tickets!
Historic Mint Steakhouse
History and food lovers should be sure to visit the Historic Mint Steakhouse, an interesting restaurant located in Summit County’s oldest building. Unlike most steakhouses, patrons at the Mint cook their own steaks on a lava rock grill, allowing the restaurant to serve higher quality meat at lower prices.
For those with a preference other than steaks, the restaurant also serves a full menu featuring chicken, seafood, and a large assortment of side dishes. Additionally, all entrees include unlimited bread and salad. Mint Steakhouse is also home to a popular bar serving bottled beer, draft beers, specialty cocktails, and more.
In business since 1862, this is a local favorite and proudly stands as Colorado’s oldest restaurant. A building that used to be a saloon, it’s now filled with the mouth-watering smell of high-grade steak, sizzling to perfection.
Events and Festivals
Silverthorne is the site of a number of festivals throughout the year. One of these is the Pabst Colorado Pond Hockey Tournament. Occurring each winter on Lake Dillon, this event takes place over a long weekend in winter and features three days of hockey games, great food, live music, and a few fun events like a barefoot pond race. Teams and free agents can register online, and entrance to the tournament is free and open to the public.
For those visiting in the summer, another popular event is the Silverthorne Fine Arts Festival. Like the hockey tournament, the festival takes place over a weekend and has free admission. Visitors can explore thirteen types of art including painting, sculpture, and even jewelry, and food and live music will also be offered. For those looking for a way to remember their trip, many of the works shown at the festival will also be for sale.
White River National Forest
Accessible from right outside of town, the White River National Forest covers over 2 million acres of land and provides visitors with nearly unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. During the summer, enjoy miles of trails and roads for biking, hiking, and OHV riding.
There are dozens of campgrounds scattered throughout the area, but the closest to town is Blue River Campground, which features 24 sites with picnic tables and fire pits. Read about the camping near Silverthorne and Summit County.
When the temperature drops, visitors can exchange hiking boots for snowshoes or cross-country skis or hop on a snowmobile to keep exploring. One option for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing close to town is Acorn Creek Trail, a solitary but scenic hike that offers beautiful views of the Gore Range. The trail is just over 3 miles round-trip, but it can easily be extended on the Ute Peak Trail for more mileage.
Summer things to do
Summer in Summit is packed with adventure and scenery. At 9,035 feet of elevation, Silverthorne, like the rest of the county, is a cool place to beat the summer heat of the front range. Several activities are based around the iconic Blue River, which winds through town. It provides first-class fly fishing opportunities, with local guides willing to show you the ropes.
Silverthorne is surrounded by evergreen forests, mountain peaks, and a beautiful natural landscape, which of course, makes hiking a necessity for those visiting. Some of the best hiking trails are located around Silverthorne, including the famous Continental Divide Trail.
The White River National Forest has nearly 300 hiking trails running throughout. So, whether you are looking for an easy day hike that ends in a picnic, or a heart-pumping, leg tiring adventure up the side of a mountain, you will find it here.
While there are many hiking options near Silverthorne, the Blue River Trail is one of the most popular in the area. The trail is for hikers and bikers and connects the towns of Silverthorne to Dillon, Keystone, Frisco, and Breckenridge, all the way to Glenwood Springs. The paved path runs 3.5 miles through downtown to the Dillon Dam.
Another great option is the B&B to Reiling Dredge to Minnie Mine trail. This 3-mile loop is an excellent option if you are looking for a 1–2-hour hike and want to see some great views while also visiting some old mining areas. Along the way, you will pass abandoned mining camps and possibly even a bear!
In 2020, Silverthorne was designated by the League of American Bicyclists as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community. This was due to the improvements around Silverthorne made to help it become a more bike-friendly place. They also host many bike events and encourage people to choose biking over driving.
Fortunately, for those visiting Summit County, there is an extensive Recreational Pathway System, known as the Recpath. This is used by dog walkers, runners, bikers, and many others who enjoy a well-paved path. Whether you want to take a leisurely ride to work or a challenging trek to the top of Vail Pass, the Recpath has many routes and difficulty levels to choose from.
As mentioned previously, the Blue River Trail is an excellent way for bikers to get to Dillon, Keystone, Frisco, and the other local communities. The long continuous paved path is perfect for exploring Silverthorne and summit county.
For those who are looking for a more serious ride, the Silverthorne to Ute Pass trail is a 31-mile round-trip journey with a 2000’ elevation gain. You start in Silverthorne and head north on Highway 9 for 10 miles. Once you get to Ute pass, the climb really starts to pick up, and after 5 miles, the view opens up, and you will be able to enjoy the picturesque mountain views.
Hang out by Lake Dillon
Dillon Reservoir, also called Lake Dillon, is a large body of water with 27 miles of shoreline, located just south of town. The dam backs up against the edge of town. Boating of all kinds is one of the biggest draws of the reservoir, and boat rentals are available at two different marinas.
The Dillon Marina is a hub of activity in the summer, with plenty of water sports to enjoy and a sandy beach to relax on. Rent pontoon boats and even sailboats. Or head to Frisco Bay Marina for more rentals, boat tours, and guided fishing. In addition, there are stand-up paddleboard yoga classes and sailing classes for those who want to be captains of a sailboat.
If you get hungry or need an afternoon pick-me-up, check out the Lakeside Tiki Bar, which overlooks Lake Dillon. From its spacious deck, you will get a beautiful view of the marina, and they have a delicious menu that caters to an afternoon at the beach. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken fingers take the prize, and they have plenty of tasty cocktails and craft beers to bring on that summer glow.
