Frisco, Colorado: Main Street to the Rockies

Frisco, Colorado: Main Street to the Rockies 1Frisco, a mountain town 70 miles west of Denver, is called Main Street to the Rockies. It’s the gateway to four major Colorado resorts – Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin.

During the 1930s’ Great Depression, Frisco nearly became a ghost town, with only 18 residents at one point. It rebounded but, not being a ski town, Frisco remains at a manageable 2,800 permanent residents. Although small, it has ample amenities guaranteed to support those who pass through on the way to nearby ski areas.

Frisco also is the choice of nearly 5,000 second-home owners who prefer it to the bustling ski towns.

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Frisco Historic Park includes 11 historic buildings and structures.

Get to know Frisco by exploring the Frisco Historic Park, prominently situated on Main Street. This town is proud of its 130-year history.

The historic site includes 11 structures in a landscaped park. Visitors tour the schoolhouse/museum, the original 1881 jail, a chapel, trapper’s cabin, ranch house and other beautifully restored buildings, some furnished appropriately. This amazing collection was assembled in 1983 by the local historical society.

But there were people here long before the town – the Ute Indians roamed this area, and mountain men trapped fur-bearing animals here as early as 1810.

The 1870s ushered in a new era of development for this Summit County village, when mining became king and Frisco, boasting two railroads, served as transport center for all those mines. Hotels, restaurants and stores supported the 250 or so permanent residents as well as multitudes of travelers.

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The Frisco Bay Marina on the shores of Dillon Reservoir

You’ll find something to please your palate at dozens of restaurants serving everything from Cajun to Szechuan, Himalayan to Mexican cuisine. We particularly recommend the Butterhorn Bakery & Café, 408 W. Main St., for hearty and tasty breakfasts and lunches.

There are several dozen hotels/motels/inns and countless condos where you can rest your weary bones after a day on the slopes. If downhill is not your thing, check out Frisco’s own Nordic Center, where you can master the athletic art of cross-country skiing.

Watersports, anyone, when ski season ends? At the Frisco Bay Marina, on the shores of Dillon Reservoir, you can rent a canoe, kayak, powerboat or sailboat to explore the 3,300-acre lake. They’ll even teach you how to sail and use the other watercrafts.

“The marina may be the best-kept secret in Frisco,” says Tim Bock, director of marketing for the town. “People just don’t expect a lake of this size at 9,000 feet.”

For cyclists, the Ten Mile Recreation Pathway runs through town as it stretches from Vail to Breckenridge and Keystone. Fat-tire fans can leave the paved path to test their skills on local trails.

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Frisco second-home owners and visitors alike escape the bustling crowds of nearby ski towns.

Take time to explore the shops, too. In particular, check out Junktique, 313 Main St., where you enter through an old train caboose and will be wowed by about 5,000 square feet of funky and wonderful antiques, strewn over three floors. Also check out Diane Harty Millinery, 120 7th Ave., where you can have a hat made just for you.

Special events happen year-round, but the town’s old-fashioned July 4th celebration is worth catching – complete with a fishing derby for kids, live music and fireworks, naturally.

If You Go

For information on visiting Frisco, go to or call 800-424-1554.

Linda DuVal is a freelance writer who lives in Colorado Springs.