Fishermen will find many different species swimming around in the clear water. A fishing license is required if you are 18 and older, but these can be easily purchased online or at many locations in Summit County. So whether you’re fishing from a boat or the shoreline, you can reel in rainbow trout, salmon char, or catfish, and proudly snap some selfies of your catch.
Additionally, there are a number of campgrounds surrounding the lake, all offering a variety of amenities. Most have picnic tables, restrooms, and cooking areas, and there is a good mix of rustic sites and glamping spots. One of the largest is Prospector Campground, which features over 100 sites and can be reserved online.
Lakeside hiking is available on the north shore of the reservoir, and visitors can even walk over the Dillon Reservoir Dam. The paved path runs past the Dillon Marina and through Marina Park, so it’s easy to find a spot to hop on or off the path. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed at the Dillon Marina.
Raven at Three Peaks Golf Course
The Raven Golf Course is the #1 rated golf course in Colorado and is situated among massive pine trees and aspen groves, sparkling creeks, and fish-filled lakes. The perks of being located at 9,000 feet are the fantastic views of Buffalo Mountain and the surrounding countryside.
Despite plenty of elevation changes and some challenging holes, it’s still a fun afternoon for beginners. The staff on-site offers lessons to brush up on your skills, and there is a Marshal who keeps things running smooth and quick.
The Raven Golf Course restaurant features a full bar and an outdoor terrace that offers spectacular views. They host local live musicians on the weekends and have a long menu of American cuisine.
Raft and Fish the Blue River
The Blue River runs directly through town, so it’s no surprise that Silverthorne has great access to rafting and fishing. Much of the river can be explored on the town’s riverside trail, which follows its path for nearly three miles. There are a number of good fishing spots located off the paved trail, but a path is also a pleasant place for a walk.
For visitors hoping for a little more adventure, consider a guided rafting trip down the Blue River. Perfect for first-timers, the Blue River features Class II & III rapids, and trips generally take less than half a day. Arkansas Valley Adventures offers a trip known as the Blue River Express, and it is open for all visitors over 5 years of age.
Reservations include wetsuits, helmets, and life jackets, but be sure to wear quick-drying clothes and apply sunscreen before heading out.
Green Mountain Reservoir
North of town lies the Green Mountain Reservoir, another large lake with plenty of options for outdoor activities. Boating is permitted during the summer, and rentals are available at the Heeney Marina. Fishing is a popular activity on the lake, but many visitors choose instead to fish the undammed sections of the Blue River.
For hiking, head west of the reservoir to Eaglesmere or Surprise Trailheads for any number of hikes. Multiple Forest Service campgrounds are situated directly on the lake, but they lack hookups and potable water. The closest campground to town is Prairie Point, and it offers thirty-three scenic sites.
Winter things to do
Silverthorne is smack dab in the center of some amazing winter resorts. While downhill skiing and snowboarding take center stage as the things to do, there are other activities available, such as ice skating, snowmobiling, and snow tubing.
Skiing in Summit County and beyond
Silverthorne is in close proximity to a huge number of ski resorts, so it’s never hard to find a place to ride. For the closest spots, head to Keystone Ski Resort or Copper Mountain Ski Resort. For those visiting late in the season, consider heading a few miles east of Keystone to Arapahoe Basin, a smaller ski area with a peak elevation of over 13,000 ft.
For a more luxurious experience, Silverthorne is also fairly close to Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek, all of which are known for great accommodations and plenty of amenities and activities that make a visit worthwhile. Finally, for easy access off of I-70, try a visit to Loveland Ski Area, which is located above the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels.
Cross Country Skiing
The Silverthorne Nordic Center is located at the Raven Golf Course, and you can enjoy cross-country ski or snowshoe adventures on the front and back nines. You must provide your own gear, but you can get rentals at the nearby Frisco Nordic Center.
Another popular area for cross-country skiing is the Mesa-Cortina Trail to South Willow Creek Falls. This is 9.5 miles out and back trail that is very close to Silverthorne and features a beautiful waterfall. Enter at the Eagles Nest Wilderness and trek through aspen groves before making your way across an open meadow.
With amazing views of the Williams Fork Range and Dillon Reservoir, you will be able to take plenty of postcard-perfect pics. You will continue up a gorge between Buffalo Mountain and Red Peak before coming to the South Willow Falls waterfall.
If you want a quicker adventure, the Boulder Fields Loop is only 2.1 miles, with an elevation gain of 324 feet. This is a great trail to start out on if you are a beginner and should take you about an hour. However, this trail is not marked, so it is essential to have a map with you to make sure you stay on course!
Snowmobiling in Summit County is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, and you have plenty of options for rentals and trails. The many companies that service this area offer operating lessons, full and half-day tours, and a wide variety of machines that you can take out.
So, whether you want to go out on a sight-seeing adventure, rush up the side of a mountain as fast as possible, or meander around with a large group, Silverthorne is the perfect place to start!
High Country Activities offers a variety of snowmobile tours and machines. From 2-hour guided tours that are perfect for families to 6-hour high-speed journeys for adrenaline junkies, they will take you all around Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne on well-groomed paths and through snowy meadows.
Adventure awaits you in this Summit County, Colorado town. Enjoy your visit and these things to do in Silverthorne!